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September 11, 2014
Thirteen Years Later: A Personal Reflection on Being Arab-American Post 9/11
by Nureen Khadr ('16)
Thirteen years ago today began like any other day for me as a second-grader, just as it was a normal school or work day for the rest of the United States. My mom dropped me off telling me she would be picking me up from my friend, Yasmeen’s house that night, because it was her sixth birthday. I was staying out on a school night and to my seven-year-old self, that was one of the most exciting things that could happen. But within a couple hours, my classroom phone was ringing off the hook and suddenly one of those calls was for me and Ameera, another best friend of mine. We were pulled out of class under the pretense that we were celebrating Yasmeen’s birthday early. We were distracted by movies and games, and kept away from cable television. Our innocence regarding what had happened that morning was preserved by our parents until late that night.
That night came unsettling warnings from our parents on why our color and faith might garner some ignorant reaction from our classmates in the coming days and that we were to ignore them. Not only did I have to understand at the mere age of seven that being “brown” and Muslim meant I was a minority, it was the first time I forced to realize that my “American-ness” was subject to the questioning and whim of others that deemed themselves more American.