Islamic Bogeyman, Redneck Reality

Last weekend on Twitter, I responded to Ibrahim Moustafa (@Ibrahim_M_), and then kept on thinking about the exchange.

It’s absolutely true. During my teaching career, I had many, many students from not only the seven countries affected by the executive order banning entry to the U.S., I had students from other majority-Muslim countries not affected by the ban (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc.). I had Latino students in my classes. I had Asian students. I also had colleagues from a wide variety of countries over the years. Truly, never did I feel threatened by any of them, not even immediately after 9/11 when we were all severely on edge. The (mostly) young men from these countries were invariably hard-working, respectful, and determined that they were here to make the most of this opportunity for education.

It would seem that the statistics so far bear me out:

From the looks of it, I should be a lot more nervous about my four-year-old niece accidentally shooting me.

You know who makes me nervous today, who made me feel threatened at times while I taught computer science?

White males.


Not all white males. Before I retired, the computer nerds and I got along just fine because I was one of them. Military veterans didn’t bother me either — those guys might look and act very macho, but somewhere along the way they learned discipline and respect for others.

You probably know the type that makes me nervous. Conservative gun-toting “God-fearing” men that are convinced that our country has gone to hell in a handbasket because of women, blacks,  immigrants, and gays. Students in my classes knew better than to say anything, but you could tell who they were. Heaven forbid you ever got into an exchange with them on social media!

I was never sure when one of them just might snap and target me or a fellow student as one of the 11,737 for the current year.

The Islamic Bogeyman Terrorist Under The Bed? I’m not worried. I’m in much more danger getting behind the wheel of my car here in Atlanta. The White Male With A Flag And A Gun? I’ll be looking over my shoulder until he’s out of sight, and the statistics support me there.