On removing hijab

From Crypto-Muslim (aka Muslim Hedonist): How I again became (fully) white

I was once again fully white. I blended into white, middle class society at work, at the mall, in the street. No one stared. No one asked me “where I am from” any more (or, upon hearing that I am from Canada, wanted to know “where I am from originally”). No one tried to guess my ethnic origins. No one asked if I speak English, or commented on my (nonexistent) accent. No stranger on the bus demanded that I explain why Islamic divorce laws are unfair to women, or why I am dressed this way. No one told me to go back to where I came from.

White privilege. It’s real, so real. I felt sick.

In hijab, I was always made to see myself through non-Muslim eyes. White eyes. I had to represent. And I had to be careful about what image I was projecting. If people already assume that you probably aren’t too bright, you have to always compensate. You can’t take respect or acceptance for granted.

Yet now, nobody salaams me in the street. I see a sister in hijab sometimes, and automatically open my mouth to give salaams—and then stop myself. She will wonder why I’m doing that, just as I used to wonder on the rare occasions that an apparently non-Muslim person would salaam me. That feeling of community when you get a salaam from a stranger will never be mine again.

Read the whole thing (via Feministing’s Weekly Feminist Reader)



Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, relationships, religion, social justice

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