On September 11, Americans watched with shock as terrorists attacked both the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. Though many people assumed that the terrorists were Muslims or Arabs, Blair students were less impulsive.
All of America apprehensively watched television screens throughout the day as major networks continuously played video of planes crashing into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and later, of the towers' implosion. Lots of people jumped to the conclusion that the attacks were caused by Muslims and Arabs. Several news channels covering the attacks made the same assumption. After the initial shock of the day's events wore off, a few Americans began to retaliate against Muslims and Arabs. Some attacked Muslims physically and verbally. They also vandalized area mosques and Muslim-owned shops.
Most Blair students felt sympathetic to the injustices faced by the Muslims and Arabs. Their feelings were put into words by sophomore Mercy Ankomah. ”It's a bad thing to do,” she said.
Many people withheld blame and judgments because of a lack of information. ”While we don't know who it is, assuming is messed up,” said sophomore Robert Keach. Freshman Silvia Huezo was also against jumping to conclusions. ”We shouldn't blame anybody.... We shouldn't blame them for something they didn't do. I heard one person [at Blair] say bad things about Arabs, but maybe they didn't realize... [Racism is] not a big problem at Blair,” she explained.
For many people, the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers brought back memories of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. Drawing a parallel to that terrorist attack, freshman Adedeji Ogunfolu said, ”They all thought it was Palestinian people who did the Oklahoma City bombing. Unless we have proof... [They are] innocent 'till proven guilty.” Freshman Max Czapanskiy agreed, saying, ”No, it wasn't right; everyone thought it was Arabs after the [Oklahoma City bombing] and it wasn't.”
Not all students defended Muslims and Arabs, however. Chico Kelly said, ”It was the Palestinians' fault, of course... because they celebrated.” Junior Boma Kollie said that she was sure it was the Muslims' and Arabs' fault for the attack. Agreeing with those placing blame on the Muslims and Arabs, Kollie said that those accusing the Muslims and Arabs were right in blaming them for the recent attack.
Rudy Levya, a senior, said, ”They [the Palestinians] had flags, celebrating... that's not right. How can this happen? It's just sad.... The victims and families of any tragedy [need to] take time to recover.” However, Levya stopped short of blaming Palestinians directly.
Muslim students emphasized that not all Muslims or Arabs are terrorists, and that most are normal people. One Muslim student who did not wish to be named said, ”Any Muslim that kills is not a Muslim.”
The overall sentiment of the Blair population towards the harassment of Muslims and Arabs can be summed up by the words of junior Richie Manikat: ”I think it's wrong.”
Kevin Chang. Kevin Chang was born on April 28, 1985. This makes him a bull, and coincidentally, a Taurus. Somehow, he ended up in the Magnet program at Montgomery Blair High School, where he is now a SENIOR! 03! Yes, he is a geek. He is often … More »
Jeanne Yang. Jeanne Yang is an Asian (yes, that means black-haired brown-eyed) girl in the Maggot (err, the Magnet . . . ) Program at Montgomery Blair High School. She spends her time doodling her little anime drawings, chatting with friends online, and struggling to complete her … More »