The Experienced of a Non-Muslim Who Dressed Up Like a Muslim

The Experienced of a Non-Muslim Who Dressed Up Like a Muslim

By Angela Valbuena

Today, I did an experiment. I went to school and dressed up like a Muslim.

I asked Arjel to stay a couple steps behind me as I wandered around the campus wearing a pink scarf around my head and a dark blue cardigan. I ate and stayed a long while in the canteen, waited in line for the elevator, climbed a few flights of stairs, and walked around the halls. Of course, all while keeping my head down and not talking to anyone.

What I observed was that some high school students have enough arrogance to laugh at a Muslim girl. Of course, they didn’t know I was was not authentic but they snickered and pointed at me anyway, “Uy, Muslim oh!”

The janitor who usually smiles and greets people while cleaning their tables did not even make eye contact with me, and took my empty plate quickly while keeping a small distance from me. Strange, but even he did not know I wasn’t the real deal.
Fellow college students whispered at each other whenever I came by. Some kept their eyes fixed on me while I passed them by the stairs. Thank goodness I didn’t bump into anyone I knew, or this experiment would have been for nothing. Maybe some friends saw me, maybe they didn’t. What mattered was how strangers reacted to my presence. That is the only point of the experiment.

One high school girl managed to approach me and ask, “Ate, may naka upo po ba dito?” and when I said no, she took the empty seat beside me. “Kunin ko po ah? Thank you po.” I don’t know if it was fear, or she was just naturally respectful. I eavesdropped on a conversation a while back and heard the word “terorista”.

With what transpired during the experiment, I conclude that if I were indeed Muslim, I would not gain much friends here in Manila, and with the Mamasapano issue still hot and about, the discrimination against the race is wilder than ever. I’m on neither side of the war and this experiment was only for personal reason. Sorry if I offended anyone but thank goodness no one inflicted violence on me earlier. Lol.

Really, we shouldn’t judge people by their race or for their race being involved in the biggest crime. We shouldn’t be talking ill of people we do not even know. I know, I can be racist at times as well, and now I experienced what it felt like to be culturally “different” from the rest. I’ve had my taste of being bullied in elementary and highschool for being weird and geeky (and once, because I was very bad at Tagalog) but this kind of discrimination is certainly different. My old schoolmates picked on me because they already knew what I was, and today some people did almost the same thing, only that they didn’t even know who I really was. It’s easy to judge people from how they look, now isn’t it?

Edit: While I was being looked at suspiciously and gossiped about for only a few hours, there are Muslim people out there who have been treated the same way, and far worse, for their whole lives. Technically, not just the Muslims. Filipinos, too. And the rest of the kinds of people. Discrimination and racism is everywhere and it’s inevitable. You’d be considered “different” and alien if you’re colored, white, or yellow. The problem is that we’ve been living in a world where one mistake from a person, a political figure or a celebrity, affects the entirety of his/her country to the point that even the whole world starts to care too much about it. We’ve been growing up with people who look and act very similar to us that when other people arrive, we’d judge them and consider them to be “different”. Our minds often refuse to welcome diversity and change, and we ignore the basic fact that we’re all just the same species: human beings. Don’t you think it’s time to change that? We’re not very different from each other. Some people just want peace and love. CULTURE, RACE, COLOR, OR EVEN THE VIOLENCE OF YOUR NATION SHOULD NOT DEFINE WHO YOU ARE AS AN INDIVIDUAL.

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