Thank you Mr. Fox

Mr. Fox, a school aide, sent me an email regarding my column.  He wrote:
“Arnav,
I read your editorial this morning with great interest and great sadness.  I would like to offer a little historical perspective that comes after living more than six decades.
I was born in 1951 and grew up witnessing the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  “Negroes” (who were often called much worse names) were treated as second class citizens in many areas of the country, both legally and illegally.  It took a long time to overcome the laws of the time.  Through the efforts of countless black and white people alike, laws and prejudices were slowly changed.

But unfortunately, prejudices are not limited to skin color.  Along with racial prejudices, there have been cultural and religious prejudices throughout history, in America as well as in many other countries – different Muslim sects warring with each other in the Middle East, Catholics and Protestants fighting one another in Ireland, Israelis and Palestinians feuding over the West Bank, etc.  The list goes on and on, ad nauseam.

Fortunately, we live in a country that is vastly more tolerant of racial, religious, and cultural differences than most other places in the world.  Yet, we still experience events like the one you mentioned in Texas.  I would venture to say that a lot of the misunderstanding that exists toward any culture and  faith and background stems from the actions of a very small percentage of extremists.
Thankfully, we are part of the Mason High School community that is even more tolerant than other places within our own country,  probably because we are culturally diverse and relatively well educated.  But we are far from perfect here, and it is morally and ethically imperative that we continually do what we can to overcome the fears and ignorance that lead to prejudice.
Finally, change comes slowly.  In my lifetime, I’ve seen a country come so far, but with a long way still to go.
Thank you for speaking out.  Don’t give up.  And please, do not ever lose hope.
Mr. Fox”
Mr. Fox,
Thank you so much for your eye opening advise. I am sorry for the injustices that you witnessed during those tying times. It is a pity to see human beings treat each other in such a manner.
As a Boy Scout, and an Eagle Scout, I have learned to always stand up for what I believe and to be brave in doing so. I was just doing that by writing my column. We as humans often witness injustices but are afraid to speak up against them. But it is the utter silence that infuriates the situation rather than silencing it. We often blame many for the actions of a few.  But as you said, we are so fortunate to live in a diverse community that is welcoming of everyone’s cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Nevertheless, we are not perfect. Even in Mason people are ignorant of others culture and prejudice spawns from this. But, this doesn’t give us the right to give up.
Thank you so much Mr. Fox for your endearing words. I admire and appreciate your unwavering support both for me and the Chronicle.
Arnav
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Racial supremacy posions melting pot

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When 14-year-old and Muslim student Ahmed Mohamed went to school, he didn’t come home by bus.

Instead he was arrested by authorities. As Mohamed eagerly presented a homemade clock to his teacher, her reaction was far from anything Mohamed expected. Thinking that it was a bomb, she immediately notified school officials who proceeded to call authorities. He was then escorted out in handcuffs.

After authorities had established that the hoax bomb was indeed a clock, Mohammed was suspended.

The racial profiling of Mohamed wasn’t a rare occurrence. Time and time again, we let race become a factor on how we treat others. As a nation filled with diversity, it is our duty to pave the way for cultural tolerance and awareness. In America, diversity is not a weakness but a strength.

America is a land of immigration, a melting pot, a painted mosaic.  Our cultural differences ought to be valued and should be used it as a strength to unite, not as a weakness to divide. But when Mohamed was arrested, it didn’t represent these ideals. It only upheld racial supremacy.

Even after over 50 years, history still repeats itself.

On August 24, 1963 Emmett Till entered

a convenience store. He bought some bubblegum and when he walked out he said, “Bye, baby,” to the cashier.

Ryan Bryant, the cashier’s husband, and his brother-in-law, went to Till’s house a few days after. And they did the same thing what most white men living in Mississippi in 1963 would do. They dragged Till out, forced him to get in the car with him, and drove him to the banks of the Tallahatchie River. They then mutilated his body by gouging out his eyes, beating him with a barbwire fan, and shooting him.

After they had mangled him to their heart’s content, they threw him in the river to clean up their act.

Three days later authorities found his body, and the corpse could only be identified by the initialed ring on his hand. After convening for less than an hour, the jury miraculously issued the verdict, “Not guilty.”

In August 28, 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington, he said, “One day I hope that my four little children will not be judged for the color of their skin but for the content of their character.”

But even after 50 years later, what are we judging a person on: by the color of their skin or by the content of their character?

Tennis team overcomes tough loss, individuals advance to state

Arnav Damodhar | Staff Writer

After earning a 18-0 record, the Mason girl’s tennis team was undefeated until it really counted: the state qualifying match. But despite this loss, four girls are still competing for the State Championship title, something their team wasn’t able to earn this year.

According to junior Lizzy Kong, the girls had a fantastic opportunity to compete at the State Tournament as a team, but the severe mental pressure hindered her from performing well.

“We all know that excuses will always be there for us,” Kong said. “Opportunity won’t. And this year we had a very strong opportunity to go to state. I knew we could beat Sycamore, I knew we were expected to go to state, I knew I was expected to win, but when the match was 2-2 and it all came down to me, I ended it (lost the match).”

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Lizzy Kong serving the ball in a scrimmage against her teammates. Photo by Staff Writer Blake Nissen.

Prior to the match, according to junior Sneha Kandi, the girls had a fantastic season. They beat some of the best teams in the state and won the Greater Miami Championship title, Kandi said.

“I think this has been one of the best seasons that the girls’ tennis team has even had,” Kandi said. “We won the Coaches Classic, the GMC’s, and we even had an undefeated season.”

The top doubles team for Mason during regular season consisted of Kandi and junior Isabel Cepeda while the top players were Kong and Amanda Huser who came back this season from being homeschooled the previous year to focus on tennis. When the team lost in the state qualifying match, Huser and Kong created the second doubles team to compete individually at the Sectional and District Tournaments. According to Kandi, even after their loss, the girls are still powering through.

“We did really well in sectionals considering that Lizzy Kong and Amanda Huser won the entire tournament and Isabel Cepeda and I were seeded fourth,” Kandi said. “We performed really well at districts. Lizzy and Amanda were District Champions. Isabel and I seeded third. We just hope to do well at state. ”

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Isabel Cepeda performing her serve in practice before districts. Photo by Blake Nissen.

After winning districts, both the doubles teams qualified for state on October 15. According to Cepeda the loss made them learn a lesson; it made the girls realize that just because Mason is the best, doesn’t mean they can’t be stopped.

“Our loss against Sycamore has definitely made the team stronger because it humbled us,” Cepeda said. “Before that match, I guess most of us assumed we were going to win since we’ve beat them twice before. After losing that match we all learned that just because we’re the number one team in the state doesn’t mean we’re unstoppable.”

According to Kong, the girls have recovered from their bitter loss against Sycamore and their minds are set clearer than ever on state.

“I am confident that we will do very well representing our district during state,” Kong said.“Hopefully we will at least make the final four at state. Of course everyone there is looking to win it; we hope to come out on top. After our heart wrenching loss that caused us to fall short of going to team state, we are ever so determined to win individually. Because now, while that loss was painful, it will not drag us down. Better starts now. Better starts now.”