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8 Ways to Not Become a Victim of Racial Discrimination

How you can preempt and prevent discrimination.

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And now for the most important tip of them all.

8. Disregard everything that I have said so far. You should not have to do any of this. You should be able to wear your turban or your hoodie, your burkha or your mini skirt without being judged. You should be able to sport a thick accent, a green passport or colored skin, without fear of discrimination or attack. Some elements of our society harbor the mentality that if you're of a certain ethnicity or religion, you're guilty (by association) unless proven innocent. Unfortunately I have sometimes caught myself internalizing this mentality by subconsciously trying to prove my innocence and downplaying my identity as a Pakistani Muslim. While the temptation to try to make yourself seem not guilty is powerful, and it is one that I have sometimes found hard to resist, overtime I have realized that it is time to stop apologizing for who I am.

I do recognize the need for security in public places, but there is one question that keeps me up at night: By indiscriminately targeting someone because of their religious or ethnic affiliation, are we not doing the very thing that the perpetrators of 9/11 did? By sowing the seeds of paranoia, hate and anger, it seems that our enemies may have succeeded in their mission. If we want the world to survive a wee bit longer, not only must we keep out of the path of oncoming asteroids but we must also remember to fight fire with water. Now that's a worthy new year's resolution.

H. F. Bhojani is a Pakistani storyteller who weaves counter-narratives on war and love @bhojanio.

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