4th Grade in the Age of Trump

My daughter asks if I was ever teased as a child.

Yes.

She tells me she was teased for the way she talks, her pronunciation. And for her basketball skills.

I tell her that during the Iran Hostage Crisis, boys at school yelled at me. Because they thought I was different. Because of my last name. Because my family spoke a different language. Because they thought I was Iranian.

That’s mean, she says.

Yes.

I tell her how I was teased for looking like a boy, asked if I was a boy or a girl. I explain it was the ’70s, no hair product and so my curly hair was kept super short.

Some of the boys at your school have long hair, I say, and I can’t always tell if they’re a boy or a girl from far away.

Eh, she says, they can choose their gender.

How lucky she is to grow up during a time of acceptance.

How terrifying that she is growing up in the time of the Muslim Ban. Of the Wall. Of Trump.

When the Land of the Free bars entry to people based on their religion.

I remember how I felt when those boys taunted me in the school yard. I imagine how immigrants feel now, here in their new homeland.

My heart is heavy.