As I sat watching this story I couldn’t help but think, what if he was white? What if he had a ‘good Christian’ name? What if his pa was a ‘good old boy’ that everyone knew? I thought he wouldn’t have been arrested—he would have possibly gotten a pat on the back and been told what a smart boy he was for building a working clock all on his own. Then I said to myself: that’s just the times we live in now.
It’s easy to look back at things like 9/11 and everywhere there has been monstrous acts of hate committed, and tell ourselves that’s why we react this way to a 14-year old’s science project. The truth is that these acts were committed by extremists with agendas. Not every Muslim is an extremist. What I don’t understand is why we don’t view every Christian with a cautious eye? Always wondering when they are going to blow up their next abortion clinic? The answer is, of course, because not every Christian is an extremist. But for some reason we are not able to see it that way with Muslims.
When Republican presidential primary candidate Ben Carson was asked if he would vote for a Muslim president he said no, because Islam isn’t just a religion, it’s a political-social ideology with strict rules for people, and does not support the separation of church and state. I find that hilarious. In the current presidential campaign there are plenty of religious extremists, all of them Christians, including Ben Carson. The candidates themselves should be forced to place the Constitution before their religions and see how they fare in the campaign without pandering to their constituents about gay marriage and abortion.
In this time of extreme acts I am simply making a point: it’s easy to define one group in its entirety as our enemies, but the reality is that there is evil, ignorance, and stupidity everywhere. I refuse to let those in power dictate to me that their enemies should also be mine.
- This post is published as part of the Prison Op/Ed Project, an occasional series authored by CCRI sociology students who are incarcerated at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute. Read more here:
- ‘Prison Op/Ed Project’ teaches civic engagement, writing – Meghan Kallman
- Does racial injustice still exist? Look at our schools – Aaron Carpenter
- Rhode Island charges felons absurdly high court costs – Christopher Nemitz
- Public school students and inmates need more vocational training – Darnell Hie
- Prison policies put probation and vocational training at odds – Norman Johnson
- Corporate-modeled prison industrial complex doesn’t serve society – Adrian Rojas
- Incarceration is the new slavery – James Poston
- Justice isn’t blind with data-based sentencing – David Brown
- Ending welfare entitlements opened the door to disability fraud – Dan Davidson
- Post prison services would stem system’s revolving door – Michael Wheelock
- You’re vote doesn’t matter as much as your money – David Brown
- How schools emulate prisons, and prepare students for them – Richard Pimiental
- Cars that are good for society – David DeGrasse
- PTA involvement instead of prison mentality in schools – Mustapha Bojang
- Prison is about re-socialization, not corrections – Christopher Marsich
- ACI administrator praises Prison Op/Ed Project – Ralph Orleck
- Alcohol, incarceration and what it means to matter – Laura Baumgardner
- Was Myron Magnet a genius or just a Republican? – Danny Mercure
- Ike was right: Military industrial complex corrupted economy – Christopher Marsich
- Second Chance Act deserves second chance at full funding –