I was born and raised American.

Anonymous,
NJ.

I have never been so angry at or disappointed in my parents in all my 16 years of life. Before you dismiss this as just another teenager hating on her parents, hear me out, because it is far from that. Both of my parents moved to America from Lebanon, a small country in the Middle East, for those who are not aware. Both my sister and I were born and raised in America, and we take pride in our Lebanese heritage and our American nationality. But tonight, I was disgusted by the latter. I was out to dinner with my parents and we were speaking Arabic, as we always do when we are together. A Caucasian family came into the restaurant and was seated at the table besides ours. The family consisted of a mother, a father, and two girls (one of them looked to be around age 6, the other around 10.) As soon as they sat down the girls started to look at our table and whisper things to each other, then burst into fits of laughter. When either of their parents would ask them what was so funny, they would lean over the table, whisper something into their ear, and the parent would then too look over to our table and start laughing.

The first few times that this happened, I dismissed it as just a coincidence and I tried to enjoy my dinner in peace without allowing this to get to me. But after about the sixth or seventh time, I pointed it out to my parents, who were not paying attention to the situation. When they saw it play out, they would not allow me to say anything. I spent the rest of the time we were eating watching this family, who clearly had no limits or respect for anyone. The last straw was when I heard a racial slur come from one of the girls. I once again pointed out to my parents that this family clearly had a problem with our presence and the fact that we were speaking Arabic. Once again, my parents told me to ignore it and to let it go. When it came time to leave, we got up from the table and were starting to walk out when the father of the girls started clapping. He made it more than clear that he was pleased that we were leaving. And, yet again, my parents would not allow me to say anything, nor would they defend themselves. When we got to the car and I asked them why on Earth they just let that happen, they replied “Its fine, we are used to it. This is their country and we are just here.” I was furious.

This is our country as much as it is theirs. My parents earned their American citizenship and I was born and raised here. This is not the first time something like this has happened and I am honestly getting tired of it. We’ve been home for a while now but I still haven’t been able to shake this feeling of nauseating anger. The fact that two little girls could make me and my parents feel so small and that their parents sat and watched approvingly disgusts me. I am ashamed that people like me and my family, and people of plenty of other nationalities still have to go through situations as degrading and hurtful as these.

 

Tweets by Michele Norris