Without getting into definitions from various sources both professional and informal, violence is an attack on humanity. Why someone must inflict pain on others is beyond me. I don’t understand how a person can purposely hurt another, much less when that hurt leads to the inevitable demise of one or more of the arguing parties. Is it that we are so underdeveloped that we cannot help trigger love and forgiveness instead of hate?

Now, as I sit at my desk, I am riddled with a sense of insecurity that often decides to pay me a visit, and it has nothing to do with appearance, good looks, or even whether or not I have made something of myself. Rather, it is the insecurity bred into me as ‘other’ both female and Hispanic. From a very young age, I knew I was different, and it was not because I had some outward deformity. I was Mexican. I was non-white. I was girl. I was me. Now, many years later, I am Muslim, and again I am relegated to the position of ‘other’ for my choice of religion. I read the news, watch the newscasts, ponder over media coverage of what they think Islam and Muslims must be, and I am aghast at the ignorance and hatred that makes us base, lower than the animals we claim superiority over. Are we really so evolved? I think, rather, we have regressed to less than animals if we can treat each other this way.

This last week alone, three young Muslim students were murdered. The media say a ‘man’ murdered them. Had the victims been non-Muslim and the perpetrator Muslim, the latter would have been broadcast as being a terrorist. If terrorist is what the media defines, then this man falls into this category as though it the role itself were tapered to his very being. Parking dispute? Really? Would this have been the case if the reverse were true? Another family was assaulted at a local market, harassed and physically and psychologically abused by white men. Did anyone do anything? No, of course not. Why would they? The Arab family man was even restrained, not the perps. Violent much?

I will not go into what it feels like to be a Muslim, for I doubt the world is willing to listen. My life, or that of my fellow Muslims, has little weight in the scale of apathetic souls willing to prostitute themselves to comfort. The day will come, though, when something will qualify them as ‘other’ and the wheels of injustice will turn in their direction. In a world where Palestinians are blatantly murdered in a systematic ethnic cleansing the world sees fit to stand by and watch, I have no hope of my voice being valued for what it is: God’s gift to me as a human being. God is Just. God is Fair. God is All-Knowing. He does not forget but takes accurate account of all our deeds and misdeeds. I have but to wait for all our deeds to come to the surface and all remuneration to be delivered, even against the will of those deserving of their pay. What the world neglects, God will surely make to pass.

I am truly saddened by all the happenings of the world today. An Indian grandfather paralyzed by police. People dying around the country for the drunk-on-power gun-toting police force akin to Gestapo forces of the Nazi regime. People of color, religion, or ethnicities found unacceptable by some and harassed for their identities is no different from what people suffered at the hands of the Inquisition, Holocaust, or other such events. Will we ever learn that it is the sublime act of love and forgiveness, wrapped in knowledge and respect that would help allay such problems? I hope for the sake of the world we change, and soon.



Testing and Other Things Associated

Test. The most dreaded four-letter word in my vocabulary–dirtier than the other words in my repertoire. When I hear that word, my whole existence goes into overdrive. From taking them, creating them, proctoring them, or grading them, tests are the bane of my existence. I’ve never really been a good test taker, but there are some I am convinced are simply meant to drain you of the very life force you may still have in this cruel world of ours we like to call the “real world.”  Math has always been the top-ranking of all detested tests, but I digress.

Last Sunday I took a practice test for an exam I am to take within the next four months. It was a full test and was conducted in simulated testing conditions, though in writing format. We–about 25 of us–were marshaled together into a conference room and began taking our test. All was well, until it wasn’t. The minute I heard the first crunch I knew it was not going to be a good day for me. Before I continue, I must clarify that this program has been the BEST experience I have ever had, by far, in ANY certification or professional program. There is no complaint here about its efficacy. What happened was simple. We were given breakfast and snacks (Chex Mix), but though we were told we weren’t allowed to eat our breakfast during the test, some certainly didn’t think it extended to the whole idea of not crunching THROUGHOUT the whole test.  Mind you, it was a simulated environment and the test was only practice, but the fact remains that some people decided it was okay to eat Chex Mix during the test, which is where my nightmare began.

About two-and-a-half hours later, I was ‘done’ with my test. I checked it against the answer set we were given and got a 66 out of a needed 80 and possible 100. At that point I was simply spent. I spent the entire time hearing someone put Chex Mix, or maybe even ice, which they have and is better than Sonic ice, in their mouth and chew, crunch, and thereby obliterate any chance I had of focusing on my test. Maybe I am being too harsh, but the fact of the matter is that it was supposed to be good for all, and it was not good for me. What is worse is that I am not sure if the questions I got wrong were because I need to study further or because I simply could not ignore the constant crunching throughout the whole test. Just to clarify, I spoke to my advisor and I will be given a chance to retake the practice test in a quiet environment, an environment populated by only me. I am truly grateful simply because I need to know what it is I don’t so I can beef up on my studying and get it right. I hold no grudges against anyone, truly, and have been blessed to be a part of such a wonderful program, but for future reference, be considerate.

I teach students a great number of things, but I would like to think that before I teach them syntax, vocabulary, or reading comprehension, I teach them how to be considerate human beings within their environments. As a direct result of Sunday’s experience, I will be making my own changes in class to ensure that all students have a secure environment in which to take their test, do their work, and have some semblance of a feasible working environment.

Test. A four-letter-word that ails me to no end and sends my spine a’ tinglin’ exponentially, and not in a good way. They are what I dread more than most other things, and when I have to create/give/grade a test, I dread that, too. It’s an overall pain in my neck to give/take tests. Oy vey!