On May 6, Los Osos High School senior Bayan Zehlif tweeted a somewhat troubling snapshot of her picture in the yearbook. There's absolutely no problem with the photo itself, but the yearbook staff got her name wrong, and not just in a minor mistake kind of way. The name under her picture is "Isis Phillips." And Zehlif believes that's because she's wearing a hijab in the picture.
A student member of the yearbook staff, Trevor Santellan, told the New York Daily News that Isis Phillips is actually the name of another eleventh grade student who transferred out of the Rancho Cucamona, CA school earlier in the year. He said "We have a campus of 3200 students. There are going to be imperfections (sic)," and he also noted that he thought Zehlif's reaction to the error was "out of proportion." He continued, "If anything, she's being racist against herself because she misinterpreted it and not us. Because we thought of it as a beautiful name that parents gave to a kid. She obviously didn't."
Pump the breaks for a second here. Can a person even be racist against themselves? Either way, Santellan thinks that Isis Phillips is a lovely name that anyone would happily have under their picture in the high school yearbook. What's the problem?
For Zehlif, the problem is that while the name Isis used to be associated primarily with the Egyptian goddess, for a lot of people it now calls to mind the terrorist group ISIS (an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Zehlif claims that there's no way calling her "Isis" wasn't a slight against her for wearing a hijab.
On Facebook, Zehlif wrote: "I am extremely saddened, disgusted, hurt and embarrassed that the Los Osos High School yearbook was able to get away with this. Apparently I am 'Isis' in the yearbook. The school reached out to me and had the audacity to say that this was a typo. I beg to differ, let's be real."
The yearbook staff and the school's principal have both tweeted apologies.
One possible solution would be just renaming everyone in the yearbook "Isis Phillips," since it's such a pretty name and no one should have a problem with being called that, even if it is maybe referring to a group of jihadists. Problem solved!