Sunday, March 9, 2008

Word/Phrases/Sayings I dislike or am tired of hearing

"The race card"

Race is not a card. It is not a trump card and it is not something people of color can use to win. And what is it that we win? Though race is indeed a construct, it has real meaning in American society. It means that I have to deal with racism every single day of my life. I have to deal with the fact that there are people who think the color of my skin means that I am intellectually, emotionally, physically, morally, culturally and religiously inferior to them. Whether the racism is institutionalized, social, personal, or environmental it is real. Very real. It is not a card. It is not an excuse I can use every time I want to shirk responsibility or make White people feel uncomfortable or guilty.

"Just make du'a sister"

It's not that I dislike this phrase. It just seems to be a catchall, robotic phrase some Muslims use to avoid really thinking about a solution to someone's problem. For example, Sister Aisha is having a problem at work. Maybe she's facing discrimination, maybe she's being sexually harassed, or maybe she's being isolated because she wears hijab. She tells a group of sisters about her problem and they do not offer her any solutions beyond "make du'a sister." Yeah, we should always ask Allah for his assistance in matters. This is true. BUT sometimes when I'm seeking advice from someone I'd like to know that they have really reflected on my dilemma and can give me more advice than "just make du'a."


I don't care how much Black folks want to justify their use of the word it still is what it is. Historically, it is a word that has been used to demean and degrade Black people. Trying to "take the sting out of the word" by using it in every day conversation or as a term of endearment is just plain silly. Wake up people!

"Ethnic Food"
I feel like this phrase serves to place cuisine that hails from non-White, non-European cultures into one neat little category. Yet another way to make non-White people and their cultures perpetual "others." I've never heard it used to describe food from countries like Greece, Italy or France, only food coming from countries like India, Jamaica or Thailand. Isn't American food ethnic? Isn't Romanian food ethnic?

"I was born Muslim"
Alhamdulillah! I'm happy that some people had the opportunity to be born into a family that practices Islam. It's great. I'm just tired of people using this phrase to make themselves seem somehow better or "different" than those of us who converted to Islam. In the end, being born into Islam is meaningless. What's important is how you live your life on a regular basis. Do you adhere to the principles of Islam? Do strive to follow Allah's commands? Do you know what Allah is asking of you? The other thing is this. Insha'allah, the more difficult something is for a person the more reward they get for attempting the task. So, if I grew up in a non-Muslim family, lived a lifestyle that was contrary to Islamic principles, and then one day, Allah blessed me with the gift of Islam, don't you think I'll be rewarded accordingly? If I had to go against everything I've known for most of my life (including my family) don't you think I'm going get like, mega reward for it?

"Are you Islamic?"
Let me break it down for all the non-Muslims out there. Islam is the religion or way of life and Muslims are the adherents to Islam. The term "Islamic" usually applies to a thing. Like an Islamic saying or an Islamic lifestyle. It does NOT apply to the people who practice the way of life called Islam. Got it? Cool.

And those are my two cents for the you were!


muslimahlocs said...

as salaamu alaikum sister. imam zaid recently wrote a piece on his website @ the "n" word. hope you have had a chance to read it.

Anonymous said...

"I was born Muslim" I thought everyone was born a muslim but some choose not to practice as one or live like one. This includes those born in islamic countries but come to the USA and do everything under the sun except eat pork (maybe). They sure as heck sell it in NJ fast food restaurants.

Jamerican Muslimah said...

walaikum salaam muslimahlocs. Funny you mentioned the article from Imam Zaid. My friend just sent me the link this morning. Insha'allah I'm going to check it out.

anonymous, I agree that all people were born on the fitrah. But you know what I'm saying though? Some people think the fact that they were raised as a Muslim somehow makes them better or on a higher level than converts.

Ooh, don't get me started on the pork-selling, alcohol-selling Muslim immigrants in the Black community. Hey, maybe that should be my next post...

Hadiya425 said...

Asalaamu Alakium Sister,
In addition to "Are you Islamic?" I get "Have you converted to Muslim?" also. *sigh*
And while I will gladly correct who ever says such things (don't get me wrong, I am down for Da'wah), I get tired of having to do so and sometimes just want to quietly go about my way without having to educate the ignorant all the time...

Na'im's Mom said...

As Salaam Alaikum Sister, I wanted to know if I can quote you on my Myspace page. The "I was born a Muslim"....It hit home for me as I recently reverted to Islim a year ago and one of my closet friends (who was "born" Muslim), drifted away from me...She doesn't follow Islamic principles and made fun of me for wearing hijab...So can I?


Jamerican Muslimah said...

Na'im's mom,

Walaikum salaam. Yes, feel free to quote me.