Reflections on Today

April 15, 2013

DISCLAIMER: this is just a random string of thoughts that came to me today after the bomb blast in Boston

I sent out a tweet earlier that said that I should probably shave my beard in light of what happened in Boston today. I don’t know if I was completely serious when I sent it, but it was definitely a concern that crossed my mind when I first heard of the bomb blasts. Being a brown man in the Midwest, it’s a bit perilous to look too “ethnic” when something of a violent nature occurs.

It’s funny, I’m an individual that is wholly invested in helping other people. I’ve spent countless hours studying and withstood many personal sacrifices to put myself in a position to take care of others. So it strikes me as odd that so much of what I have to offer the world is negated by society’s assumptions of ones character based off appearance.

External identifying factors shouldn’t matter. And yet, I know if I were to go to a bar after the events that occurred today, I’m quite sure I would find myself sitting by my lonesome because people were scared. It was ridiculous to see so many Anti-Islam, Anti-Arab, basically Anti-Brown sentiments shared so quickly after the tragedy was publicized. Everyone is quick to vilify a particular people without question.

Now, I am not Muslim and I am not Arab, but I am a big brown man with a big brown beard in American society. And, to be fair, I didn’t grow the beard for any religious or political reasons. But in any event, IT SHOULDN’T MATTER. I find it hard to believe that people are inherently good or evil based on their religion or ethnicity. We should be able to assess an individual on what they bring to the table. But that’s a pipe dream.

So, it comes down to presenting myself in the least threatening way possible. I just wish that wasn’t the case. Maybe I’ll shave, maybe I won’t. I just think it’s ridiculous that this is a discussion I have to have with myself.


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