i don't see color / by Dahlia Dandashi

i grew up not seeing color. i grew up fortunate because i went to an international school, where my classmates came from more than 80 different countries. i never thought about anyone's background, religion, ethnicity, skin color-- i did not think that way. these people were my friends and that was that.

my best friends from school come from everywhere-- jordan, argentina, burma, venezuela, palestine, sweden, the U.S.,-- we respect each other as people. we loved learning from each other. i spent christmas with my friends since we didn't celebrate it in my household, and we invited people over for ramadan and eid because we did celebrate it.

in this way, i was privileged. this was my reality.

some people however are not so lucky.

i was aware that hate, misogyny, racism, xenophobia was always present. it's just now, there seems to be an excuse to exercise the disdain. racism and sexism are alive and well. for two days, i have sat and cried because i am scared. i am all of a sudden scared for myself, my family, and my friends. i am scared because of what i am seeing around me.

in a way, i was shielded living in austin, too. i had somehow surrounded myself once again with a diverse group of friends. but after this election, i see that the real anger and white lash was just hidden beneath the surface. it was just hiding around the corner.

i am scared for my younger sister and her friends. they are the future, even more than us. they are developing their ideologies and beliefs now, and if they hear too much of something, it will sure as hell stick. she already has friends being bullied at school for wearing a hjiab or having dark skin.

the truth is, we cannot control who we are. white. black. asian. arab. hispanic. latino. it doesn't matter. this is it, this is all we got. we must stick together. we must help each other. we must fight pejorative rhetoric and vitriolic comments. it has no space here. not around me at least.

if you are privileged, please utilize it for the better. at this point, it doesn't matter who you voted for or what the outcome was. it's the aftermath that is frightening. if you see something that isn't supposed to be happening, stop it. if you are angry about what's happening, protest peacefully, but do not hurt others.

and if you see that there is nothing wrong with all of this, then you are part of the problem. you are ignorant. understand that our world is diverse. that's what makes it beautiful.

and maybe i am biased. maybe because i am a woman, that is arab, muslim, and that grew up in a culturally diverse environment, i am biased. i have friends of all colors and religions and identities that i am now biased. i live in a world where diversity and acceptance is my reality. and honestly, i don't care if it's biased. it's an enchanting way to see the world.

if you see someone threatening/abusing/insulting someone, call it out. do not let this become our everyday reality. be negligent. fight for our right to acceptance and diversity.