It has been interesting experiencing the election and post election reactions in Africa.
I was in Bamako, Mali eagerly anticipating the results. I constantly kept refreshing my computer screen and when the lights began to flicker I knew the electricity was about to give out. I decided it was time to give it a rest and I closed my laptop. Pulling the mosquito net across my bed I felt a world away, both physically and figuratively, from a place I often referred to as “home” when strangers would ask where I was from. It didn’t quite feel like home, rather a foreign place that didn’t want any part of me. None of me.
The following morning I woke up to the news that Trump had won. I sat at the breakfast table with my heart resting heavy in my chest as French TV blared and images of Trump and Clinton rotated on the screen. The rest of the world was equally invested in the U.S. presidential elections. For this, I was a little surprised but it further proved the point that U.S. foreign policy truly set the political tone for the rest of the world. This fact was undeniable.
I scrolled through my Facebook timeline searching for some sort of solace (also in an attempt to avoid talks of American politics at the table.) As I swiped through my timeline I came across countless stories of Muslim women being physically attacked, homes spray painted with vulgarities, nasty notes left on peoples cars and places of worship targeted with hate.
No surprise to me.
My Blackness has always been a threat. My gender has always been a point of contention. My faith has always roused a sense of fear.
I am a Black Muslim woman. The embodiment of everything that America hates.
So, when non-Black Muslims came out whining and crying about how awful a Trump presidency would be for Muslims I side-eyed them.
Side-eyed them reallllyyyy hard.
Some people went as far as saying that “Muslim is the New Black…”
My jaw dropped. Nothing will ever be the New Black. Muslim immigrants enjoy the benefits of being in this country. Living in good neighborhoods, having the financial ability to send their children to decent schools and a sense of community.
Since when did the existence of America ever become a good thing for Black folks?
America been good to y’all. So, please don’t complain to me. I am not the listening ear, especially when you try your best to distance yourself from anything remotely related to Blackness. But you like Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. They will forever be the homies.
I am the wrong person to whine too. Not today!
Then I thought to myself…
Should I have empathy? Perhaps a little understanding? I should feel something, right?
It is too hard to feel anything close to empathy. The same communities that look down on Black people and perpetuate the same anti-Black attitudes are now looking for support. Muslims that preach about Islam and its racial equities but fail to practice any of it are holding out a hand for understanding. Some would argue and say that this is now the time to build bridges of solidarity.
Sure, I get that…
I still take issue with certain Muslim communities that have to be convinced that #blacklivesmatter and who have absolutely forgotten about the mass injustices committed towards other groups of people in America. I’m not even bringing up indigenous Americans. This post would go on for days.
Injustice is still relevant, even if you aren’t the victim. This is America, remember anyone has the risk of being victimized if you aren’t the status quo.
As a Black Muslim woman, I have a deeper interest in building alliances with marginalized non-Muslim groups before I work with anti-Black Muslim communities. This is the honest truth.
Black Muslims already know the deal. Mainstream politics never favor our interests. I don’t know when Arab and South Asian Muslim fell for the facade that America actually loved them.
Don’t nobody love you.
Black Muslims know the hostility that this country has always brought forth and are the outright victims of its policies. Some of us convert to Islam thinking that religious salvation will rid us of the racism we endure. We are persecuted for both our Islam and Blackness. Black people are too familiar with this. All of this. For us Trump is just the embodiment of the true face America has always had. A face that our forefathers faced with impunity and a face that our grandparents and parents fought so hard against.
Though unwelcoming it is a face of familiarity and it has always existed. Many communities who emigrated to the U.S. still remain absolutely oblivious.
This country doesn’t want you just as much as it doesn’t want Black folks. Doesn’t matter if you come with an IT degree from India or a medical degree from Lebanon.
This is the everyday reality for Black people in America. Some Arab and South Asian Muslims want to assimilate into society so badly, to the point that they will ignore the injustices other groups are facing. At times, they will even perpetuate the same racist attitudes of mainstream America. Now those same injustices are only relevant only because they, themselves, are the victims. Like I mentioned earlier, injustice is still relevant even if you aren’t the victim.
At the mosque Omar is your brother in Islam until jummah prayer is over. Any other day you won’t even acknowledge his ‘salaam’.
Not so brotherly or sisterly in the real world.
Big Black Omar might save your Muslim ass now.