Yesterday I went to the N.E to pick up my Successful Completion of Driving School Certificate. Anyway, I got there early and decided to kill some time at a garage sale that was right next to the driving school’s office.
So, being a) a hijab-wearing woman and b) with my very Arabic looking Dad sometime we get certain reactions. Sometimes. And sometimes it’s just because the person we’re talking to is a class A grouch, but other times it’s because… well a) I’m a hijab-wearing woman and b) my Dad is very Arabic looking.
Anyway, this garage sale was kinda like that. I kinda picked up on the vibe when I walked up, said hi, and they kinda just looked at me like “you’re not welcome here.” Giving them the benefit of the doubt – and because I had spied a stack of books and a box of CDs – I decided to stick around.
I make a bee line for the CDs, and this adorable kid comes up to me, all smiles. Can I help you? Would you like anything? This costs this much, and it’s a great deal! He’s ssoooo cute!
I end up buying a Maroon 5 CD (1 dollar! whoa yeah!!) and my dad gets some gardening thingy. I lean over to pay the kid, and thank him for being such a great help. And I notice it: he’s Jewish. More specifically, an Israel supporter. His T-shirt says something about Israel being our only home ❤ ❤ ❤ ordained to us by God – pretty heavy stuff for a nine year old. The dad sees me eyeballing the kids T-shirt and kinda gives me The Look. Yeah, we’re Jewish. Got a problem?
No. Not in the sense that you think.
The fact is this kid is still innocent. And he’s about the same age as my brother, whom my parents have made a habit of educating the right way. Like during the siege on Gaza, he came home swearing at Jews. As in “May all Jews be dammed” in Arabic. He got it baad. My parents don’t tolerate racial intolerance, period. They took the time to sit him down and explain the difference between Jews and the Israeli administration and military, and that our conflict was only with those who refused us – or Palestinians, I should say – our rights. Not with Jews everywhere, and not even with all Israelis.
But, the fact that my brother came home saying that is evidence that other kids were taught to say it. And when I look at this kid, and his parent’s obvious negative reaction – intolerance, dislike, mistrust – of me and my faith, I can’t gelp but wonder how he’ll end up.
And I worry about the state of the world. How can we ever find a resolution if our children are taught to hate?
That’s my problem.