A couple of weeks before Christmas, I had the honor of lecturing about my work to students at Kansas State University. It was only a few days ago, that I discovered someone by the name of Kristine wrote this about my visit to the school newspaper:
Can anyone say an Islamic terrorist gaining dupes???? I am sure that he as an agenda, like most Islamist. But we are not hearing about that. Sort of like how Hitler was the biggest contributor to the ASPCA of Germany, but that never comes out till after the dupes have adopted his programs. Islam is devil worship, an authoritarian system of governance, and evil. Those are the facts. Now if you want to go around being a Stockholm syndrome victim, as in “they must hate me because of me, so I must be like them”, wake up. The JIhadist and Islamist want you to either submit, or join. Sort of like being in gang. Either you a Crip, or you an enemy.
I met a lot of amazing and kind people at Kansas State University. And I know everyone reading this will say this comment is just one person – but it hurt. It’s painful to think that someone can be genuinely alarmed just because I’m brown and have the last name “Ahmed”. And they probably aren’t alone in that thinking.
I have to admit, shortly after reading this comment, I kind of decided to curl into bed and sleep a bit for a good chunk of the day. So, clearly I don’t have as thick a skin as I hoped. And maybe, what I’m about to say next, is not something I’d be saying if I wasn’t hurt.
But, it seems to me, the more prominent, more distinguished, and more successful anti-poverty “speakers”, “advocates”, and “champions” (coming from my generation and my age group) are those who racially, religiously, and ethnically resemble the “Western donor” than those who racially, ethnically, and/or religiously resemble the recipients.
I have no doubt that if I went on stage not as brown-skinned “Shawn Ahmed” but as a paler-skinned “Shawn Adams” there wouldn’t be comments like the above sent to the school newspaper. And who knows? Maybe the idea of helping those in need in distant countries would have been more palatable to people like Kristine when it’s coming from people who are more like her and less like me.