Skittles, Syrians, and the Shit That Really Scares Me

I don’t eat Skittles. I’m just not big on the whole candy thing. If I have sweet it’s usually in the chocolate ice cream category. You could put a whole bowl of Skittles in front of me and I wouldn’t have even one.

I am, however, privileged to live in a place with a refugee resettlement program. That’s right. I called it a privilege. It is. It’s an honor, in some small way, to live somewhere where we have open hearts and open arms.

This morning I helped a young student find the building he was looking for at school. He asked me for directions. I hope he found what he needed. I would have happily walked him two buildings over but I was sneaking out of class to blow my nose. Do I need to tell you where he was from? He sure didn’t look like a Skittle. He looked like a lost student. I know how it feels to be the lost student. There’s nothing scary about a lost college freshman. What’s scary is to be the lost freshman (or transferring non-trad….)

Nope. I’m not scared to have hundreds of Syrians moving to my town, going to my school, my children’s school, the grocery store, the library, the neighborhood park.

What I’m scared of is the men I’ve been close to. Or might someday be close to.

It’s easy to dismiss this fear as the irrational traumatic reaction of a survivor.

But the statistics match my fear. Refugees won’t hurt me. Men I have been or might be involved with might. Thousands of women are murdered by their husband/boyfriend/partner every year. If you’re worried about the safety of women and children do something about the culture of toxic masculinity that encourages men to murder women when their fragile feelings are hurt.

I’ve mentioned this before. I know a thing or two about fleeing home with a gun at my back. It’s not fun. It’s not something I’d ever wish on anyone. Luckily I had somewhere to go, I had a brother who opened the door and let me in.

So I feel pretty strongly about opening the borders and letting people in. I can only imagine running from the terror and violence and having no where to go. It’s terrible enough when you do have somewhere to go.

We have nothing to fear and everything to gain from accepting as many refugees as we can. (Ya know, the USA could absorb the entire population of Syria without it even being a significant demographic shift.) We would gain loyal citizens. We would gain international good-will. We would gain the moral high-ground in a conflict of ideology. We’d have a chance to redeem ourselves from our shameful hypocrisy. We’d gain friends.

I will, any day, any time, any place, place my bet on taking in refugees.

What I don’t have any time or place for in my life is men who are so weak they have to hurt women or start wars or build walls to feel some kind of control. These scare the shit out of me. I’ve known too many of them. I’ve seen what they do to people. They kill people. They make women and children into refugees.

It’s pretty much flat bullshit to claim that fleeing terror makes one a terrorist. It’s the same idiot logic that claims that being abused makes one an abuser.

Isn’t it funny that the same people who tell me “not all men” are the ones telling us that if three Skittles are bad in a bag you shouldn’t even open the bag?

And the analogy about Skittles is intended to dehumanize the human beings who need help the most. It fits right in with the pornographication of abused women and children. It’s a way of turning hurting human beings into objects to devour.

I don’t eat Skittles. And I’m not drinking the orange KoolAid of hate and suspicion. Refugees welcome here. And I’ll be honored to provide directions for anyone looking for the Humanities Building.



About m

My ego wants to think I'm a writer but my heart knows I'm just another one of God's Kids who sometimes has words to say. 2 human kids and 3 feline kids call me Mom. Or Mooooooom. Or mewom, depending which you ask. My most recent completed endeavor was finishing BA's in Religious Studies and American Studies. I don't remember what free time is but I think I like to spend it sleeping or playing in the mud on a river bank.
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