Originally Published in The Washington Post
Opinion by Amani
We also see in this incident our worst fears: the possibility of our loved ones dying for saying the wrong thing in a misunderstood accent, or losing their lives over the money in their cash register or some other material possession.
My Arab immigrant family has run a self-owned business for years, which is how my parents were able to afford putting me and my two younger brothers through school. This sounds, in some respects, like an American Dream story. In reality, being an immigrant worker is often harrowing in a society that deems brown and Black bodies as disposable. For my family, it’s been especially frightening in the midst of a political climate that views Muslims, Arabs and other minorities as second-class citizens.
I was about 9 when my dad came home from work with a black eye. I remember screaming, struggling to recognize his bruised face. I was 19 when I saw an angry customer pick up an industrial trash can in our highway store and hurl it at my father. My brother was still a teenager, a few years later, when he saw a male customer try to attack our mom.
Anwar, 66, was killed March 23 while working as an Uber Eats delivery driver. A father of three and grandfather of four, he immigrated from Pakistan in 2014 “to build a better life,” according to his family. He was the main financial provider for his loved ones. Two girls, 13 and 15, have been charged with murder, armed robbery and other offenses over the horrific incident, which was captured in part on a bystander’s cellphone video. It is heartbreaking to hear Anwar yell, “This is my car!” — and not just because many immigrants know uncles or other relatives who also would try to fight a robbery. Where is the regard for the value of this hard-working man’s life as his body lay tossed facedown on the sidewalk?
A similar disregard for our lives was seen in a viral video last week of a man stomping on a 65-year-old Asian woman in New York while yelling that she doesn’t belong here.