By Siya Chhabra (’24)
One should never be fooled by what they see on the outside, as within, there often lies a contrastive story. Beyond doubt, it is general human nature, and congenitally straightforward to glance at a person and form judgements about their present, past, and even their future. Yet, what many do not realize, is that unprecedented assumptions break the relationships some form with themselves and others. In her TED Talk, “The Muslim on the airplane”, Amal Kassir, a Muslim-American advocate for equality within the confines of gender and religion, accentuates that she has been composing poetry for as long as she can remember; in the present, she continues sharing her multicultural-supporting spoken-word pieces for audiences worldwide.
For time immemorial, many have witnessed the fact that racial, ethnic divisions, and conventional images have most definitely existed within various mainstream cultures. Kassir questions whether it is even prospectively possible to solve such problems when all sides of conflict exist in trepidation. In order to cross an ethnological threshold that has been left untouched by individuals from all multitudes, Kassir states that it starts with something as simple as a four-word phrase. A locution often used, and one that will continue being utilized in perpetuity. “What is your name?” She believes that the greatest distance an individual can travel is by asking someone their real name, and making an attempt to journey this often ignored inception. Along with her radiative and vivacious personality, Kassir uses creative concoctions of common language to portray her intellect and wisdom about the importance of learning one’s “name.” By pronouncing the noteworthiness of not presuming and creating conjectures, she proposes the idea of moral judgement and reflection as to how words can influence actions. She believes that obtaining the courage to ask questions, and even then not assuming that you know the entire situation is commendable. Individual stories can under no circumstance be determined by those who choose to presume one’s names. Without the prevalence of assumptions, negative perspectives, and segregation, bona-fide relationships and equity can prevail, and the atmosphere can become impeccable. On that account, Amal Kassir provides optimism for all, that soon, alienation will disappear and demarcation lines will be erased, as people will live as if they know, or are willing to ask everyone’s real name.