Stereotyping by Mustafa Assal

The Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cites
Mustafa Assal, First Place
Grade 4,  Shell Beach Elementary School
Teacher: Mr. Sharp

Stereotyping has hurt many people in different ways. For example some ethnic groups have been stereotyped for being in gangs or being dumb or being ignorant or in our case terrorists. Stereotyping is not the truth because it takes a bad quality of some people in a group and generalizes it to all the people in that group. It is not fair to the stereotyped group because it creates a barrier between them, and other members of society. It will not build good will and better friendship because the stereotyped group will feel alienated from society and the rest of the society will have fear of the stereotyped group. In this case it will not be beneficial to anyone in the society because if society alienates them they will have negative feelings towards everybody else.

One typical day the 7th grade kids were getting ready to learn about a new topic in history. They were going to learn about Islam. This is when one kid said “We don’t need to learn about them, they’re just a bunch of terrorists!” He made that statement without any consideration to my sister who happens to be a Muslim. This was the first time I experienced stereotyping even if it wasn’t first hand. My sister’s reaction was an assortment of being furious and upset. After class her friends tried to cheer her up and make her forget about it. But one of her friends decided to take action by telling her mom who told the principal the next day what happened. The principal thought it was mandatory for the kid to be punished.  But the teacher decided to do something else. He thought by not excluding the kid from the class he will learn more about Islam. This way he will respect and understand other people’s faith and beliefs. What happened back on 9/11 was an action of a small group, for which we should not blame the rest of the Muslims, particularly if the Muslims don’t agree with it.

September 11, 2001 was a day that affected all of America. Even though I had not been born yet it would affect me greatly as well. After that day Muslims were stereotyped as terrorists. They only called Muslims terrorists because the group who knocked the twin towers were Muslims but that doesn’t mean that all Muslims are terrorists. As a matter of fact, there were many Muslims who died in the attack. Some worked in one of the twin towers and some were firefighters and emergency responders. Most of the Muslims around the world were shocked by the event and did not agree with the terrorists. Just because the group who committed the crime were Muslims does not mean all Muslims accept their actions and should be stereotyped as terrorist.

Let’s go back to the four way test. Is it the truth? No, it is not the truth that all Muslims are terrorists because the majority of the Muslims are not terrorists and they stand against terrorism. Is it fair to all concerned? No, it is not fair for Muslims to be stereotyped as terrorists because that is a really hateful thing to call Muslims terrorists when they really are not. Will it build good will and better friendships? No, it won’t build good will and better friendships with my sister and the kid because the hateful comment created a barrier between her and the other kid. Is it beneficial to all concerned? No, it is not beneficial for anyone to call all Muslims terrorist because it disregards a section of society and makes it difficult for them to deal with the rest of society. People should really consider the 4-way test before they stereotype other groups. It would be much better for society and would strengthen our ties.

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