I did not want to mention her name in the title because it is not the individual we should be attacking but rather the culture that still believes that our current president is a Muslim; a culture that finds problems with there ever being a Muslim president.
The article below serves as a synecdoche of the Islamophobia prevalent in our country. When using a term like Islamophobia, it should be well understood that a certain type of willful ignorance is attached to it, because bigotry is founded on hatred rather than intellect.
This particular science teacher endorsed a certain candidate (to a group that can’t vote) and made a false representation of the president’s faith in a public classroom. For what reason? By highlighting this publicly, it shows the willful ignorance that an other wise “educated” individual would display in order to show their disdain towards a certain faith.
This particular anecdote is a microscopic view of the Islamophobic culture and its affect on members of our society.
Eighth grade science teacher Linda White is under fire for calling President Barack Obama Muslim.
According to Myisha Lewis-Reed, the mother of a student at Clinton Junior High School in Mississippi, White told her students that president should not be re-elected because he’s Muslim, WJTV reports. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, however, should be elected to office because he’s “a good Christian.”
While school officials agree with Lewis-Reed that White’s comments were not appropriate for the classroom, Superintendent Phil Burchfield did not provide comment to the station on how White will be disciplined.
Over the years, particularly during election season, educators have repeatedly sparked controversy for bringing politics into the classroom. In 2009, a video surfaced of students from a Burlington, N.J. “singing the praises of President Obama.” The song was reportedly part of a school project, and included lines like “Obama loves the little children,” touting the president’s “great plans” to “make this country’s economy No. 1 again.”
The principal reportedly received death threats as a result, and the state department of education launched an investigation into the incident.
In May, Spencer, N.C. teacher Tanya Dixon-Neely was placed on paid suspension after she was caught on tape telling a student that he could be arrested for saying negative things about the president. In the video that subsequently went viral on the Internet, the student says that Obama and Romney are “just men.” The North Rowan High School social studies teacher disagreed.
“Listen, let me tell you something, you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom,” Dixon Neely is heard saying. “Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush? Do you realize you are not supposed to slander the president?”
And just this month, Philadelphia high school sophomore Samantha Pawlucy made national headlines after geometry teacher Lynette Gaymon mocked the student for waring a Mitt Romney T-shirt. The geometry teacher at Charles Carroll High reportedly told the teen to take her shirt off because she’s in a “Democratic school,” adding that wearing the pro-Romney shirt is analogous to the teacher, who is black, wearing a KKK shirt.
The educator received death threats following the incident and has since apologized for her remarks, but Samantha and her siblings are still transferring from Carroll High. Romney also made a personal phone call to the family, but Samantha missed the gesture.