I sometimes feel like I am too vocal about my religion and ethnicity but I spent so much time trying to hide what I am that I now owe it to myself to be unapologetically Somali and Muslim. Especially knowing that is the first thing people see about me when they see my hijab and that my last name is Mohamed. I couldn't pretend to not be Muslim if I wanted to which at some point I did and I think at some point all Muslims especially women do because we are so easily identifiable. I have to remember that however many years ago someone sacrificed for me to be able to be unapologetically Muslim.
It took me years to reach this conclusion. I just got sick and tired of having people tell me I was different from “my people” because I wasn't a “stinky Somalian” and I was “Americanized.” This angers me for multiple reasons because it is always said as a compliment as if I should be thanking them after and we are not even called “Somalians” the correct term is Somalis.
What does Americanized even mean and what makes a person think that about me? The fact that I speak perfect english? The way I dress? Why are people so surprised when I say that I was born here? Why am I not an American in their eyes?
I already know why because of my hijab.
Which does not even make sense to me because this scarf that I chose to wear around my head has little to nothing to do with where I was born or what ethnicity I am because Islam is a religion meaning anyone from any background could be Muslim and wear hijab.
I refuse to be embarrassed anymore and will forever be unapologetically Muslim, Somali, and Iman in which I have every right to be.