Friday, December 5, 2008

discriminated




Rusty called me Wednesday night to tell me that the fuel pump on his truck went out. So I drove down to get him. Thursday morning I had to drive Rusty to work. I spent the day at Rusty's shop, just waiting for the truck to get fixed. I was not about to drive home and then have to go back if the truck was not fixed.
What I am about to to you happened about four hours before we left Rusty's shop. For the record let me say that Rusty sell's guns and gear for the military, and to anyone who walks in the store.
I was in the back room and I noticed a dummy that was dressed. The dummy had on a head scarf that the guys can wear while in Iraq or Afghanistan. You wrap the scarf just like any other head dress and it will help keep the sand and other crap off of you.
I took the scarf off the dummy and placed it on my head. That scarf was warm and I was getting cold, so I kept it on. Rusty walked in and he just looked at me. I said "I am going for the middle European peasant look". Rusty was like whatever. It is me, so nothing shocks Rusty any more.
I walked out to the store front to see what was going on. That was when one of Rusty's co works said "Oh look Grumpy (another co worker) has lost his mind. First he hired a hippy and now he hired a Muslim women."
Suddenly two marines look up from the gun case and they just stare at me. The look they shot me should have killed me. Then one of the marines picks up a fire arm, and slides the chamber back. He did this while never taking his eyes off me.
I just stood there. I know that fire arm was not loaded, so I knew that he could not hurt me. I also know that I made that marine feel very uncountable. So I stood there. I wanted to see this marine be uncomfortable.
It was in that moment that I felt hatred leave that marines body and be imposed upon me. It was at that moment that I learned what it was to be hated just because of the way I dressed. It was in that moment that I decided to not take the head covering off. I was going to wear the head covering the rest of the night.
I went and got the glass cleaner and started to clean up the display cases. People came and went, but no one spoke to me. Then two men walked in to pick up some guns that they had bought. I went to the front of the store to clean the doors. There was this big beautiful dog and he was just barking his head off. One of the guys came out to see what his dog was barking at, it was me. The guy did not say a word to me. So I spoke first. I asked him what type of dog he had. Once that was said he warmed right up to me.
It was finally time to leave. The truck was running! I told Rusty that I was going to drop the car off to one of the marines and that I would just ride back him with him. I got to the main gate and the guard at the gate just looked at my sticker and looked at me. I grabbed my i.d. card, but the guard never asked for it. He just kept staring at me. Finally he let me go. I know that poor guard was wondering weather or not to question my head covering.
Rusty and I ended up at Denny's. We were seated and given menu's. Our server would not look me in the eye. I was as nice as could be. I got up to go to the restroom and several women just stared at me. On my way out of the restroom I noticed one women in a particular who just would not take her eyes of me. Have you never seen a women wear a head covering?
I went and paid our bill and I left the waitress a nice tip. The waitress walks by me and says "You have a nice evening and happy holidays". I guess you can only look at me when I give you money?
Maybe I should have explained to the marine that I am married to a retired marine, and that the head scarf is an acceptable uniform item. Maybe I should have taken the head covering off before I entered the gate. Maybe I should have taken it off when we went to eat. Maybe.
What I really wanted to see was how people would react to me. Well I found out. They are mean and rude. Yesterday, what started out as Innocent joke in the back room opened my eyes to the way people view other people. Yesterday I was discriminated against just because I had a head scarf on. A simple head scarf made less then human in many peoples eyes.
I will never forget that feeling, and I have decided to push my boundaries even more. I will wear the head covering again. Maybe not that particular one, but I have more. I want to watch people react when they are lost for words.

9 comments:

Small Footprints said...

That was an incredible story ... and what an experience. It really showcases the fear that our society is plagued by. It's sad! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all practiced tolerance for those who are different from ourselves. I'm pretty sure that if one looks beyond the clothes, skin color, gender, etc. ... they'll see someone who looks just like themselves.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Small Footprints
http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com

Traci said...

Wow! You are such a rebel! So true what you say about people judging appearances. Since I am overweight people assume I have a less than stellar IQ. I tend to try to "impress" them when I notice that they are talking down to me. That usually just makes me feel bad. Interesting lesson learned here, huh?!

Paula said...

Something to think about. Thanks.

Missie said...

Be careful if you wear that head dressing again. I had shivers up my spine just reading about the guy who stared at you while looking at the guns!

You're brave!

Melissa said...

i know what its like to be discriminated on. people can change the way they dress..but think about ppl treating u that way because of something u cant change...read my last entry I had a something like that happen to me yesterday

Heli gunner Tom said...

There are a lot more 'dynamics' to this than you think or realize! You may still not understand exactly what PTSD is and how it will always stay in a combat Vet's mind. No matter if it's a 'cultural thing' or not, covering or disguising the face and head makes people wonder what you are up to. Too, when people come here the USA, traditionally, they are expected to 'blend in and assimilate' into OUR AMERICAN culture and ways! AND, if you like living dangerously, since OUR country is at war with people who dress that way-- why not take this to a higher level and visit Mexico and wear a sign that says: "I hate all dirty Mexican." Or go to San Francisco and wear a sign that says, " I hate all fagots!" LOL.
Then, if you are still alive, you could make some great observations and tell all your Blog visitors about your new adventures. Woo Woo! Do you see where I am coming from yet? Get the picture" Have a great day.

Tom S
Disabled Vietnam Vet: 68-70

a corgi said...

wow, what an experience! I never knew what Rusty did "for a living" until now; now that makes sense when you mention him going to shows. its sad how a person is judged by how they look; so glad the Lord doesn't judge us that way but looks at our hearts

I got a taste of discrimination living in Santa Fe, it is something you don't forget and I know it scarred me a bit

take care of yourself though when you wear it again; make sure someone has your back so to speak

betty

Gerry said...

Whew, you are quite the nervy lady and again I have to say that I admire the reason you did this. Although in this city on the bus we see quite a lot of women dressed in Muslim headcovering and I am proud of how tolerant and civil we who ride public transit are to everyone. Someone dressed in a clown outfit with long pointed shoes got on once and nobody turned a hair. Very interesting story. Gerry

Muhala Akamau said...

Great story; thanks for sharing this, as others need to be aware of what goes on out there --- every day. I'm black and I can't take my skin off.

Grace,
Muhala

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lake elsinore, ca
I am a stay at home mom. I am also married to a veteran and he is the love of my life. I keep it real here and I hold nothing back. My life is a roller coaster ride, so strap on your seatbelt.... here we go!