Teen Girl to Bullies: People Named ‘Isis’ Aren’t Terrorists

It seems some folks don’t know their Egyptian history very well.
Isis Brown, left, and an illustration of Isis, goddess of ancient Egypt. (Photo: Facebook; illustration: Courtesy SeM/UIG via Getty Images)
Jan 21, 2016· 2 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

“Last year at school I was called ‘terrorist.’ Same with this year.”

That’s just one of the heartbreaking statements made by seventh grader Isis Brown in a video she made about how she’s been bullied at school because of her name. But Isis has a message of hope for other people with her name: “Love your name. Cherish your name.”

RELATED: Why We’re All Responsible for Taking the Fight Against Bullying Up a Notch

According to the 14-year-old, who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, kids pick on her because they associate her name with ISIS, the acronym used in the media for the Islamic State. “I saw you on the news last night,” she says kids have said. “You were killing people,” she says in the clip, which was posted to the Facebook page of local news station KJRH on Jan. 8.

The teen’s video has been shared nearly 1,330 times and liked 1,045 times on the social media platform. Almost 300 people from around the world have also posted words of support, while other folks named Isis are sharing their own experiences with hateful comments and harassment. “I understand this girl’s pain, my middle name is Isis and I’ve been called a terrorist too,” commented a girl named Angelina Isis Ratterree.

As anyone who’s ever been through a class on world history—or watched a mummy movie—probably knows, the name comes from Isis, the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage, and wisdom. The Romans also worshipped the goddess extensively.

The bullying was so bad last year that Isis ended up switching to a new middle school. In an interview with KJRH, her mom, Doris Brown, said that Isis’ new school deals with the bullying more effectively. “They handle it much better than the other school she was at,” she said. “They are really supportive, the teachers are and the principal.” But in the video below, Isis explains that kids at her new school are still harassing her. She made the video because they began posting hateful comments on her Facebook page.

Isis Brown Sends a Message

The terror group ISIS is causing unexpected consequences for a Tulsa girl. 14-year-old Isis Brown has had the name far longer than any terror organization, but that doesn't matter to bullies who have made her a constant target.Today, she posted this video to send a message of hope for others dealing with the same problem. Please take a minute and watch her heartfelt video. HER FULL STORY HERE ----> http://bit.ly/1MYjdquKJRH DJ ISIS

Posted by Nathan Edwards KJRH on Friday, January 8, 2016

Despite the cruel comments, the teen has wise advice for her peers. “For all the people out there that are getting picked on with this name, don’t do what I did. Don’t start skipping classes because you’re scared to go because you’re scared of getting made fun of. Don’t just go hide somewhere and cry,” she says in her video. “No, you be the bigger person and show you’re not putting up with this anymore. That you can fight this battle, that you’re not going to let some wannabe bullies pick on you, because you have it in you.”

According to the most recent data on student harassment and abuse from the U.S. Department of Education, 22 percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported being bullied at school in 2013. About 14 percent said they were made fun of, called names, or insulted. Other research has found that every day, approximately 160,000 K–12 children in the United States do what Isis Brown did and start avoiding school because they’re afraid they’ll be called names or physically assaulted by their peers.

“If you have a name that’s hard and you get picked on because of it, keep your head up,” says Isis in the video. “Know that you’re special for your own self, and know that there’s something about you that’s unique.”