I had heard stories. But, I never thought the day would come when someone would recommend (for lack of a better word) I go back to where I was “from”. So, I was waiting for a parking spot yesterday at the mall when a lady decides she has a right to it before me. I refused to move my car, as I had been waiting there long before she had. I can see through her window that she is yelling obscenities. She apparently gave up the fight bitterly and as she drives past me with a lowered window, she yells “You know what? Go back to where you f***ing came from!”
I wish I could tell you that I rose above the situation…that I bore my patience like any good Muslim should. But, I didn’t. I yelled back in my best English so she knew exactly where I was from. After I texted a friend to tell the story of this xenophobic woman, he said “I’m glad you are better than that”. The truth is that this time, I wasn’t. It reminds me of the monologue titled “I’m Tired” where the Muslim-American character breaks down one day and cusses someone out who attacks her in a similar way.
The crazy part is that Miami is the most diverse city in the country. Miami was built by immigrants–Cubans, Haitians, Jews, and other non-Caucasian groups! I would expect to hear such a comment in a place where “brown” people aren’t common. But in Miami? And besides, I am an American, this is my only country–so the comment was absurd to say the least. What is crazier is that I wasn’t wearing a headscarf, but instead a winter-y hat that covered my hair. I wasn’t “out-of-place” per say. It wasn’t really Islamophobia, but just plain ol’ brown-o-phobia? Did this psycho think she can carry her white privilege over my parking spot? Her invisible knapsack wasn’t welcome here and she wasn’t havin’ it.
What? I am still in shock.
I wish I had more time to remind her that the only folks who have a right to send anyone back to where they came from are the Native Americans….and they are generally still far more polite than she could ever be. But that kind of comment may have cause her to actually think. Heaven forbid I’d shake her whole universe at once.