Americans are painfully ignorant of other religions and cultures, which is how rabble-rousing demagogues like Donald Trump are able to incite so much hate against Muslims and immigrants. Conservative suspicion of anything not white, blond, and Christian is a terrible detriment to our social unity and a source of constant racism in our nation.
Take the awful profiling of a twelve year old boy from Arlington, Texas. Armaan Singh Sarai, whose parents are Indian-American Sikhs, has a very serious heart condition. A class bully thought it would be amusing to accuse the boy of having a bomb in his backpack, which prompted the police to take him to juvenile detention without calling his parents and holding him there for three days.
His backpack has a built in battery charger for electronic devices, an increasingly common feature of bags these days. Because an ignorant bully profiled him for being from India and a Sikh, the twelve year old has been suspended from school, must wear an ankle monitor and has a court date, even though no charges have been filed and no crime has been committed.
It is an absolutely outrageous miscarriage of justice and a show of disgusting racism on the part of Texan police, who made headlines earlier this year for arresting a fourteen-year-old Sudanese-American boy, Ahmed Mohamed, from bringing a home-made clock to school. Sikhs in America have long been targeted for simply looking “foreign” or “Muslim” by ignorant bigots; its clear that some of those racists work for the Arlington Police Department. Where is the due process that would be given to any white person? Why was he detained on no charges? Why were his parents not informed of his arrest? It is an absolute travesty that shows just how ridiculously deep the paranoia of Islamophobes has grown – and disturbing evidence of how the justice system works only for the white man in America.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.