Last week, I went to do a routine exam on a patient I had not met before. I introduced myself and sat down and asked did she have any pain or issues she would like to share with me. She grabbed my hijab and asked me “are you American”? I said “excuse me? ” in shock and not without my NYC attitude which caused her to immediately apologize. I also informed that yes I was American and a proud one at that. She didn’t know what else to say and went into how she goes to church. I continued with the exam and hoped she had left a little less ignorant. Just in case I didn’t understand her faith, she returned back to the office with a Jesus and Mary poster. I wish I had been there to point out to her that Mary had a hijab on and that they weren’t white and had lived in the Middle East. I tried to justify that most rural people live in their social bubbles and only know people from their church. There’s not much diversity. That she grew up during Jim Crow and even if the laws have changed, most people’s hearts have not. I still don’t understand if I had not been an American, her mouth and body is still human and disease affects all the same way because bacteria does not discriminate. I, as a doctor, would still be able to treat her as a human.
Since the election, I have been trying to understand how Americans elected Trump. I kept saying he had name recognition and was a reality tv star so most Americans know who he is. However, racism did play a part in it. This has become clearer now that we see the white supremacists that are now holding key positions in government. As an American, I want social and economic progress and prosperity and good for the nation. Making Muslims the bogeyman to detract away from policies that will benefit the already rich and powerful is not going to achieve this. Playing into ignorant fears will not bring jobs back. All it will accomplish will be to cause division and chaos as we are now seeing. We, the American people have the right to stand together and ask for some real change and investment in our nation. To hold our politicians accountable for improving the lives of the common folk, not just the rich. This will never occur while we are all mud slinging the other side with fake news accounts. I will remain optimistic that the nation is still filled with more good than bad and that we can achieve our goals together. Together we make America beautiful.