Imagine walking back from class, minding your own business, when out of nowhere a group of people start throwing rocks at you. It's just after Sept. 11, and Americans are full of confused emotions, including much misdirected hatred for all Muslims.
You are not Muslim, but your skin is dark and the people throwing rocks believe the two are one in the same.
Bystanders do not help, and through their silence, they support what is being done. You run to your dorm room as quickly as possible, and on the way you realize that these people have decided they hate you even though you have never met them.