I've had disturbing stories in my newsfeed, on the radio, on Twitter lately. About Muslim women being taunted and harassed in public places and no one standing up for them. Or standing up but not until after a lot of hate had been spewed.
It's heartbreaking. It's infuriating. It's disgraceful.
It's shouldn't be any surprise that I am one who is going to stand side by side with my Muslim sisters and brothers, just as I would with my Jewish or Mormon or Atheist or Humanist or Agnostic or Catholic or... you get the idea.
Today, I was doing my shopping at Target. I hadn't gotten enough sleep the night before. I'd had a very busy day. I was having some health stuff that was wearing me out. I was run down from my kids having difficult moments.
I didn't pay attention to the people around me.
I came down an aisle and there was a Muslim mom and her teen daughter. Talking about cookies. The teen was very joyful and chipper. A young white family came down the aisle - mom, dad, and an adorable little baby. The teen began to oooh and aaaah over how adorable the baby was.
The young mom smiled and laughed. The dad, wearing the baby, also smiled.
And everyone kept on walking and shopping.
I encountered these 2 in a few more aisles. The same thing kept happening. Normal interactions, smiles, shopping.
I head up front with my cart. The lane with the shortest line has a Muslim cashier. I step up to it. And so do several others - I'm not fast enough. Others beat me to the shortest line. The one being rung by the Muslim cashier. Which no one cared about - they just wanted their groceries rung up.
I noticed another employee in a head scarf. And I noticed no one else seemed to notice.
I encountered 4 Muslim women at Target. And I didn't encounter hate or ignorance.
Doesn't mean people weren't thinking dumb stuff. But it does give me hope that maybe my little community is the greater example... my little suburb might just be what's normal. Maybe not. But maybe if a simple Sunday afternoon in a grocery store in a basic little suburb can be any sort of example, maybe peace really is possible.
But somehow, those peaceful moments and examples somehow have to speak louder than the stories of hate. Somehow, those simple moments have to inspire people to stand up against hate when they do see it happen. Because my simple and peaceful and basic Sunday trip to the grocery store should be what anyone experiences in any everyday part of their lives. In a little city or big, in a rural area or urban, in a school or workplace.
Today, I went to the grocery store. And I encountered Muslims. And most likely Jews and Mormons. And Atheists. And moms and dads. And lesbians and straight people. And brown people and cream colored people. And women and men and children.
And they were all just people. As we all are.