Treat  Check Yo Self


Spending the majority of the past five years of my life in Dearborn has given me a different perspective than most my age. I attend a university that has a prayer room, footbaths, and over ten different diversity-based student organizations. Other universities all over the state look to our campus for tips on how to be inclusive and more tolerant. Our Student Government president is a Muslim woman. I don’t think many other Midwestern college students can say the same.

Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve been able to look around and realize my privilege. It is one of the perks of living in such a diverse community. And while I’m sure I still underestimate a lot, I’m on what I can only imagine is a lifelong path of understanding.

For all the men reading, I’d like you to think about the last time you walked alone to your car at night. How did you feel? Were you scared? Unless you were in a Hunger Games type situation, I doubt you were. Now, if you ask a young woman those same questions, I can assure you that the answers would be different.

I’m sure many of the men are thinking “that’s not fair, not all men are like that.” Yes, this is true. But we live in a society where there is a sizeable percentage of men whose actions create fear in others. A society where we have to raise women to not walk alone at night, but not raise men to respect the boundaries of women. Where women have to watch their drink at the bar, not where men don’t drug them in the first place.

UM-Dearborn students and others participate in candle vigil for those killed in Chapel Hill shootings.

These concerns are legitimate. But now imagine that you have to be cautious of men, but not only because of your gender, but because of sexual orientation or religion. The past two years have shown a huge spike in racially charged attacks and murders. Last week, three Muslim college students were brutally murdered. While the media has yet to officially prove any anti-Muslim bias, I can only imagine that it played a part in the killings.

Then, this past Thursday saw another attack, much closer to home. A Muslim man was harassed in a Kroger parking lot in Dearborn with his young daughter, who wore a hijab. Two white males were yelling derogatory words and eventually throwing punches. Authorities are claiming they cannot yet prove if this was caused by offender bias.

Think back to the last time you went to the grocery store. I can bet a majority of you never once worried about being attacked in the parking lot because of your religious beliefs. That is privilege. I bet a lot of you think about the day you’ll finally get married, never thinking about it being legal. That is privilege. Changes in thinking take time and effort, but it can be done. My hope is that one day, we can live in a society where my privilege is NOT having to watch 50 Shades of Grey, and the rest is equal and inclusive.