When I first heard the suspect's name was Faisal Shahzad, I thought, "Shit, that name sounds Pakistani." When his background was revealed over the past week, I thought, "Fuck."
It appears Faisal Shahzad is not only Pakistani, but he's also an American citizen. He's married, he worked in finance and has ties to the city of Karachi, Pakistan. That's... me (and a shit ton of other people I know). Apparently, I wasn't the only one who made this connection:
"Yo Mista, that terrorist look just like you. Ain't you say you was from Pakistan too? AND you was in finance, right? So did you know him or something?"Yeah, all Pakistanis know each other and look alike. Especially those who were formerly in finance. We hang out at the bar Wednesday nights inside the Mosque...
"Yooo, I saw this nigga with a beard on the A train and I got mad scared yo. Nigga had a backpack and shit too, haha."Crap. For a moment, I forgot I was a high school teacher. I knew this event was going to cause ignorant people to say the most ridiculous shit, but now I'm in a position where I actually have to correct the brainwashing caused by the headline-happy media (see exhibits A, B and C).
To be brutally honest, I did not expect to hear the kinds of things I've been hearing in my school. Generally speaking, my school caters to a low-income community (even though it's a commuter school) and I wrongly assumed that these kids would somehow know better. I thought since the majority of students at my school are Black or Hispanic, they would be able to see through the racial profiling. I thought they thought I was on their side.
I was a fool. Agent K said it best in Men in Black:
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals..."I guess every group has to go through being on America's hit list. And once your people go through the hazing, you then receive the esteemed privilege to join in with the rest of the gang to hate on the next group. The fact that you're a minority will never be forgotten, but hey, now you're part of the team.
I just I hope this fraternity looks good on my résumé.