So being a south Asian it’s not surprising that I get a lot of presentations during this month.

But really, what do you say to a teacher who tells you that they prepared for your visit by watching Disney’s Alladin???


Whose opening song, Arabian Nights, originally contained the verse:

Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
Where the caravan camels roam
Where they cut off your ear
If they don’t like your face
It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home

And you know what’s weird?

They released it with those lyrics, and then when Arab Americans complained, they pulled out the alternative verse THEY’D ALREADY PREPARED!!!

This is the alternative verse by the way:

Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
Where the caravan camels roam
Where it’s flat and immense
And the heat is intense
It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home

Funny how they still couldn’t get away from the ‘barbaric’ word. I really don’t think it’s any improvement.

Disney knew they’d get flack for the original lyrics, they knew they was racist, but they wanted to see just what they could get away with.

So a few days ago I went to a school and really what do you say to a teacher who gets the kids to watch that garbage to prepare the students for Persian and Arabian Folktales?


You don’t say anything, because you know that they mean well.

But for the record, a lot of people don’t realize just how RACIST Disney really is towards Arabs and Muslims!

And not just Disney, really many of the Hollywood establishment.

Arnold Schwarzneggar in True Lies.

And of course all the Steven Spielberg racist stuff in the Indiana Jones movies. A Jewish director, being racist towards Arabs in the first Indiana Jones movie and then Indians in the second one. And yet if Muslims say anything about Jews we’re called anti-Semetic!

And don’t get me started on Adam Sandler! Like that scene in Click with the Arab guy who wants him to design some plaza or something.

Will Muslim literature EVER be mainstream?

Is this a pipe dream?

I did my Dajan Tigh folktale and my folktale about the Clever Wife, both Muslim romantic stories, and one of the kids asks why I did romantic stories? So I blurted out because I like them and because people think that Muslims don’t have romantic stories!

So I did my presentations and I had a wonderful time as usual, but somehow, coming home, I felt really depressed.

There was no reason for me to feel depressed. It had been a good day.

But I don’t know, sometimes it feels like the work to change minds is like a HUGE mountain that’s impossible to climb.

I mean these are the NICE teachers I’m dealing with! That teacher was absolutely nice and well intentioned! That’s exactly why it’s so depressing!

These are the teachers who are TRYING!


You wanna know the other funny thing?

On the way there I had some pretty interesting encounters.

I had bought some brilliant violet and royal blue material a little while ago and I got two salwar kameez suits made of it.

I LOVE violet! That really beautiful deep blue purple!!!

I’ve been WAITING for it to come back in style! And finally I found some, so I bought the suit, like I said, and I got it tailored.

Then I went to the Hijab Fashion store to get a matching hijab.

I think the lady who owns the shop is a real gem! An honest businesswoman!

One of the few Muslim businesses where they absolutely don’t sell bootlegged dvd’s and cassettes and books! So I always try to give her business.

Plus, her service is the best! I told her I was trying to match this beautiful violet suit and she dug into a hijab stand, at the back and pulled out the PERFECT match!

Oh it was gorgeous!

And I’d bought this purple rhinestone brooch from Italy that I’d never worn because I had nothing that matched it, and Lo and behold, this whole thing matched!

I must say that I looked very nice, masha Allah!


The reaction from people at the service station when I went to gas up! The clerk, a white guy, who would NEVER chat me up that much, actually has an exchange with me! Oh not flirtatious!!! Of course not! Just platonic friendly!

And also this other white guy, an older gentleman, says hi, when I’m cleaning my windshield with the squeegee.

I thought maybe it’s something in me that’s eliciting this response. Maybe because I’m happy with the clothes it’s projecting something. 

And yet later, when I stopped into this restaurant to ask directions–a diner really–looked like it was out of the sixties! Full of white people, the mood  was definitely NOT friendly!

It had those little round stools at the counter, and a menu written on a white board in marker with ingredients with a LOT of bacon and ham.

The head waitress gave me such a look when I came in, standing there, frozen for a second, with her pot of coffee in her hand.

Sure brought me down to earth.

And yup, it’s depressing. Because something tells me those folks in the restaurant are the majority.

At least they didn’t refuse to serve me, so thank goodness for some progress.