Islamaphobia in class
by kimfsp on October 21, 2015 - 12:51pm
In the BBC article "Daily torment of racism in the classroom" published on May 23rd, 2012, Divya Talwar discusses the racial discrimination a year 9 student, Khadeja Fahat, has had to face at school in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Certain of her classmates have verbally and physically attacked her. She has been labeled as a Terrorist or a Taliban, associated with the 9/11 attack and has been punched once in the ribs by a pupil all due to her appearance. The author also adds on that these discriminatory abuses greatly impacted Khadeja's mental health and academic performance. She was constantly worried about what would happen to her at school and lost a lot of weight due to her lack of hunger. This abuse used up all of her energy and she was not able to perform well at school which got her behind the other students of her year. Unfortunately, the school was not able to deal with this torment and pushed Khadeja's mother to take other measures and move her daughter in another school. Talwar mentions Sarah Soyei's thoughts about young peoples racist behavior. Soyei, who works for an anti-racism charity, believes that these behaviors were influenced by parents and friends and also the rise in Islamophobia in England . Khadeja is trying to rebuild her confidence but is not as a happy person as she used to be.
Reading this article, I felt extremely frustrated by how kids approached Khadeja due to her headscarf. It is unfortunate to see that these children could not distinguish an individual of a certain culture from the racist comments of the culture. Khadeja was not valued as an individual but as a small group of terrorist. I was also disappointed that the school were not able to do anything about this act and did not make an effort to stop racism. As Winkler mentions in his article "Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race" many parents do not know how to approach racism to their children. Most parents, think that their children are too young to learn about racism and seem to avoid the subject with them. Unfortunately, these kids do start shaping their perception of people of different color and make their own assumption about them according to how people behave with them. The best way to initiate racism to kids is to talk openly about it and explain the reality of it when questions are asked. The classmates who degraded Khadeja were probably exposed to racist views towards Islamist and were never taught how to deal with racism.
Talwar, D. (2012, May 23). Daily torment of racism in the classroom. BBC. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/education-18150650