Post 9/11 Era for the Asian Americans

It’s been over a decade ago but it is as though it was like yesterday that I watched the news. I was having my usual chocolate cereal at the kitchen counter, facing the T.V. I was fresh from bed and still had my pajamas on.

It was September 11, 2001. I watched those buildings collapsed; flame burst, then I saw them slowly melt down to the ground. It took minutes to sink in my brain. Watching the slow-motioned video, some parts of my mind didn’t want to accept that it was a news, somehow I wanted to convince myself that I was only watching another bomb-this-building movie. But no, it was real. It happened. And I watched it happen.

Al Qaeda flew two planes that they hijacked into the World Trade Center towers and another one to the Pentagon. Another plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania when the passengers attempted to regain control. That crime committed by the global militant Islamist group, Al Qaeda, happened a decade ago. Reports said that about three thousand people died on that attack. The New York Times stated it was the “worst and most audacious terror attack in the American history and I agree. I watched American news, read crime papers and so on but nothing have made me fear more than the 9/11 event.

I remember myself panicking. My family panicked too. What if the next attack happens near us? Gladly, nothing happened. It was the yesteryears, but it wasn’t just the ones responsible for that attack that takes the blame, so are the Asian Muslims living in America. Since the 9/11 attack, South Asians, Muslims, Arabs and those who have Sikh backgrounds were bombarded with biased judgment and racism attacks, profiled as though the race itself is responsible for that violence.5

This isn’t just a personal point-of-view since statistics and studies have something to say too. On a 2014 report of the South Asian American Leading Together (SAALT) called “Under Suspicion, Under Attack: Xenophobic Political Rhetoric and Hate Violence against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab Communities in the United States” it pointed that over 80% of hate violence were because of anti-Muslim sentiments. It also cited that in 2012, 50% of the Americans feel uncomfortable with mosques in their neighborhoods or of seeing Muslims praying in airports. Furthermore, over 90% of xenophobic political comments were motivated by the people’s anti-Muslim sentiments.

Living in the post-9/11 era had open up my eyes to a lot of unpleasant things about how people could possess a general point-of-view and how a crime of another individual could cloud judgement. And honestly, all of these make no sense to me. The world already has its own dramas. Somewhere, there are war, cultural battles and epidemic illnesses. I wish there an instant miracle that could put America and every other race into unity; where judgment is individually scrutinized and diversity is vague or non-existence.

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