Post-bin Laden Racism: Teacher Tells 9th Grade Muslim Girl, 'I Bet You're Grieving'

While new news on Osama bin Laden's killing seems to emerge hourly, one aspect of the aftermath has been reported sparingly: the related vitriolic racism that not only gets directed towards Muslims, but to Middle Easterners, South Asians, and various other racial, ethnic and religious groups that are ignorantly perceived to be 'other.' And while there are certainly other accounts of racism flaming up since bin Laden's killing on Sunday, this story is probably the most egregious, disgusting and hateful we've heard thus far:

A Texas high school teacher has been placed on administrative leave following an incident where he allegedly told a 9th grade Muslim girl in his algebra class "I bet that you're grieving" on Monday following the death of Osama bin Laden.

According to one parent at Clear Brook High School in Houston who spoke about the incident to a local ABC affiliate, the teacher also said, "I heard about your uncle's death."

The parent said the student "understood that he was referring about Osama bin Laden being killed and was racially profiling her."

When the girl began crying, the teacher asked why. When another student told the teacher it was because of what he said, he apparently 'smirked and giggled' before walking away.

The teacher was immediately placed on Administrative leave until the outcome of an investigation, and the Clear Creek School District released a statement touting tolerance:

"In the Clear Creek Independent School District, we believe diversity strengthens our community and seek opportunities to celebrate the different cultures within our schools and neighborhoods. The sentiments allegedly shared by this teacher are not reflective of the staff at Clear Brook High School or anyone within the Clear Creek Independent School District.

"In accordance with CCISD policy, the teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a personnel investigation. The student did the right thing and immediately notified an adult regarding the teachers' comments. The principal at Clear Brook High School notified the child's parents and has been in communication with the family."

Heartening is the fact that, according to the Houston Chronicle, the girl's classmates stuck up for her. Let's forever hope the next generation is more open-minded than the one before it. Read the full piece here.


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at May 4, 2011, 7:44am

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