'I ask the question: What could he have done? What could a 10-year-old do to Homer to deserve to be called a 'f****** n*****?''
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 2, 2022. It has since been updated.
A North Texas father's calm and eloquent response to a Dillard's clerk who hurled a racial slur at his 10-year-old son is making round on social media. Muhammad Karim was shopping inside the upscale store located in the city's NorthPark Center shopping mall with his son and another adult when a white clerk allegedly called him the N-word. A video posted by an Instagram user named Aisha (who claimed to be Karim's cousin) shows the boy's father confronting the employee and explaining to him the long-lasting implications his actions would have on the child.
Over the past several days, video of a North Texas father calmly confronting a Dillard's clerk at Dallas' NorthPark Center has gone viral-- viewed more than a million times and counting. https://t.co/cY7JhBjp03— CBS DFW (@CBSDFW) July 30, 2022
"My 10-year-old son heard you call [him] a 'f****** n*****.' I want you to know this is unacceptable," Karim is heard telling the clerk—who said his name was Homer—in the video. "You shouldn't do that. You're too old... I carry myself with honor. I would never disrespect any human being by calling them outside of their name. You don't know the impact of what you've done on my son. But maybe you were unaware." Although the employee tried to justify his behavior by claiming to have uttered the racial slur upon hurting his knee, Karim didn't buy it.
"You don't go from hitting your foot to 'f****** n*****.' Life doesn't work that way. This is repetitive behavior," he told CBS News. "I ask the question: what could he have done? What could the 10-year-old do to Homer to deserve to be called a 'f****** n*****?'" Karim revealed that his family lives a quiet life in Johnson County running a small catering business and restaurant. Recounting the events leading up to the visuals captured on camera, he shared that he had asked Homer for directions to a dressing room. When he returned from the dressing room, Karim said he found his son in tears.
"A tear came out my baby's eye and he said, 'Dad, you didn't hear what that man just called me?'" he shared. When other witnesses confirmed what had happened, Karim remained calm despite seething with anger. What happened next is what we see in the now-viral video, where the dad calmly tells the clerk that he would never have so disrespected his family and that he is a man of "grace and honor." Karim admits that refusing to give in to the anger wasn't easy. He credits his faith for helping him maintain composure even under those circumstances. "The best decision at that moment," he said, "was to do what was right."
Not sure what that calm, cool, collected dude does for a living, but he should be negotiating hostage releases. That Homer should be negotiating a new job.— Mr. Newberger (@jeremynewberger) July 29, 2022
"The Prophet Muhammad says 'don't be angry. Don't be angry. Don't be angry,'" he said. "I'll be honest with you. I was angry. I was livid." Karim revealed that his son still feels traumatized by the experience. "I don't think Homer understands the impact of his words. My Honey [the family nickname for the child known for being so kind] is scared to come outside. He thinks that every white person is out to get him. How do you explain it?" he said. Karim added that he too is struggling to cope with the incident and its impact on his family. "I can't allow for my emotions to overshadow them in this particular time. So, I'm doing the best that I can to protect them," he said.
many things to unwrap here but I think 1 that stands out (besides his obvious grace) is that he warned Homer that the next time this happens he might not be so lucky, might have a much harder time getting out of this type of trouble. You never know what someone is going through.— Paul 🇺🇸 (@pbean25) July 29, 2022
Homer, who told Karim that he had worked at Dillard's for more than 20 years, is no longer employed at the store. "The allegations made against our former employee were promptly investigated, found to be in clear violation of our standards, and his employment with Dillard's was immediately terminated," Dillard's corporate office said in a statement.