Being a Black Muslim Young Woman in America
I identify as a Black Muslim Sudanese Young Woman.
We are Muslims before we are Sudanese.
No, we are Sudanese first. Generally, I participate in the greatest full handed palm I could create when I hear this statement. Though I understand the reasoning behind this claim, these talks often occur when something racially accused occurs or when we Black Muslims talk about our contributions to American society.
People questioning our blackness because of our Muslim identity, or our ‘Muslimness’ because of our blackness, is a common occurence in every Black Muslim’s life. Being a Black Muslim young woman means that I experience discrimination in many ways: my skin color, my gender, and my religion.
I grew up in Sudan, where everybody looked the same as me, and no one ever questioned my identity. There was no confusion about who I was; being Black and Muslim existed in one space for me. It wasn’t until I moved back to America that I realized I was different. It was hard for me to blend into a society that hated me for simply being who I am. People would stare and make me feel insecure about myself. I suffered from an identity crisis while trying to “fit in”. That’s when I realized that I could never truly fit in. I learned how to love myself and accept who I am.
People like me are getting targeted everyday for every piece of their identity. Hearing about Black people getting killed by the police and Muslims getting harrassed and labelled as “terrorists” is truly devastating. Fearing that we could be the next victim is what makes it uneasy for us to showcase our identity. But we shouldn’t let this fear prevent us from being proud of who we are. We shouldn’t have to hide our identities in order to feel safe. We should work on building a society where everyone is accepted no matter what their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientations are.
I am a Black Muslim Young Woman. And each of these identities matter to me as much as the other.