The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Palestinian student(s) express gratitude for the Guilford community’s response to the Bryan incident.

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony.
There is good and bad in everyone,
We learn to live, we learn to give
Each other what we need to survive together alive.-Paul McCartney

My side of the “story” has not been told. As a Palestinian, I am expected to feel disappointed, angry and unsafe at Guilford, yet events that have occurred these past few weeks have made it clear to me that I belong here.

“Guilford and the surrounding communities have been very caring and helpful,” said Palestinian student Faris Khader. “Their support helped us handle this situation much better than we would have alone. I am so thankful for this community.”

Since I was not a witness of the Bryan incident, I will not make any statements regarding it, nor will I share any preconceived notions or draw any conclusions about the incident itself.

Many of us like to believe that as a Quaker school that preaches diversity, peace, equality, and non-violence, Guilford is, or should be, an embodiment of the dream of “Ebony and Ivory.”

Over the past few weeks, this idealistic perception of Guilford has proven to be a myth and has forced many to face the realities of racism and violence all over the world.

It is na’ve to believe that, since this is a Quaker school, all students, professors and staff members are accepting and peaceful, because racism and prejudices are a part of every community.

The reality of racism is inevitable, and I have not yet known of a place that is free from prejudices or hate. Expecting such perfection is, at the least, unfair to the Guilford community.

I, too, believe that I should have the right to live in an anti-racist, non-violent environment, but when we expect perfection from this community, we will be dismayed and disappointed.

Furthermore, occurrences that confirm Guilford’s vulnerability will weaken us as a community if we do not expect them and actively seek to cure the root of the problem by making it our responsibility to be prejudice-free in all circumstances.

I’m sure that some of us are closer to making this dream a reality than others. But the truth is that as “racists” or “non-racists,” we share the same reality, and it is time to stop labeling others and ourselves.

“This incident should not hurt the relationships between students, especially athletes and non-athletes,” said Khader.

“We should not judge people based on their social group,” said fellow Palestinian student Osama Sabbah. “A person’s character is what matters.”

When any incident of racism occurs, it is very easy to point fingers and blame a certain side because they are “racists,” after all. Not only does this not help solve the problem, but also this makes everyone of us who judges them a hypocrite.

Ignorance and fear are the roots of racism. If we alienate ourselves from those who have racist sentiments (keep in mind, I am not referring to anyone in particular), we allow them to hate, and we contribute greatly to the creation of a communication barrier between “us” and “them.”

I, like everyone else, am not free from prejudices, and I will openly admit that the Bryan incident and some responses angered me and made me feel unwelcome here. Then I realized that bitterness and anger are counterproductive.

Once I made it a point to overlook some negative aspects of this community, I noticed a great amount of positive characteristics that make the Guilford community special. Therefore, saving the face of Guilford is unnecessary, because Guilford and what the students stand for are clearer now than ever before.

Where else does a diverse group of students unite in a peace vigil? Where else do individuals make it their responsibility to better the environment around them? Where else are students so eager to hear “the other side”? Where else do people from opposite sides feel closer after expressions of hate?

I’m sure these responses exist elsewhere, but we must never take them for granted. I cannot speak for the administrative processes (I have not dealt with them directly to completely trust their commitment to fairness, etc.), but as for the Guilford community, I generally see individuals who are loving, caring, and warm.

“I hope that this incident will raise awareness in Guilford,” said Khader. “And that we can all work together and learn from past experiences, so we can promote peace and love in our community.”

Bad things happen, but we shouldn’t be too quick to judge the offenders because, after all, there is good and bad in everyone, or in the words of Quakers everywhere, I truly and ardently believe that “There is that of God in everyone.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Guilfordian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *