The Third Jihad

A few years back, my husband compared his life experiences to mine, making the argument that because we come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, we had similar life experiences. After living with me for a few years, and seeing what I see, he knows this is not true. In most cases, that is true. The most glaring difference however, is that he is white, and I am brown. 


I am fully American inside and out, my parents have achieved the “American Dream” when they moved here from India, yet I have been, and unfortunately will probably always be, treated differently than my husband because of my skin color.  


Before I even open my mouth, it is what you see on me. Some assume I am hispanic, other assume I am Muslim, others still assume I am vaguely middle eastern, and some get it right, Indian. Most of the time, the assumption leads to nothing, other times, it reminds me that no matter how integrated I am in the country, no matter that I was born here, no matter that I went to school here, went to college, am teaching the next generation–I am viewed as other by plenty. 


Like all the times I am followed around a department store, or the times I am told that clothes are “quite expensive” when I ask for help, or the times that people will ask me a question in restaurant and their friend will say “Don’t bother, she probably doesn’t speak english,” or the times I am told I am less of a person because I am brown, or the times that people ask me if I am Muslim im an accusatory tone, or the times…well, I could go on. 


This came to my mind because of a NYT article about the NYPD showing a movie to over 1,000 of its police officers called The Third Jihad. This movie, which they had playing on constant loop for up to a year in some departments for 3 months to a year, conveys the extreme message that most American muslims are out to deceive Americans and infiltrate the country from within. It implies that American Muslims are something less than American. 


Showing this heinous movie over and over and over to an individual, no matter how devout they are in trying to remain unbiased or unprejudiced, would get into their brains. It just does, you know that, I know that. It’s worse that it was forced on the people that are supposed to protect all Americans. 


I not even mad anymore, I’m just sad and disappointed that a group as large as the NYPD was stupid enough to propagate this stereotype. Shame on you, NYPD. 

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