On Monday, October 9th, I boarded the Staten Island Ferry wearing a shirt that reads "We Will Not Be Silent" in English and Arabic. Immediately after boarding, my four armed Coast Guard officers positioned themselves around me and my friends. Every so often you see the Coast Guard patrolling the ferry, but I've never seen a bunch of them standing in one place before. I joked to my friends that this was a response to my shirt, but I didn't really believe that they would put so much security on me. As I got off the boat, I was stopped by a Coast Guard officer.To protest this latest, egregious violation of Federal Constitutional rights by the Federal Government, the movement protested Monday on the ferries. The second civil rights movement is beginning.Officer: You'd better not wear that shirt here anymore.This is one of many examples of anti-Arab racism that has become so prevalent in the US since September 11th, 2001. Now, it has come to the point when Arabic writing itself is under attack. We need to stand up to racist law enforcement officers to seek to silence and scare Arabs and Muslims from speaking out against the US and Israel's wars in the Middle East.
Me: Excuse me?
Officer: It's not safe to wear that shirt in high security places.
Me: What about my shirt makes it unsafe? What do you think it means?
Officer: Isn't that Arabic writing?
Me: Yes. Is there something wrong with Arabic writing?
Officer: Well, do you remember what happened with that guy on Jet Blue?
Me: Yes. I remember that. It was racial profiling.
Officer: Well, you're obviously not a threat, but someone else wearing that shirt...
Me: Are you saying that an Arab wearing a shirt in Arabic is a terrorist?
Officer: I'm just saying you'd better not wear that shirt here anymore.
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