The Ugly American?

We took a walk the other day to a new park, one recommended by a sister who lives close-by.  It was just fives minutes away, and we were the only people there, at first.  On our way home, a man watching from the adjoining apartment complex, first stared, then asked, “What, are you guys in a gang or something?”  The question was so ridiculous to me, that I just ignored him.  There was a change in his demeanor at once.  “Well you look damn stupid.  Don’t bring your a** around here again, or I’ll kick your a**.”  Of course I ignored him and concentrated on getting my kids out of there, all the while they are asking questions.  Such as, “Mom, why is that man saying that?”  I tried to explain the best I could, while they insulted the man and said what their dad would do to him if he were there. 

I thought about it later and considered it odd the man never once insulted Islam or muslims directly.  For all I know he had no idea we were muslims.  It could be his question was serious and he really wanted to know why we were dressed as we were.  Perhaps his anger came from feeling foolish that I ignored him.  Allahu alim, maybe I missed a teaching opportunity.   I’ll have to be more careful in the future about dismissing questions I think are stupid.  Dh put the burden on me and said I never should have been walking in this area (slightly rednecky).

I seem to generate more comments than previous years.  While in a restroom in Walmart an older woman came and stood in front of me, just looking.  I thought maybe she wanted something behind me, but then she started speaking; “You know, a person can’t tell if you are a man or a woman under all that.”  Me, looking at her blankly.  She went on, “You could have a bomb or a gun under those clothes.”  At this point, I interjected that anyone could carry a gun, even she.  She might have one in her handbag.  “I don’t have a gun, “she protested.  But you could have one, I argued.  She advised me to think about her comments.  I have, but not in the way she probably meant.

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