Donald Trump: My Son Hears You

The other day, my son brought up a conversation he had had with this friends about presidential candidate, Donald Trump. He told me his friends at school said that Trump was racist. I thought it was interesting that kids his age were talking about politics and that they knew that Trump had publicly made bigoted comments about various ethnicities and religions. We discussed Trump in a very matter-of-fact way and moved on with the day.

This past week, as soon as he got in the car he asked me if Trump hated Muslims. I genuinely had no way of understanding how to navigate the conversation in any formidable direction, so I just swerved around it and changed the subject. Before I could even start a new topic he proceeded to tell me a boy at school said to him verbatim, “Trump hates all Muslims and wants to get rid of them, I thought I’d just give you a heads up.”

My instinctive reaction was “That is not true.” Yet how could I say that to my son when the reality was that Trump as well as other presidential candidates had been making remarks similar to this about Muslims and other races. I started wondering why this boy had even bothered to make such a dramatic comment to my son. Was he influenced by his own parents? Was he threatened by my son who is a Muslim or was he genuinely concerned about his safety? I wanted to continue the discussion with my son on this very sensitive topic, but decided that it was best if my husband and I did it together. After he finished his homework in the evening we sat him down and had a long discussion.

His first comment was that he was scared. He said he felt like this could really happen because it happened with the Japanese in World War II.  I felt broken inside that these thoughts were occupying his curious, growing mind and consuming his innocent little heart.

My husband and I told him that if in fact Trump had made these comments that nothing would ever happen to us as Muslims. We told him how both of us were raised as Muslims in tiny towns where we were the only minority in the entire grade or school. We reminded him that he should be very proud to be an American and that this country has all different types of people. It was important for us to let him know that both my husband and I were friends with a wide variety of people regardless of their race or religion. While the conversation continued I wondered what other parents taught their kids at home.

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I wondered if they were telling their children about the importance of respecting other religions and races. Then I realized that I could only teach my own son and would hope that he would have the confidence to stand up for his rich cultural background and religion instead of feeling targeted or outcast by a comment. As a relatively new mother, I admit, I was not prepared for a conversation in which I would have to ease my child’s anxiety about his religion or race. I knew at some point raising my children as Muslim Americans’ they would hear bigoted comments because the reality is they are embedded with every nightly news story in virtually every home.

My hope is that parents will continue to teach their children to be tolerant of all cultures and ethnicities regardless of media propaganda. The biggest influence our children have is us. Whether or not I agree with a belief or a certain lifestyle, I will always teach my children to respect all of humanity. Thankfully, the school has been very supportive towards the diverse student population. The counselor immediately addressed the importance of respecting other religions. He told the class to ask questions if they are curious instead of making hurtful comments.

As parents of first and second generation Americans, it is important that we continue to advocate for our own diversity. This entails visiting the school to teach the children about our special holidays and occasions. Sometimes comments made by other students do not come from a malicious place, but rather from a lack of education. That is why it is imperative to keep channels of communication open with the school.

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13 Responses

  1. Kai says:

    Kids may be kids. But it will always be hard to explain things to them, no matter how old or how educated one is. Their curiosity and drive are just amazing. They want to understand things. They want to be part of the world. Parents should understand this young minds. I am glad that you have an amazing parenting skills. May all the parents in the world take time to realize that what they feed the young minds will eventually be part of the bigger society one day.

  2. Foz says:

    Donald Trump! Wish we didn’t have to waste our breath on him!

    It can be difficult explaining to young children but you did it well

  3. Zainab Dokrat says:

    Great post. I do agree children are very impressionable and know what is going on. It is best to be open and honest with them.

  4. amina says:

    Masha Allah, parents must not shy away from such conversations. And it should come from a place of openness infused with Islamic morals – so the children can learn to think through gradually with clear guidance as their compass insha Allah.

  5. Myda Tahir says:

    JazakAllah Amina,
    this is a problem with most of the muslim parents living abroad, may Allah keep us all Safe and flourish.
    Eat Healthy Stay Healthy 🙂

    Myda Tahir
    mydatahir2025@gmail.com
    http://ummeummah.blogspot.com/

  6. Umm Asiya says:

    Mashaa aallaah, hard conversations to have but important to have with young children.

    http://www.themuslimahguide.com

  7. hena says:

    very true! agree 100 percent on this!

  8. Ruku says:

    I had a similar conversation with my 10 year old. It’s always best to tell them things first, or clarify doubts, so they don’t get misinformed.

  9. Ashfa Salam says:

    A very good post! Sharing 🙂

  10. Papatia says:

    Aww, this is touching and at the same time a wake up for all of us. Thank you for bringing your family experience to light ! xx

  11. Aishah says:

    Great post mash’Allah

  12. Zara says:

    I agree..parents should teach their children to be tolerant of all cultures and ethnicities regardless of the media propaganda these days..

  13. Irum says:

    Excellent written on parenting. And practical good advice as well. Thanks sis 🙂

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