Monday, March 23, 2009

This Is What You Do In Honors English - An Essay

The Most Pure Realization

A To Kill A Mockingbird Essay

As children, we are selfish. We know only ourselves: who we are, what we want, how we feel. It takes years of hard lessons learned for us to begin to realize that life does not center around us, that it centers around all of us; that other people live out there, people who also exist selfishly and know only themselves, people who will soon begin to learn what we learned: that empathy reaps insight, empathy gives us an awareness of others which we could not have possessed before. Unfortunately, our role models are often remiss in teaching us the lesson of empathy, evading the true message in the morals they so often attempt to impart upon us. In gliding over that message, they do not provide us with the one piece of information we most desperately need: that one must empathize to understand others; that one must empathize to understand life. But Harper Lee doesn't glide. In her only novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout, a six-year-old girl and the narrator of the story, goes through dynamic changes around the time of a pivotal trial in Maycomb, Alabama, 1945. In this trial, Scout's father, Atticus, defends an obviously innocent black man to the best of his abilities, though ultimately his efforts come to no avail. But despite the critical nature of this event, Scout's biggest moral transformation lay outside courtroom doors.

Before the time of the trial, Scout knew only the most intriguing rumors about an unseen character called Boo, who, according to town gossip, “dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch.” Besides his cruel eating habits, he stabbed his father in the leg, his eyes popped, he usually drooled, and “what teeth he had were yellow and rotten”, making Boo a malevolent phantom through the eyes of a young girl (Lee 19). Lee develops Boo's character sporadically throughout the story without allowing the reader to see the real Boo. Then, in the end of the book, Scout finally meets Boo after he saves her life and that of her brother's, and she discovers that Boo, underneath his translucent skin and emaciated body, lives his life as a desperately misunderstood and truly gentle man. When she walks him to his porch, she turns to go home and finds that she has “never seen our neighborhood from this angle”. In that moment, she has an epiphany. She experiences a surge of empathy for Boo Radley, and becomes changed into jaded but forever enlightened individual. Scout will grow to become a mature, thoughtful, insightful woman because of that day, that experience, that empathy.

Langston Hughes understands the importance of empathy as well. Hughes wrote the story “Thank You, Ma'am” in which a struggling teenage boy, Roger, attempts to steal the purse of a woman, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, who, as he quickly learns, can more than take care of herself and her purse. After his attempted robbery, she takes Roger by his neck to her home, makes him wash his face, feeds him well, and finally hands him the money he had wanted so desperately in the beginning. She says that she has done bad things in her youth as well, things which she “would not tell you, son [Roger] – neither tell God, if He didn't already know” (Hughes), so she understands what it means to live like Roger: poor, afraid, and alone. She turns him loose with more than a full stomach and a clean face; she gives him a lesson in empathy he would never forget. She teaches him how to care that day when she could have shown him pain, could have turned him in and left him to defend for himself as he had always done. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones changed one boy's life forever by identifying with him, understanding him, and loving him, and he, like Scout, grew irreversibly from it.

Like the experiences of Scout and Roger, there exists, ingrained in my life, a memory by which I have been forever changed. Unlike the experiences of Scout and Roger, however, it lives on as one of my most negative experiences. During my childhood, my mother married her second husband, a sarcastic, reclusive man who caused the memory which has remained for so long, the memory of what began as a simple time-out for some minor act of defiance. As I stood in the designated time-out corner, I slowly realized that I had to go to the bathroom. Badly. I called out to my stepfather and told him. He informed me that he would not allow me to go to the bathroom, I was in time-out. He left and my need to go increased, prompting me to plead with him to let me go to the bathroom. His answer did not change, and I eventually wet myself on the kitchenette tile, completely humiliated. Furious, he yelled at me and ordered me to clean up the mess with my pajama dress, though I wore it still. I obeyed, sobbing and shaking and recoiling at the scent as he stood over my shoulder reprovingly until I had finished. I returned to the corner, ashamed and violated. Later, when my mother had returned home, I told her everything, expecting sympathy. She denied everything, and would continue to do so until they divorced many years later. Through this experience, I saw, at a young age, how people behave when they refuse to take the feelings of others into consideration. They act horribly and despicably. I will not forgive him for what happened, and I will never forget what happened. I will always remember what I learned; I will always remember empathy.

I have grown from many things. I have grown from reading To Kill A Mockingbird and “Thank You, Ma'am” and from living through hardships that show me the worst sides of the people I like to pretend I understand. I have grown from knowing numerous adults who radiate selfishness, who try to hide how entirely judgmental they have become, and who ultimately do not deserve admiration or respect because they do not earn it. They have not grown; they have not truly come of age. They have never attempted to grasp what it means to put themselves in the shoes of others. But I have. I have worked to better myself constantly from learning the lessons of kindness, caring, and sympathy. I look up to Harper Lee and Langston Hughes because they have truly come of age, they have honestly matured. They exemplify the kind of adults children need. They have explained what their morals mean in the real world, and have even written their own handbooks on compassion. Lee and Hughes have done all of this because because they recognize, as do I, one of the most essential parts of life: empathy. Together we have reached the most pure realization. One must empathize to understand others; one must empathize to understand life.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Good Word, Indignant: An Interview of Barb Chamberlain

Note to the reader: I am in bold, my mother is in regular font. The following exchange took place at Rocket Bakery on 14th. Great place. Also, the seemingly random numbers I say are the then-current word count (which will come up in conversation later) and are no longer accurate, but I have left them as they are to respect journalistic truth and all that (jazz). Enjoy.

How do you see yourself?

“How do I see myself? Professional. Um, [a] trifle compulsive about volunteering. Reasonably healthy. Happy. Ehm.. having leadership qualities…”, she said, giving me a look as I stared blankly at her. “Smart. 'Ts'bout it. I could say incredibly flawed, if that’s what you want. I see the flaws also. I see the flaws – too,” said Mom, playing with her words, probably thinking I had found the first version of that sentence unacceptable. I kept up my serene facial facade with some effort. “Always interested in new things.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

“Mmmm, depends on whether this coffee shop has closed by then. Write that down!” she yelled jokingly at me when I didn't let myself crack a smile. “56 years old, still alive, possibly mayor. Possiblyyyy author-slash-speaker. Married and happy. You would be 24, Kate would be 28, so I might've had the first wedding in the family. I kinda hope not… did you want more?”

Just tell me when you’re done.
“That’s it.”

Favorite weather happening some find annoying (wind, rain, super-hot sun, snow, hail, etc.)?
“Wind. I love windy days,” she said quickly.

Best word ever:

She thought more intently about this than the previous life-changing questions (well, besides the last one; but, hey, that could be important for a.. weather.. forecaster...) before answering, “I’m torn. Mellifluous, for the sound. Abstemious, because it’s one of the, I think, two words in the English language that has all of the vowels in the English language in order. Not counting 'Y'. I can’t think of the other one,” she said, trying to remember a word. This was fine by me. Moving on:

Crazy dream of yours you wish would happen but don’t expect to:

“Being able to fly,” she answered almost at once. “The downside of that is that my flying dreams always involve being chased by bad guys, and I don’t want that part.” She paused to hold open the door for a rained-on worker girl carrying dishes (which must have been slippery by then. The dishes, I mean). 
“[I] Just did an Eric.” She said this expecting a response. She was sorely disappointed. “You know it absolutely fascinates me that I MADE you?” She does this sometimes.
“And now here you are, a whole separate person… it’s pretty amazing.” Her timing was impeccably unfortunate; the question I was about to ask pertained to that very subject. Well, it would pertain to her children if she picked up on my hint. Read on. 

Best two moments of your life [hint-hint-cough-cough]?

She snorts loudly before answering, “Well, I’m not going to say childbirth… it hurts. A LOT. [The best two moments were] After that. Right after that. And I held my baby in my arms.. even though you’re the one I had without any drugs,” she said. This comes as absolutely no surprise, mind you. I have been told this. I have been told this many, many times.

Damn right.

“And, you weighed 2 pounds more than your sister at birth.”

Damn right.

We plug in her laptop when it shuts down before she continued. “It really was amazing to have you,” she said fondly as I start to apply lipgloss. She stares at the tube hungrily. “Now you’re making my lips dry.” She reaches into her bag.

Your computer just decided to tell me that it has low battery (NOTE: this is not misplaced, I was making fun of it because it had already shut down).

“Oh, yes. You can tell it, 'I know'. It’s right on top of the situation as usual.”

Favorite trash can design?

“Ornamental? I kindof like black wrought iron. Downtown has some neat designs. And I like them to have recycling as part of it.”

Type in a man? Or a boy, if that’s your thing.

“Oh, oh, no,” she said to my joke about pedophilia. Ha, ha, rape. “Like you, I enjoy the attractiveness,” she said in reference to something I had said in my interview with her (to be found on her blog,
“Reliable. Funny… smart… fit… sweet… able to say, 'I love you.' Daily. Multiple times.”

Does Eric do that (NOTE: there wasn't skepticism in my voice, but I was certainly feeling critical; I hear “you know that I love you?” probably 5 times a day from her to him. Usually he pretty much nods or grunts.)?

“Yes. [He says that] Lots. Bonus points for being able to make hashbrowns. Haha, I love those eyebrows. I love that look,” she said to me as I look up at her through my eyebrows. “Seriously, a good cook! That’s sexy! Someone who gives lots of hugs.” Pause. 
“Did you include the line, 'I shot her a glare from under my lowered brows…. And then gave her a blank stare?,'” she asked in a deep, narrator-like voice, finally causing my face to crack as I laughed, hard. She continued, “'...but I couldn’t keep up my stoic mask, and giggled. Unlike my sister, I couldn’t keep it up.' Uh, not an alcoholic,” she continued, suddenly deciding to be back on task. “Not a substance asbuser --”

– Hold your horses! They’re galloping away from me!

-- not addictive.” She paused for me while I finished typing. “You could be a court stenographer. They have a special machine. I don’t know how it works. They don’t have as many keys as a normal computer,” she said, drifting into a lovely babble about court stenographers. I didn't want to stop her, so I wrote this commentary instead of the rest of her speech on the (cough) fascinating machines used by – you guessed it! – court stenographers.
“Anyway,” she continued, “You should do something more… interesting.” Pause. “Also on the man thing--” she said, cut off when I widened my eyes and held up one finger threateningly, for she was speaking too quickly, and I was not re-accustomed to typing what she was actually saying after breaking momentarily to replace her speech with my witty commentary. This was enough to halt her. 
“– So, also on the man thing? Someone whooo can respect that I have my life, and my interests, and that I want to share interests, but I’m not willing to give up my own life and just wrap around his.”

Anyone in particular to whom this is directed?

“My sweet husband,” she said with a defensive tone. She added, “who meets all my criteria!” for effect.

I mean the wrapping comment.

“Ooh. No, really mankind in general.” After this, I stopped her and looked all over her screen for the word count. Finally, I saw it right at the bottom toolbar and made a face.


“What are you feeling silly about just finding out?”

I found word count.

She nodded. “Do you want me to comment some more about the whole man-wrapping thing?

Up to you.

“I think… there are men who say they admire strong women, but when it comes right down to it, they’d prefer she be not quite as strong as they are. ‘Ts'bout it. Trying to be succinct.

763 words. 765. 766. 77. 78. 69-hee-hee-hee (NOTE: Yes, I somehow went from 766 to 777 and 778, then back down to the 60s to 769. Also I giggled at the number 69. So sue me!).

Oh, let’s see… number one goal in life?

“Oh, I dunno.”


“No,” she said, looking thoroughly disturbed. “change the world? For the better. Specifically. Make a difference.”

Okay, Miss America.

“Write that down. I dunno, that takes different forms...”

Are you gonna do this to me, Mom? Are you gonna make me do this (NOTE: I was talking about having to type so quickly)?

“You made fun of my answer!,” she said indignantly. I explain gently that the Miss America comment was about her on-the-spot life goal, and that my “lame” comment was a joke. I explained more about “lame”:

Oh, I just figure you should know [your life goal] because you’re so old [I didn't 
actually mean that , I meant so learned] and wizened.

“I am not wizened!,” she said, indignant again. “Which I pronounce wee-zend,” she added. I pronounce it wize-end. Oh well... tomayto, tomahto, potayto, potahto.
Here, she decided to narrate her actions for me, saying,  “‘She holds herself upright… in indignation…’” I told you she was indignant. Didn't I tell you that?
Good word, indignant.

I’m still writing what I said!

She waits for me. I catch up.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Caved: 25 (+1) Things You Never Wanted To Know About LChamberlain.

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.


1. I am currently humming "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid.

2. I drew a
kindof spiderweb on my left arm today. It's smallish and I need to make the lines in it go past the edge of the web, I just realized that.

Also maybe there should be some spiders?

3. I can not, contrary to popular belief, do everything a spider can. Seriously.

4. Molly
Rupp just showed me a dancing panda emoticon on MSN Messenger she thinks is cute.

It kinda freaked me out and will probably be in my nightmares tonight.

5. I like Alicia Keys.

6. I'm very torn about what I want to do for my career, but I want to have one career goal: one ambition, one passion I follow to make a comfortable amount of money. It will probably have to involve words and people. Words and people make me happy.

I think.

7. "Somehow,
Iiiiiiii'll make a maaaaan out of youuuu!"

That is if,
y'know, you want me to.

Mulan reference.


8. I always wonder how people think of 25 things about themselves in these things.

Soooo... there's one!

9. I don't think I'm pretty.

10. One time my ex-stepsister [then stepsister] dared me to eat a caterpillar [I wasn't a vegetarian then] for a dollar and I did. Turns out she was joking.

I never got my dollar.

11. I've studied facial and body expressions some and I watch people carefully to see what they're really thinking. Sometimes it's hilarious.

Sometimes it's not.

12. I've sung the national anthem at basketball games (
Hoopfest, college games, etc.) with my sister. I haven't for quite a while, though.

13. I talk in my sleep. One time in a
motorhome I told my sister, "NO! THE MONKEYS ARE STEALING MY COOKIE!"

Or something along those lines...

14. My cat is really cute. Her name's Pepper. I used to have a different cat named Pepper, but when my dad moved (to about an hour north of Seattle), he left my baby with a guy without asking me what I thought because she "just isn't a travel cat." 

Whatever, he would've killed her anyway.

15. A bazillion cats have run away from my dad's house (that's an approximate approximation). Every single one he owned died/ran away/was eaten by a dog - except Pepper.

16. I really, really like oriental
ramen (but specifically the Top Ramen brand; other brands have animal fat and stuff.

17. Speaking of, when I was 6
ish (not quite sure. 6 or 7..?), I asked my mom what meat was made of; it has a different name and all that; she told me, and I soon decided to become a vegetarian. Have been ever since.

18. It used to be that when I went to my Grandma Maxine/Aunt Denise's house [they live together. Don't ask...], my grandma would ask my sister [also a vegetarian after myself + then my mom] and I if we were still in that "vegetarian phase".

Uh, yeah? :)

Half-of-my-life-long phase, yes. :D

18. I'm not sure if my self-esteem is abnormally low or just teenage girl low.

19. I really, really like a certain type of
popsicle. It's red and yellowish-orangeish swirled and reallyyyy nummy. Also it comes in a pack of 12! The more popsicles the merrier.

20. I love water. I love to swim. [I love to swim in water.] I love to swim in lakes. I love how early in the morning at my lake cabin before the water has been disturbed it looks like gorgeous glass. I love jumping into the water when it's in that state. I am disappointed when it's not pretty anymore after I jump in.

21. I feel like since a couple of my best friends consider writing one of their "things", it shouldn't be one of mine.

22. I like pie.

23. I play piano in my spare time and teach myself classical songs out of a book.

24. I'm really, really, really excited for Sims 3. :D


25. When I get extremely tired/sleepy, I get....


Well, let's just say my inhibitions go for a little walk. Also, my brain goes haywire.

For example, I will randomly say things like "CHEESECAKE ELEPHANT SHOELACE" to people when I'm a certain amount of tiredness/sleepiness or more. It's a really good time to ask me the truth about something. That is, if you're ready to hear it; I sugarcoat things all. the. time. I
verrrrrry rarely say something as bluntly as I'm thinking it. If I'm thinking, "Wow. Bitch," I'm saying, "Hahaha, no problem," and smiling happily, even though a lot of the time --

+26. I'm not.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Seven And A Half Years Lay Broken On The Floor.

This blog post has been a long time coming. I've had so many ideas in my head, so many thoughts in my brain, yet I have not taken the time to stop and type them for you. Well, to be realistic, for me. I'm stopping myself to take the time to write for myself in this moment. I need for this to be said.

A couple weeks ago, I went to a school spirit competition ("Rubber Chicken") between my school, Lewis and Clark High School, and our rival high school, Ferris High School. It is a basketball game where students from both sides cheer on their team, and the school with the most spirit wins the ultimate prize: Chuck. Chuck is a rubber chicken honored by both schools. Sure, it may sound silly, but it's exciting as hell.

When I got home from the Rubber Chicken, I went upstairs and removed my competition t-shirts. I went downstairs and washed a butt-load of dishes, then went back up to my room, and saw something on my floor. I looked down, and felt my jaw drop.

On my mint green carpeting lay a sprawled out seven and a half years of my life.

On my seventh birthday, I made an exchange with another girl who was in my summer activity kid group at a preschool. I traded her a stuffed snake for a clear choker necklace with black beads on it. The part I didn't tell anyone until many years later was that I had stolen the snake from my stepbrother's room.


I donned that choker June 27, 1999, not having the slightest idea of what it would become over the years.

I never took it off.

It was with me for everything. Through the stage in my life when I did not want to turn eight, my obsession with cows, the beginning of my teenage life, and all the daily struggles I faced over years and years of life. Of MY life. After a short time, I no longer felt it on my neck, and it became a "given" that I would wear my black choker necklace. I defended it through everything. And it stayed with me. That is, until a few weeks ago.

Honestly, I'm surprised it lasted that long. It really wasn't supposed to. Especially with what I put it through through; my younger days were spent gaining bruises and scratches to show off to my father and to my friends.

And there it finally lay, seven and a half years of my life, its clear, interweaving strands barely showing on my carpet, its black beads sticking out as if floating, and the spot where it had broken looking almost burned, though in actuality a spot that got irritated, and eventually gave up and split apart.

I am thankful that it waited for a good time to break. It didn't snap at Rubber Chicken, where I surely would have lost it; it didn't snap during school, where someone else may have found it and thrown like it was nothing, because it looks like nothing. It didn't fall in a gutter or bury itself in the bark on a playground.

I'm thankful that it was there for me so many years; even though I didn't think about it often, it was a taken-for-granted comfort. It represented my past and secured my future.

But most of all, I am thankful that it never changed. Its beads have been worn, dulled, and beaten, and its size has stretched to fit my slowly growing neck; but it was a sturdy rock in my life, a security blanket of sorts, though not nearly as hindering as a physical blanket. It never stopped me from doing the things I loved. Never.

In trying to decipher any message I can take from this, I have become utterly and honestly confused. I DON'T know what this represents. I'd like to think that it represents a new beginning, and new age, a new me.

But it's probably just an old, broken necklace.

So, no, I don't know what it means. I don't know how I'm supposed to react, I'm not sure what to do with the remains. I can't decide who to tell, when enough is enough and it's time to move on; how to explain what the choker means to me.

What I know for sure is that I was absolutely devastaded when I walked into my room and found that seven and a half years of my life lay broken on the floor.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Flawless In Their Own Flawed Way

To anyone else, my desk would look fairly plain. Its forest-green surface is scratched and marred from years of loving abuse. I used to think it was ugly. Old, battered, and ugly. But now I see that it is something else entirely. It is beautiful. Utterly, purely, unrelentingly beautiful. Its shining, golden knobs stand out from their dark surroundings like bright, white stars in an otherwise clear night sky; both things awesome in their own way.

To anyone else, my desk would look like a simple area for schoolwork or for a laptop to safely rest in lieu of being swallowed by the bed across from it (which is much too likely for my mother's peace of mind). It holds a pencil sharpener, translucent and red, pleading to be used, begging to be filled; a large scarlet lamp with pointed beads, red mixed with a clear nothingness that together make a pretty light red - a color you might see on the horizon during a beautiful dawn. They are used as tassels, some of them melted from who-knows-what, but most of them simple plastic icicles, flawless in their own flawed way. They remind me of tiny, reddish people: pointed to ward off intruders; multifaceted, but plastic nonetheless; each one similar, and yet each one unique. The select few that stand out look different, and the eye is easily drawn to them. But who is to say that they are better or worse than their plain-looking comrades? Who is to say that they are more beautiful or more marred than most? Who is to say that they are more special than the others, or just the same with altered packaging?

Not me, that's for sure.

The lamp's base, I suppose, was meant to be black. Or is it dark brown? Its curves, its cuts, its layers are marked with dust as old as the last deep clean this lamp lived to see, and a multitude of scratches as old as the lamp itself. Appearing from the dusty base is a thin, brown cord running in confusing patterns to an old, cream-colored power cord too jumbled to describe. A cord is a truly under-appreciated piece of hardware. It provides the necessary power to the objects on which we most often depend.

The only other object on my desk is a small stick of chap stick that provides me with my repetitive re-applications, which have become an oddly comforting habit.

(And besides, they make my lips soft and supple!)

Well, the only other object besides you. You, my unknowing but unrelentingly willing audience.

You, a once-empty piece of paper, now covered by my ever-changing cursive (if it could be classified as anything, it would probably be cursive).

You, the most perfect listener, the most accepting partner. You, who has always been there for me, through crushes and rants, doodles and daydreams. You, a gorgeous piece of college-ruled, spiral-bound notebook paper. You.

To anyone else, my desk would look like an old, dark green desk with a small red pencil sharpener; a large, scarlet lamp with dangling plastic beads, some melted from who-knows-what; a small stick of chap stick that boasts a creamy almost swirl flavor; and a notebook, open to a page filled to its brim with the mismatched words of a tired girl.

But to me, my desk is peace. To me, my desk is happiness; it is freedom and it is acceptance.

To me, my desk is home.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


So, instead of sleeping, I have ended up looking through my folders, finding old files. I just found one that contained a few computer-diary entries (crazy flashbacks, maaan!) and two documents, titled "Understand" and "Words". Pretty vague as far as titles go, but I like playing with titles. Guess I always have. These were written July 21st of 2008. I wanted to share them with you; whoever you are. There are a few minor wording edits in Understand, but Words and most of Understand remain unchanged.

Understand is just a general musing piece. I wanted to write something. Words is a poem (mind, you I am not a poet. If you're looking for a professional, well-crafted poem, sorry; look elsewhere). It was an interesting one to write, because it is, ironically enough, about itself.

Sucky part: since Word is an absolute poop-face, I had to screen-shot the files and record me saying them on my computer, then slowly but surely type them here.

What poop-facery.


Life is seeking to understand. Wanting, needing to be able to appreciate the good and abhor the bad, because one understands good and bad, and recognizes them when they exist in such a way as to be seen by one. There is an innate curiosity in each of us that feeds on information, that thrives on detail and knowledge. And when that hunger is satisfied, it is thirsty for understanding. And it is an amazing, almost indescribable, feeling, the moment something clicks; when suddenly, everything clouding your mind and your emotions clears. The fog in your head drifts, moved quickly away by the powerful essence of understanding.

The human race has put itself in the disgusting trouble it is in by rarely seeking to understand. It just wants to know things. Most humans do not conjure thoughts deeper than that basic knowledge often enough for them to need to have their fog cleared, or rather, to clear it themselves; to be mentally fulfilled. They are content simply with knowing what they must know to survive, or to improve their lives in nothing but a shallow manner.

But I am not content with only that. I seek to understand that which I currently do not, and to understand more deeply that which I think I do. I love, crave, need to understand.

I understand.

I am alive.


Tumbling, falling, and hurried

Worried, alone, and afraid

They trip over my thoughts

And press through my brain

They race through my mind

To my heart, through my veins

They spread to my fingers

And flow quickly out

Relinquished at last

I am free

There's no doubt

Friday, January 2, 2009

What. The. *cough* Freak.




Summary, in case you're lazy like me: a tax attorney and his brother, an anesthesiologist, were removed from a flight in Washington before it took off because a passenger reported overhearing a "suspicious conversation" that the two and their family had (which was about the safest place to sit on a plane in case of emergency). Um, so, that sounds kinda silly, right? Like, really, really, stupid-silly??

Yeah. It does.

But this might help to explain it: they're Muslim.

I am, understandably, pissed. If a caucasian man and his brother and family were talking about the safest place to sit on the plane, would they have been reported? Would they, then, have been interviewed by the FBI, cleared of any suspicion, and still be refused to get on a flight, even WITH the FBI vouching for them? (After the event was more publicized and had escalated to a greater media extent, AirTran, the airline, made an official apology. After.) 

I think not.

I wish racism and chivalry would switch friggin' places.