It is in Trump’s America that a seven-year-old Muslim boy can be bullied and bruised

Published: October 13, 2016

Last Friday in North Carolina, a seven-year-old child was bullied and harassed by his classmates for being a Muslim and a Pakistani.

I still have a hard time believing it. I say this to myself every time I see Donald Trump on television as a presidential candidate.

My disbelief doubled and tripled as I watched the recent presidential debate. During one of the debates, on the issue of ‘Black Lives Matter’, Donald Trump completely subverted the issue of racism and turned it into an issue of ‘law and order’. As if that wasn’t enough, his infamous tapes of proudly harassing women have surfaced.

“This guy? Seriously, America? You want to make this guy your president?” I say that to myself every time.

Ironically, he wants to throw all immigrants out and make America great again. But the real question is – what will be left of America if the immigrants are gone?

Last Friday in North Carolina, a seven-year-old child was bullied and harassed by his classmates for being a Muslim and a Pakistani. He was physically abused and suffered from a strained arm. The family had been harassed by their neighbours too; they had been called ‘terrorists’. Dr Zeeshanul Hasan Usmani came to America as a Fulbright Scholar. He works at a data software company in Silicon Valley – he claims his son is ‘as American as you can get’.

Bullying is not new to America, or to the world. It’s a big, big problem in America’s educational institutions – hundreds of thousands of parents are choosing their children to stay at home. Movies, books, articles, discussions are under way as to how to stop this bullying behaviour at schools.

Is it self-esteem? Miss Norbury from the film Mean Girls claimed otherwise,

“They seem pretty pleased with themselves”, she said, while referring to the bullying in high school.

So clearly they have the Donald Trump syndrome: they think their entitlement gives them the right to treat anyone who they don’t like as poorly as they please. I’d call it psychopathic narcissism. And the GOP has justified that it has it by making Trump its presidential candidate.

If a child is fat or gay or Muslim or just different, in Donald Trump’s America, it is enough cause for bullying. In a post 9/11 world where there is already enough onslaught on regular, peace-loving Muslims for being ‘terrorists’ and African Americans are already suffering from police brutality, where people like Brock Turner walk free just after three months in jail after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman – America cannot possibly elect or even vote for someone like Trump who hates immigrants, who hates African-Americans and who is a straight out misogynist.

I grew up in the 90s. In the era of Home Alone movies. I grew up watching American sitcoms making fun of Donald Trump. I grew up listening to people talk about him as one of those obscenely wealthy over-privileged, over-entitled people. He was a cliché.

I also grew up thinking of America as a land of opportunity, thinking that it’s a merit-based society where you could be whoever you want to be without fearing oppression or discrimination. As I grew older, I read about the history of America, how it came to be. I read about the early settlers, how it was mostly an immigrant society where men from all over the world came to find greener pastures and started living in America in the hope of finding a better future for their children.

In 2008, they made the first African American president. In 2016, they may make the first female president. But if they elect Donald Trump, they’ll make a 90s joke their president.


Mahwash Badar

The author is a clinical psychologist, a mum to two boys and permanently in a state of flux. She tweets @mahwashajaz_ (

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