Islamophobia – Racism

About 4 years ago, I was living in the East End of Toronto. I was at the Albany Medical Clinic, waiting for my turn to see the doctor. There was a Turkish couple with a son at around the age of 5. The boy was quietly playing around the coffee table in the middle of the lounge. The parents, mom wearing hecab (head covered), were sitting quietly, dad being very careful about the little child not bothering anyone. He was so conscious about this; it was easy to tell. At some point he got up and walked up towards the counter, to ask one of the secretaries there how long they were gonna wait. At that point a guy, a white anglo-saxon looking guy, started complaining outloud, claiming that this man was trying to cut through the line. He wasn’t! The man tried to explain very politely why he went to the counter, but that didn’t help; all the other “white” guy doing was complain, adding “You Muslims are all like this…” and stuff like that. He didn’t even know these people were Turkish.  By the way of their looks, they were Muslim, and that was enough!

I reacted immediately. I made the asshole shut up for sure! And told him what kind of a racist he was! A few people were laughing. I got really self-conscious about it. As if I were the one who was doing something wrong, later realizing that they were laughing not at me but the racist dude. But I continued to stand up! I said, we’re all immigrants here, from all over the world. This is the one place we come so we wouldn’t have to go through such discriminating attitudes. Shame on you!

I was up next. They called me to the next waiting area with another lady. There, she started talking to me. She thanked me. Another white person. She said you did what was right while no one else bothered, and thank you for that. I said to her, “No, I thank YOU, for acknowledging.”