Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Courage to Write

I've decided to highlight one of my students' assignments on my own blog because of her ability to do what is most difficult for writers to do: to take risks. Once we settle into ourselves and realize that the places from which we must write from are our most vulnerable and painful ones, we've become self actualized writers. Here, a 9th grade student, early in her writing, establishes this inherent ability in her writing.

Amane, a practicing Muslim, focuses on how the social experience of 9/11 and the "war on terror" has affected her personal experiences in day to day life. She begins by establishing her experiences as a young citizen in the U.S.:
I practically lived in the United States my entire life. I stood up and and put my hand over my heart and recited the pledge of [allegiance] every day in elementary school. I watched the [superbowl] and sang the national anthem, every time, just like every one else in the U.S. does....
She goes on to describe how this has changed after 9/11:
After 9/11 occured every thing changed. I would go places and get insulted. "Terrorist, go back to your own country. We don't need more of you here." They would say things like that and even worse sometimes. I didn't understand, this is my country....

Do you have any idea what it's like for me to go for a ride in a car and role my window down. I get middle fingers, I get called names, I get spit at, things get thrown at me, and again I also get shouted at. Like other kids my age, i go to the mall to go for a walk and go shopping. But i wish i could do this with out being stared at, gawked at, laughed at, talked about, threatened, and again "Go back to your country."

What is most compelling about this account is that after having been targeted and dehumanized on numerous accounts, still alive in her is the courage to imagine and hope for a world where difference is not a threat and empathy is the norm:
I believe that away from here, a place for rebels, outcasts, untouchables, and uncomfortables to be free. To become their own society. That way they would all be normal, and they would all keep their pasts in the present to think before they hurt or cause hurt the way people bestowed it on them. We, outcasts, we can all be a family. A real and true 'free country'. An outcast is someone who is ostracized by society. An out cast... is me.
I would like to invite Amane to extend that hope to the people of the very land we stand on. With persistence and a struggle rooted in love, justice will prevail. To read her complete post visit her at

1 comment:

david santos said...