She looked me up and down and asked, “How old are you? ” I didn’t like way she was talking to me. Especially the way she was looking at me which clearly said ‘You don’t belong here. ’ But I belong here just as much as she does. “Fourteen,” I reply. “I’m allowed to pick up my sister, I have the permission needed. ” The lady was wearing a wrinkled yellow shirt and an un-ironed pair of pants. The look does suit her considering she only has 12 pieces of hair. All in all, she looked like your typical grouchy teacher. My little sister goes to the kind of school you would call posh.
The kind with snobby, rich, stuck up kids. Same goes particularly for the teachers. She used to go to a school in queens but my mom wanted her near us in Manhattan. She put her in a school in the Upper East Side. She has after school and sometimes I have to pick her up. In the neighborhood, I am the only Muslim girl with a scarf on, so I kinda stand out. I show her the note and she snatches it from me. I dismiss her rude attitude and wait for her to finish reading. I see her brows furrow and then she looks up at me and says, “This isn’t a professional note.
You have to…. wait, do you speak English? ” I looked at her shocked. Is she for real? A billion insults run through my mind. I couldn’t believe she just asked me that question. What language was I speaking two freaking seconds ago? Japanese?!? I decide to listen to what my mom had told me at the beginning of the school year when my sister would come home crying because someone had made fun of her shoes. She told me that she wanted to create a better image for Muslims since there are none in the neighborhood.
These people have probably never interacted with Muslims, likewise, their first can’t be a sign of disrespect. “Yes, yes I do,” I reply through clenched teeth. I have already punched her several times in my head. “Ah, as I was saying, this isn’t a professional note because there is no date. ” Here we go again. “But, I’ll let it pass this time. Just bring me a new one tomorrow,” She continued. Yeah, sure, I thought. “Oh, okay,” I said giving her a fake smile and walking out the door with my sister before I explode. This is not the first time someone has judged me from the outside.
At first, I answered them kindly not really knowing what they were intentionally asking. But through experience, I’ve realized that it’s another way of saying, “You don’t fit here,” or “ You don’t belong here. ” As I think back to this moment, I realized that I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. Instead of feeling anger towards her, I should’ve felt pity. I should’ve felt bad for her because she felt the need to judge a person from the outside. And that should be something we should all work to avoid. I believe in not judging a book by its cover, and giving it a chance.