Many and many a year ago, in my inaugural semester of that baneful rite of passage we more commonly refer to as “high school,” I attended La Plata High, the local public system of teenage indoctrination in the tiny, 8,700-person eponymous town in Southern Maryland.
The only time in recent years La Plata (I regret to inform any curious readers that, no, in spite of the name, this is not El Dorado’s sterling Mason–Dixon sister) has been featured in the national media was for an April 2002 F4 tornado that ravaged the town, destroyed many residents’ homes, and killed four people.
Well, this small town, the community in which I spent (some might say wasted, perhaps correctly) five formative years of my youth, has now re-entered the spotlight, this time for even more dismal reasons: white terrorism.
Raw Story picked up a story from small, local newspaper The Gazette titled “Parent banned from La Plata HS after Islam homework dispute.”
The article explains that a racist, anti-Muslim bigot (and former Marine) “threatened to disrupt the school environment” (read: engage in terrorism) if the school even acknowledged the existence of Islam in world history class.
You know, the second-largest religion, with 1.6 billion adherents; you know, the one that inspired civilizations that flourished for 1,000 years, creating modern science and mathematics, while the Christian West was in its “Dark Ages.” If you mention the existence of that religion in your world history class, this white Christian terrorist is threatening a “sh*tstorm.”
The extremist veteran (or is it “veteran extremist”?), Kevin Wood, went on record:
I told [my daughter] straight up ‘you could take that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white [expletive].
If [students] can’t practice Christianity in school, they should not be allowed to practice Islam in school.
By “practice Islam,” Wood means “acknowledge the existence of Islam in a world history class.” But, hey, I guess details are only for Islamist extremists, right? (“The Devil is in the detail” begins to make so much more sense when one takes into consideration the Weltanschauung of white Christian extremists.)
Wood claimed mentioning the existence of Islam in world history class violated his daughter’s “constitutional rights”—presumably referring to her “constitutional right” to ignorance, as guaranteed in article [redacted] of the Constitution of the United States. (Fortunately for bigots like Wood, after my—admittedly rather cursory—review of the US Constitution, it appears as though acknowledgement of the existence of “the Other” is not enshrined in this most holy of unholy documents.)
If his daughter’s world history teacher committed the most grievous of sins and uttered the name of one of world history‘s most influential religions (I’m now afraid of saying, of even writing, it myself), Wood declared he would “bring a sh*tstorm down on them like they’ve never seen.”
Addendum: I might herein also add that the history teacher O’Malley-Simpson’s quoted insistence that, “In the Middle East, Islam is the only religion” is so flagrantly incorrect I could hardly believe a history teacher uttered such an absurd statement. For one, Judaism and Christianity were born in the Middle East, and both are certainly still practiced there—not to mention Zoroastrianism, Yazidism, etc. The Middle East is an incredibly rich and diverse region of the world, culturally and religiously; it is not the ethnoreligious monolith Western racists and Orientalists want us to conceive of it as (it’s much easier to dehumanize, bomb, and rob the natural resources of peoples you have collapsed into an unvariegated blob).