ok guys i need your help just read this and give me your feedback! i wrote it lol
ok here it is guys! my Focus speech that i have to read aloud in front of the whole schoool!!
Who am I? This question is one that many of us seem to face everyday, and we all tend to have a hard time finding an appropriate answer to it. Obviously, I am Anais, but I know I am more than this beautiful name. I’m searching for what defines me as a person. Technically according to the US Census I am “white”. But do I really think of myself as “white”? Now I ask you. What do you define me as, by only seeing my in front of this podium for a few seconds. I’m just assuming the usual guesses, such as Mexican, Indian, Hawaiian, Philipino, or even African-American. These are the many racial profiling my family and I receive.
I define my self as a Palestinian. Arab. Muslim, born and raised in America. I may not fit your idea of a Palestinian. You probably think of a bearded stone throwing terrorist. Or a rag head in the dessert kicking sand. These generalisations and stereotypes are full of ignorance. But who can blame these people for thinking this. The media has done a great job of painting Arabs and Muslims as bad people with the intention of brain washing the people to buy into the propaganda. There are many more misconceptions about Muslims and Arabs. Although Islam isn’t a huge part of my life I still proudly identify to be a Muslim. I’m not going to lie and smile and say I feel accepted for who I am and my religion, but I am going to be honest and tell you I am proud to be who I am.
The hardest part of being an Arab American is bringing the two so diverse cultures together into one that fits into my life. The Arab culture has so many beautiful things about it, such as the food and traditions of the people. The American lifestyle I lead has been molded to fit into my Arab lifestyle. I’ve taken these two cultures and put them into a melting pot, attempting to blend them together. Our household is a perfect mish-mosh of these two completely different backgrounds. One moment you could hear traditional Palestinian Dabke music playing, or you could hear
A$AP Rocky blasting. One night we could have mansaf, the next night we could have pizza. These two cultures are what have shaped me into the person I am today.
My family is the typical Arab American family. Tons of kids and two parents. I have an older sister named Maysa. She is 17 and she will be off to college this upcoming school year. Maysa has influenced me so much as a young growing Arab. I used to be ashamed of my olive skin tone and my dark brown curly hair. I would ask my self why aren’t I like all the other kids at school? Straight hair and light skinned. I used to dread my almond shaped eyes and full face. She taught me to be proud to be in my own skin because that’s the way Allah made me. As I spent hours straightening my hair she would unplug it and tell me why are you trying to be something you’re not. Your curly hair defines you. You need to show them that its ok to be different. So Maysa I thank you for that.
My older brother, Ahmed, is 15. It’s always been the typical older brother younger sister kind of thing between the two of us, still tons of bickering and arguing. My brother Ahmed is very strong and I admire him. He would be made fun of for his name and his skin tone in middle school. Ahmed is a hard name to pronounce so people call him Akkmad. He has gotten used to this but he never once took any of the disrespect he got. Many kids would call him Akkmad “the dead terrorist” from the Jeff Dunham show comedy clip. I admire him because of the way he handled it. He was responsible and respectful about it to the other kids. My brother Ahmed has taught me to be proud of my beautiful name. Anais.
Nasim, some of you know him as Naz, is my younger brother. I know there isn’t much you could learn from a little 11 year old but Nasim is different. He has taught me to humble myself and be generous to others. He always puts others before him, he is so selfless. That is one thing I am trying to do. I think that it’s so great to have a source of selflessness at such a young age. Our family also has a huge love for soccer. Until about 4th grade my two brothers were the only two who played soccer in my family. My younger brother was the one who talked me into the sport, and now I am just as obsessed about it as he is!
Last but not least is Jenin. Let’s just say Jenin and I have our times. She is the last child of the five of us. Although she is only 10 years old I’ve been strengthened by her. A the young age of three she lost the privileged the rest of my siblings and I had growing up. My mother had to go back to work. She didn’t spend much time with our mom. A lot of the time my father played mommy and daddy. But Jenin is strong, and she has the heart of a giant. I always joke around and say mom, why couldn’t you have stopped at 3 kids? But as we have gotten older I’m grateful to have a full house all the time.
Now as I start to talk about more serious things, I ask you to keep an open mind and clear you’re head of all the things the media has painted for you. Being a Muslim Arab in post 9-11 times was hard for my family. The one most tragic things that has happened to my family and I was about 5. I remember my mother going to answer the phone and being told, “go back where you came from.” As I saw the facial expression on her face I couldn’t help but cry. The tears were running down both of our faces. These calls didn’t stop. My mother was so startled she called the police for a report of harassment. The police then tracked the phone number and my father refused to press charges, he did insist on an apology though.
It’s sad to say that even at PDS, a place that prides itself on diversity, there is still a lack of acceptance. But in light of this predicament I have learned how to be stronger and not give into stereotypes but instead to disprove them. So now I ask you again, who am I? So no we don’t drive camels, and I’m not Osama’s granddaughter. I’m Anais. And I’m still trying to figure out exactly where I fit in.