Most Longhorns have sat through the “Gone to Texas” session at orientation that challenges stereotypes and emphasizes unity among different groups.
However, racial discrimination is still alive and well on college campuses and off. From three Muslim students being killed near a North Carolina university to a mosque being set on fire in Houston and a synagogue being attacked in France, minorities are still struggling for human rights.
It may seem to others that such crimes stem from hatred, but I would argue that the root of those incidents is ignorance. “History repeats itself,” the phrase every middle schooler has heard at least once, is surprisingly applicable when comparing the problems of the past with those of the present.
One of the victims of the North Carolina shooting, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, had said, “Growing up in America has been such a blessing. It doesn’t matter where you come from. There are so many different people from so many different places and of different backgrounds and religions, but here we’re all one. We’re one culture.”
Those words were recorded last May in a conversation with her former teacher Musarrat Jabeen for StoryCorps, an independent nonprofit project that records the stories of everyday Americans.
It is a shame that the country that Abu-Salha grew up in has shown itself to be more volatile than she believed.
One of the founding principles of this country was freedom of religion, so immigrants should be able to settle here with equal rights and opportunity.
Although some of us stand out more than others, such as Muslim women who wear the hijab (head covering), we all still unite as a nation sharing the same values and goals.
On a campus like UT, we all crave more diversity, which enriches students’ experience inside the classrom and out. The perspective we get from people who have different family backgrounds is unique and challenges us to think. We should be able to celebrate our integration rather than spread untruthful stories, which so often lead to horrific acts of violence.
The killing of innocents is a horrible tragedy, but instead of focusing our concern on the act of murder itself, we should ponder upon the root of the crime.
Whenever a calamity strikes, rather than pausing and letting the shock course through our veins, we hurriedly form hashtags and movements and vigils to honor innocent victims and condemn violence. Ignorance has fostered darkness, and the fact of the matter is that no minority should be afraid to practice their theology.
At the end of the Gone to Texas presentation I attended as a freshman, all the various minority groups held hands in unity. Despite the short 90-minute presentation we were all obliged to sit through, let us remember the value it holds.
Saifullah is a neuroscience sophomore from Richardson.