Letter: HB 2 shuts down important conversations

Published: 4/18/2021 9:00:07 AM

On April 7th, Rep. Daryl Abbas lent his support for a budget that includes language that would essentially shut down conversations about racism that our state and nation need to have, otherwise known as “propagation of divisive concepts.” This language was snuck into the budget without a hearing or committee. The sad part is Abbas decides to use his father’s heritage to legitimize something that will directly impact people like his father. As an Arab who can’t hide my identity, and who continues to face systemic racism, including still being checked at airports for bomb material, I’m aware of what research has proven: attacks and hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims increase around elections. Why? Because it’s structural racism that produces it.

We are often used by politicians to create a fear that they will save people from to get votes, See Trump’s “Muslim Ban” speech. This is no different than the murders of Asian women being tied to the former president’s use of words like “Kung flu” or “China virus” when speaking of COVID. Amendments like this would stop the government from engaging with these critical topics that effect residents like me. Issues our government is responsible for and has a moral obligation to address. I still have hope for a truly multiracial democracy, one where Black, brown, and white people can thrive. That can only happen if we can have the difficult conversations the majority of the people in our nation know we need to have.

Asma Elhuni

Lebanon




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