Dear American History Teacher

What were you thinking?

At one of my camps this month, a camper in my cabin saw me using deodorant. She said, “I thought you guys didn’t use deodorant.”
I was a little confused so I asked, “What do you mean?”

“My history teacher said that you guys don’t use deodorant and don’t shave.”

After some more discussion it was clarified that the “you guys” referred to Muslims.
This was after this camper had attended one of my workshops and learned that I am Palestinian.
I had assumed that being at a Christian summer camp as a Peace Intern of the Disciples Peace Fellowship would make it blatantly obvious that I am Christian, but guess not. Since I’m Arab I must be Muslim, right?
I began explaining to her that:
1. I am not Muslim. &
2. Arabs (Muslim and Chrisitan) use deodorant and shave.
Why exactly her history teacher felt the need to mention that completely false statement to her class and what it has to do with history, I do not know. But I do know, being an Arab myself, that if there was ever an award for the most obsessively clean culture it would be given to the Arab one.
Not only do Arabs care about hygiene, they are also some of the most hospitable and kind people around. But, unfortunately, that truth is not something they teach in school.
Dear American History Teacher,
I don’t know where you get your information from, but it’s not correct. I urge you to reeducate yourself in order to accurately educate your youth. Because I hate to break it to you, but Islamophobia is a thing. (It might even be the result of your false teaching.) And it’s something you need to deal with because of the Arabs (Muslim and Christian) who live in the States and seem to be staying there. Some things you should know are:

  • Not all Arabs are Muslim. &
  • Not all Muslims are Arab. (Only 20% of Muslims are Arab. The majority are Indonesian, Pakistani, Indian, and Bangladeshi.)

It is amazing how much the Western media dehumanizes Arabs. At my camps I have been trying to rectify the skewed image of Arabs, but it doesn’t help if these kids are being fed lies in school.
People fear the unknown. Let’s educate ourselves and get one step closer to peace.
An Arab Christian

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One Comment

  1. Patricia Daugherty
    Posted July 4, 2016 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks Rachel. OK i hope we can follow you! Be well and happy
    Patricia and Maggie.

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