I went to the mall, and a little girl called me a terrorist.
My name is Ela. I am seventeen years old. I am not Muslim, but my friend told me about her friend being discriminated against for wearing a hijab. So I decided to see the discrimination firsthand to get a better understanding of what Muslim women go through.
My friend and I pinned scarves around our heads, and then we went to the mall. Normally, vendors try to get us to buy things and ask us to sample a snack. Clerks usually ask us if we need help, tell us about sales, and smile at us. Not today. People, including vendors, clerks, and other shoppers, wouldn’t look at us. They didn’t talk to us. They acted like we didn’t exist. They didn’t want to be caught staring at us, so they didn’t look at all.
And then, in one store, a girl (who looked about four years old) asked her mom if my friend and I were terrorists. She wasn’t trying to be mean or anything. I don’t even think she could have grasped the idea of prejudice. However, her mother’s response is one I can never forgive or forget. The mother hushed her child, glared at me, and then took her daughter by the hand and led her out of the store.
All that because I put a scarf on my head. Just like that, a mother taught her little girl that being Muslim was evil. It didn’t matter that I was a nice person. All that mattered was that I looked different. That little girl may grow up and teach her children the same thing.
This experiment gave me a huge wakeup call. It lasted for only a few hours, so I can’t even begin to imagine how much prejudice Muslim girls go through every day. It reminded me of something that many people know but rarely remember: the women in hijabs are people, just like all those women out there who aren’t Muslim.
People of Tumblr, please help me spread this message. Treat Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, Taoists, etc., exactly the way you want to be treated, regardless of what they’re wearing or not wearing, no exceptions. Reblog this. Tell your friends. I don’t know that the world will ever totally wipe out prejudice, but we can try, one blog at a time.
coming up next on white people solve racism
muslim women dont need your white saviour attitude, you might now finally realise what it’s like to be excluded from society because of a piece of garment but you’re never going to experience it in the way we do.
she literally worded this so well and so honestly and tried so hard not to be rude, she just tried to understand what you go through. she’s not trying to be a saviour, she’s trying to raise awareness. she never said she’d solve anything or experience it like you do. stop doing exactly what other people do to you and shut down someones ideas just because of their color or religion or anything. this is a valid and completely pure hearted thing.
It’s funny how people act like white people are the biggest douchebags, and then act like total asshats themselves, huh?
She did this to get a GLIMPSE into the shit Muslim women are put through. She never claimed total understanding; in fact she said that she “can’t even begin to imagine how much prejudice Muslim girls go through every day.” She ADMITTED that she doesn’t know everything these women go through, and yet she’s STILL attacked? I cannot fathom why it’s deemed “okay” to be prejudiced against white people, even when we try to understand what it is people of other ethnicities/skin tones/nationalities/religions/etc go through. If you want, we can stop trying to understand and let everyone wallow in their self-pity.
I think the reason people are angry, and “attacked” (tone policing, it’s a thing) her is because this has been done so many times before. It’s actually got a name; it’s called hijab tourism.
Perhaps people feel frustrated because there are non-Muslim people out there getting all manner of accolades for donning hijab for a short period of time, whereas actual Muslim women face discrimination every day, without any sort of compliment on how empathetic they are being, without being called “pure-hearted.” Does that make sense?
If you check out the website I posted, you’ll see that one of these young women received a book deal.
In a way, this reminds me of the author of Black Like Me, who added paint (or something, idk and idc) to his face in order to appear like a black American so he could tell everyone what it’s like to be black. How revolutionary, right? I bet he didn’t make a dime from the publication of that book.
You know who’s black? You know who could give you insight into the black experience if you asked? Motherfucking black people, that’s who.
Do you see my line of reasoning here? And if I were one of those (presumably) Muslim girls up there who said something, who probably know of multiple cases of this particular brand of tomfoolery, I’d probably get more than a little angry, and maybe my response would be quite a bit vicious. Oh well. None of us are getting book deals for our own experiences anyway.
If you are able to empathize with OP, but not with the completely valid reasons some POC would be upset with that sort of thing, please do a little bit of soul searching. It’s not really hard to see the injustice, the blatant unfairness of it all.
OP (if you’re reading) I understand that you feel like you came into this with the purest of intentions, and I can see that you are very idealistic and cute and stuff, but maybe you should have done a little more research into this thing first.
And another thing, to the last commenter: FYI, It’s not deemed “okay” to be prejudiced against white people any more than it’s deemed okay to be prejudiced against black people, Latin@s, Asians, Arabs, and native peoples.
I’m a black woman. I see prejudice against black women on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, hell google results that should have nothing to do with that sort of thing almost every day. And then I get off of the computer and go out into the real world and I’m dealing with the same kind of shit.
And then, when I get (rightfully) angry or upset about it, I’m called overemotional, an Angry Black Woman, or [insert insult here]. But yeah. Blame us. And you totally deserve a cookie for trying to understand. It’s not, like, a standard of human decency or anything.
I agree with OP’s “experiment”, and I think what she did was ok.
But I thank you for being calm and respectful in your tone when trying to give us your point of view, and I see how some people could be hurt by it. Oh, and thanks for the links.
Unfortunately… you can’t please everyone, and SOME people need a white person’s input on the situation in order to become enlightened to the situation.
However, I see more and more people (online and in my life) reading and understanding the struggles of actual victims of racism. And hopefully it continues in this direction- the more close-minded people will be enlightened enough to teach their children understanding, so we can be blind to who is behind the veil (metaphorically).
I purposefully did not state my race or gender.