I find that we live in a very interesting time; where everything is up for being challenged. We can all agree that we live in difficult times; where there are so many issues coming to the surface. I know that racism and police brutality are very prevalent especially in the lives of people of color and allies. I feel the unwanted attention my skin color and my hijab bring about; when I step into a store, the store manager (not even workers) feels the need to follow me around and ask if I will be buying anything. I have been accused of stealing because the person that stole “looked like” me and “wore that thing on their head”; unfortunately this has not been a one time occasion. I always ask myself, what it means for someone to look like me that I am forced to be held accountable for their actions. I have not stolen from any store because I believe that even when people cannot see me, my Lord is always watching me no matter how dark my surrounding may be. The only person I have ever met in my life who looks like me is…wait for it…my mama (and she would never steal either).
I understand and accept that I will always be at a disadvantage due to the color of my skin and my religious preferences, the majority of us think that it would be different amongst people of color but that is not always the case. People of color can be very racist and prematurely judgemental as well. When I was younger it was hard to do some of my favorite hobbies such as reading, hiking, and snow-shoeing because I was constantly told that it is not what “black” people do. To those people, I ask, “what don’t black people do, exactly?
Seek knowledge, be healthy, mentally, and physically, or be an individual?”
In my life, I have maintained core values that I try and live by: be a nice and good human being to everything in life. I want to be a good person; a good person is someone who respects people no matter how different they may be from them, who takes the time to try and make life easier on others, who tries to be an active listener (it is an ongoing process), who is sensitive to other people’s experiences while they are owning their own stories and experiences as well and using them to be more understanding, compassion and caring individuals for themselves and others.
I am a proud black, Muslim, educated, passionate, woman. I love my family, friends, and human family but I am not perfect either. The message I want to leave us all with is: there are no perfect humans, we all judge especially prematurely and see more negative in others than positive but I invite us all to challenge our subconscious negative thinking process and instead choose to see the best in people, it is a lot easier said than done (believe me, I know). We all deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and love regardless of our skin color and our religious beliefs.
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