Teaching at a private all boys catholic schools is surprisingly not a culture shock… “Remember that we are in the holy presence of God” is on the speaker before annoucements.
Kinda like my elementary school in Kuwait expect we sang the kuwait national anthem too…
either way its whatevs cause really folks:
a. RI has the highest unemployment rate and I need a consistant jobby job
b. i needz jobby job
c. because jobs
d. When was the last time I was in a space where my nationality/religion/idently /gender was represented anyways? (Bah!)
Just call me the Undercover Muslim/Arab/Palestinian… I’ve gotten pretty used to it over the years. I went to school in Johnston Rhode Island which is the Jersey Shore’ revivals for most italian american’s per capita.
…I have big hair and brown eyes, I’m Italian. right!
So, I just rolled with it till I couldn’t anymore… which was approximately 11th grade when I spazed out at classmates via shared journal writing. The 2nd intifada broke out and I needed an outlet. Hearing homegirl complain about some chick stealing her BF or something was my trigger. I let loose. Found it necessary to detail all the ways in which my peers were losing their lives halfway across the world due to US government funded occupation. There may have also been a bit of shallow suburbanite white picket fence bashing too… meh. I was 16. My love of spinach calzones aside, Im fairly sure that blew my italio-americano cover.
I managed to fly under the radar as an undercover Muslim just up until 9-11 which was my senior year in high school. When I found myself engaged in a heated discussions about biased and misinformed media depictions of the Middle East.
“How do you know?” came up a lot.
“Cause I am Palestinian and that’s now how my family is.”
“Oh! I thought you were Pakistani or something…”
The best real life thing that was said to me ( i swear im not making it up) during this time period was in senior math class when Miss Cheer Captain said to the entire class:
“Oh, I know its those Palestinians. [that blew up the twin towers] They are always blowing stuff up.”
To which I replied, “Um, I am Palestinian and you don’t see me blowing shit up right now, do you?”
“No your not! Your an A-rab.”
To which the sweet, well meaning little blond math teacher replied,
“We are not gonna talk about it girls, take out your math books.”
Cover blown. Again.
It wasn’t like I actually wanted to stay under the radar on purpose or anything. I was just trying to be a ‘normal’ young person. One that could just be herself and chill and whatnot. Expect when I realized that most other ‘normal’ young people got to be in spaces that also represented or at least acknowledged them.
Now, as a grown-up, I recognize and respect that awkwardly sensitive time in young people ( well, in all people) when they are trying to piece together their place in the world. I recognize that it was those formative moments,- when I refused to keep my mouth shut- that inform my work as a teacher/mother/person in the world.
Check Out More A-rab comedy here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0KAbBlzFbU
It’s a journey…
One that encourages an underemployed PalestinianAmericanMuslim to say “Sure. I’ll Teach at an all-boy-Catholic School.