Sometimes I don’t know, lol.
Am I a Black Nationalist?
Absolutely not. I have an appreciation for both of my cultures- Jamaican and African-American. I don’t believe that either of my cultures are superior to anyone else’s. However, loving my Blackness is in and of itself a political act. So much has been done to destroy the self-esteem and self-worth of Black people. It has become obvious to me that if I don’t love blackness or work for the betterment of the Black community than no one else will. Just because I’m Muslim doesn’t mean that I can ignore the meaning that skin color or race has in American society. By the same token, I can’t ignore the fact that it has meaning in the Muslim community either.
Also, I don’t think that being a Muslim means that I have to become absorbed in Arab or other cultures that are dominant in the Muslim community. I can appreciate Kufta, the Arabic language, Biryani or Abayas with the best of them but it doesn’t make either of those things an Islamic obligation on me. I’m not a Blackistani nor am I a Black Arab…
Am I a Feminist?
I don’t identity myself as a feminist. Yes, I’m all for the rights of women and will stand up for them whenever I can. I am sickened by the amount of sexism I see in American society and also in the Muslim community. I feel it is my duty as Muslim and as woman to challenge sexism whenever it rears its ugly head. I am bothered by non-Muslims who wish to “liberate” me by persuading me to “de-hijab.” At the same time I’m irritated by Muslims who place too much emphasis on hijab and purdah. No one’s strictly enforcing men’s dress codes.
TRUE STORY: After Jumah last Friday I was about to offer my sunnahs. I happened to look down into the brother’s area (from the balcony where the women pray behind a two-way mirror)and was faced with a horrid sight! A full view of a brother’s butt crack as he went into sujud! Yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obviously some brothers could benefit from a discussion on dress requirements for Muslim men.
What is my educational background?
I have a BA in African-American Studies from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities.) Insha’allah, I’ll complete my thesis someday soon. Then I’ll have an MA in African New World Studies from Florida International University(Miami.) As you can tell, I’m pretty interested in the study of Black people across the Diaspora. Up until recently, I was a facilitator for small group discussions on race.
What is my Islamic leaning?
As you know by now, when I first took shahadah I was heavily influenced by the Salafi movement. I never called myself Salafi and didn’t even know such an ideology existed but it governed my complete understanding of Islam. (I also had close friends who were in the Tablighi Jamaat so I had that influence as well). After “taking a break” from Islam for nearly five years, I began practicing again in 2000. Now I’m striving to be a person “of the middle way.” I don’t want to be too strict or too loose. You could say that I’m still trying to find the balance.
Do I think I’m a weird person?
Sometimes. I have eclectic set of tastes in food, music, and hobbies. I like to think I’m as quirky as the average person. I’m probably a bit too studious for my own good. (Even as a child my mom said she’d always find me in a corner curled up with a book and a writing pad). Admittedly, I can be a bit of a perfectionist (just ask my friends) and I can be quite demanding (just ask my husband) but I mean well…
Something I’ve some to accept about myself:
I’m Bourgeois or “Booshie” as Black folks folks call it. Unlike a good friend of mine (you know who you are!) I realize that paying five dollars for a single cupcake, preferring Gelato to regular old ice cream, and refusing to go to bed without my sleep mask are instant qualifiers.
What improvements would I like to see in the ummah?
In a nutshell I’d like to see all of us (that includes me) make a conscious effort to live up to the Islamic ideals the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) has set forth for us. It’s difficult but I think we can all do more.
That’ll be all for now.