Margins, Muslims, and Mentors

It’s Christmas and our thoughts are of families and children. However, at the margins life may be tough.
Let’s start with an excerpt from the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Excupery.

“There were terrible seeds on the little prince’s planet… they were baobab seeds. The planet’s soil was infested with them. Now, a baobab, if you set about it too late, you can never get rid of it. It takes up the whole planet. It pierces it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and if there are too many baobabs, they will make it burst”.

So maybe our boababs are, in part, class and religious differences?

Back to our kids, according to a new Pew Research Study* “In poor families, however, children tend to spend their time at home or with extended family, the survey found. They are more likely to grow up in neighborhoods that their parents say aren’t great for raising children, and their parents worry about them getting shot, beaten up or in trouble with the law” They also go on to find “While bullying is parents’ greatest concern over all, nearly half of low-income parents worry their child will get shot, compared with one-fifth of high-income parents. They are more worried about their children being depressed or anxious”

And I dont need to tell readers of this blog how African American kids are told by their parents to be carefull about enconters with the police.

Also today in the New York Times an article reviewed the answers by Muslim Americans on their kids safety.*** They noted that “A wave of recent attacks by extremists acting in the name of Islam — including in San Bernardino, Calif., this month — has contributed to a rise in anti-Muslim speech in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. We askd our readers who are Muslim how they talk to their children about these difficult times”.
The article illustrates the same problems and other kids at the margin have. The following are some of the strategies that Muslim parents have devised.

  • “work 100 times harder” and “be 100 times kinder.”
  • “be wary of anyone reaching out to them over the Internet andzes claiming to be Muslim. “ISIL is trying to recruit you,”
  • “our Muslim kids personally identify with how the Christian pilgrims came here, cut off from everyone and everything they knew, simply to be able to adore God how they thought fit.
  • “I nevertheless encourage them not to discuss faith with anyone.”

I will finish with a hope that racial and religious intolerance no longer penelizes our children at the margins and our nation.

Happy Holidays.

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