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Theme Changer

 Topic: The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour

 (Read 2131 times)
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  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #30 - November 09, 2017, 01:50 AM

    Is this seeing non-poc ex-Muslims as primarily white (ex) converts rather than say ex-Muslims of some East European origin?


    Well generally speaking yes. The whole thing is looking at a pragmatic concern. We can run different hypotheticals until the cows come home.

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #31 - November 09, 2017, 02:37 AM

    @Quod Sum Eris

    The point is to recognize the salience of color in the experience and difficulty of being ex-Muslim.


    Granted, but we're coming at it from different angles. You're coming at it from an American perspective (colour), I'm coming at it from, what I suppose in your eyes would be "Old World" prejudices. Americans are concerned with race, the majority of the rest of the world, whether it be European, African, Indian or Asian, is ethnicity.

    I'm not saying my experiences are comparable with pocs. I honestly don't know. For all I know, it would be preferable for people to tell from a distance I'm "other" and compose themselves rather than get close to me, and me having to experience that "Oh" moment in real time. But when I mention some of my experiences, such as broken bones, beaten to the point I black out, faeces shoved through my families letter box, and a shitload more things I could mention because I'm visibly not native, and you reply with "the salience of colour". That is literally oppression Olympics. That is you, at least it seems to me, completely dismissing my own lived experiences as a result of my being an ethnic minority while you sit comfortably in America. It pisses me off, not because I want a seat at the table, but because your dismissiveness is, frankly, offensive.

    Like when I first read your reply I had the urge to type "Come talk to me when you're thrown off a hill at seven-years-old onto the rocks below and end up with broken bones because you're an ethnic minority." I shouldn't have to say that. I shouldn't have to justify my own life to you to be "worthy" to talk about discrimination. The fact that it even came to mind at all is oppression Olympics.

    I'm not saying I've lived your life, I'm not saying you've lived mine. I'm simply saying that you have an American view of  things. And like I've said before, if I were born in the US, I'd just fall into the overall fold of white. But I didn't and I haven't had that experience, and I resent you judging me by those standards.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #32 - November 09, 2017, 09:29 AM

    Yes, I think very clearly. One group simply doesn't have access to the sheer scope of complexities involved in navigating both a racialist hierarchy, while simultaneously contending with issues of self-determination cum identity cum conscience. More clearly put for the latter Islam is just an idea, racism is just simply wrong, and identity doesn't go beyond a personal challenge. It is not as convenient for ex-muslims of color.


    This I agree with.

    "God will say, "O Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Make me and my mother gods beside God?" Qur'an 5:116

    "I told them clearly that I am a man...and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that the human being is emanated from a deity." - Haile Selassie
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #33 - November 09, 2017, 12:49 PM


    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #34 - November 10, 2017, 04:29 AM

    I got to walk away from Islam and hide without much difficulty in the larger population. That's a privilege I would venture most ex-Muslims do not have.
    I have had a lot of conversations with people here who are assumed to be Muslim on sight or by their very names. Once I take off hijab I am free from that assumption. I don't have to deal with it from Muslims or non.
    Privilege.

    Don't let Hitler have the street.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #35 - November 10, 2017, 06:40 AM

    Granted, but we're coming at it from different angles. You're coming at it from an American perspective (colour), I'm coming at it from, what I suppose in your eyes would be "Old World" prejudices. Americans are concerned with race, the majority of the rest of the world, whether it be European, African, Indian or Asian, is ethnicity.

    I'm not saying my experiences are comparable with pocs. I honestly don't know. For all I know, it would be preferable for people to tell from a distance I'm "other" and compose themselves rather than get close to me, and me having to experience that "Oh" moment in real time. But when I mention some of my experiences, such as broken bones, beaten to the point I black out, faeces shoved through my families letter box, and a shitload more things I could mention because I'm visibly not native, and you reply with "the salience of colour". That is literally oppression Olympics. That is you, at least it seems to me, completely dismissing my own lived experiences as a result of my being an ethnic minority while you sit comfortably in America. It pisses me off, not because I want a seat at the table, but because your dismissiveness is, frankly, offensive.

    Like when I first read your reply I had the urge to type "Come talk to me when you're thrown off a hill at seven-years-old onto the rocks below and end up with broken bones because you're an ethnic minority." I shouldn't have to say that. I shouldn't have to justify my own life to you to be "worthy" to talk about discrimination. The fact that it even came to mind at all is oppression Olympics.

    I'm not saying I've lived your life, I'm not saying you've lived mine. I'm simply saying that you have an American view of  things. And like I've said before, if I were born in the US, I'd just fall into the overall fold of white. But I didn't and I haven't had that experience, and I resent you judging me by those standards.


    Sorry if this comes off as terse, but I hope you'll excuse my directness. How do you respond to a statement of mine, about how color is tied to an ex-Muslim experience, by restating anecdotes which have nothing to do with being ex-Muslim?

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #36 - November 10, 2017, 01:48 PM

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX222P3O2yg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCIFBt8PAPI


    fuck...fuck....fuck.... what else is there in life?

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #37 - November 10, 2017, 03:40 PM

    As far as the forum’s issues are concerned is there really that much difference between poc and non-poc ex-Muslims?

    Yes, I think very clearly. One group simply doesn't have access to the sheer scope of complexities involved in navigating both a racialist hierarchy, while simultaneously contending with issues of self-determination cum identity cum conscience. More clearly put for the latter Islam is just an idea, racism is just simply wrong, and identity doesn't go beyond a personal challenge. It is not as convenient for ex-muslims of color.

    Is this seeing non-poc ex-Muslims as primarily white (ex) converts rather than say ex-Muslims of some East European origin?

    Well generally speaking yes. The whole thing is looking at a pragmatic concern. We can run different hypotheticals until the cows come home.

    Thanks asbie. When I posted the first question I genuinely wasn’t thinking about non-poc ex-Muslims in terms of converts. I can see how this could be an issue in US ex-Muslim circles. If you take this out of an American context though I think it’s very problematic to equate being born as a Muslim with being a person of colour. It may work, more or less, in the US but that doesn’t mean it works in the rest of the world. I don’t see the East European thing as just a detail. Islam is a European religion as well with millions of non-poc adherents. I’m not sure why an ex-Muslim from that background, or from somewhere like Turkey or Chechnya, should be happy with being either excluded from a poc sub-forum or included as a kind of honorary poc. If it works for American ex-Muslims to organise as pocs then fair enough but I don’t think this is going to translate onto an international forum.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #38 - November 10, 2017, 07:25 PM

    If you take this out of an American context though I think it’s very problematic to equate being born as a Muslim with being a person of colour. It may work, more or less, in the US but that doesn’t mean it works in the rest of the world. I don’t see the East European thing as just a detail. Islam is a European religion as well with millions of non-poc adherents.


    I'd say that the subjects of Islam, Muslims and what to do with both have been racialised to such an extent, historically, that the narrative of Muslim alien-ness has never gone away; apparent whiteness has never really translated to Whiteness, wherever the latter exists.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #39 - November 10, 2017, 07:37 PM

    Thanks asbie. When I posted the first question I genuinely wasn’t thinking about non-poc ex-Muslims in terms of converts. I can see how this could be an issue in US ex-Muslim circles. If you take this out of an American context though I think it’s very problematic to equate being born as a Muslim with being a person of colour. It may work, more or less, in the US but that doesn’t mean it works in the rest of the world. I don’t see the East European thing as just a detail. Islam is a European religion as well with millions of non-poc adherents. I’m not sure why an ex-Muslim from that background, or from somewhere like Turkey or Chechnya, should be happy with being either excluded from a poc sub-forum or included as a kind of honorary poc. If it works for American ex-Muslims to organise as pocs then fair enough but I don’t think this is going to translate onto an international forum.


    If it's up to me, I wouldn't have a moment's hesitation or problem including this group in that forum, and if it wasn't comfortable for someone then it's easy enough for them to state that preference.

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #40 - November 10, 2017, 07:56 PM

    Yes, it’s not that I’d think you’d have a problem with including them, more that it’s inappropriate to put them in a position of having to choose whether or not to identify with an American racial category.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #41 - November 11, 2017, 02:39 AM

    I disagree that they're having to identify with it.

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #42 - November 12, 2017, 08:55 PM

    I'd say that the subjects of Islam, Muslims and what to do with both have been racialised to such an extent, historically, that the narrative of Muslim alien-ness has never gone away; apparent whiteness has never really translated to Whiteness, wherever the latter exists.

    I’ve been thinking about this in the context of Greece, where I lived for a few years when I was much younger. The shared Greek historical narrative revolves around difference and conflict with Muslims. There’s also an idea of whiteness, at least in relation to gypsies and more recent immigrants. The two things don’t go together though. Relations with Muslims are seen in ethnic terms as Greeks vs. Turks but historically this is more about whether or not people’s ancestors converted and adopted the religion and language of empire. Before the ethnic cleansing and population movements of the last century or two villages in much of modern Greece and Turkey had mixed populations with Muslims and Orthodox Christians living side by side. Mostly they could speak each others language but after the 1920s population exchange there were many new ‘Greeks’ who could only speak Turkish and many new ‘Turks’ who only spoke Greek. Some of the Syrian refugees arriving in Lesvos a year or two ago could speak Greek because their families were originally Muslim refugees from Crete. All this means that Greek and Turkish culture are completely intertwined. People look the same, behave in the same ways, cook the same food. Traditional songs come with alternative Greek and Turkish words, sometimes Ladino or Armenian as well. Similar things could be said about much of the Balkans, or Armenia and the Caucasus. The sense of ethnic difference is there but it’s not about whiteness. That doesn't mean relations with Muslims are better than in the West, just different. After all episodes of war, ethnic cleansing and genocide have broken out repeatedly in the region since the arrival of modern nationalism. Greeks were involved in this as recently as the break up of Yugoslavia when right wingers volunteered to join Serbs fighting for Orthodoxy in Bosnia. Nazis from Golden Dawn were involved in Srebrenica - as far as I know none of them have been held to account. I think all of this has to be seen in its own terms and a framework of understanding imported from the West isn’t necessarily going to work.

    By way of a gratuitous youtube video here’s a London based Turkish singer singing a version of a Greek hit song from the 1920s. It really is typically Greek.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UK79hI171aI
    When hodja goes out to the mosque,
    late, when night falls,
    and when he chants the Bir Allah
    Bir Allah, my heart bleeds.

    That’s the moment I met you,
    far away in a foreign land,
    and when I hear the Bir Allah
    Bir Allah my thoughts turn to you.

    In the deepness of Anatolia,
    in the dark desert,
    When I hear the Bir Allah
    Bir Allah, my heart bleeds.



    From the film Rembetiko:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NdMy_RyIpQk
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=20NGp1fYfls
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FpYyaipU2qg
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #43 - November 13, 2017, 04:04 PM

    Thanks, zeca - this is a good sidenote. The Whiteness I had in mind seems to be largely a phenomenon of the Anglosphere (and of the more successful imperial nations of Northern and Western Europe, were similar distance to Muslims has - broadly - historically been the case). I tend to the view that this is some legacy of the jealously guarded self-other distinctions inherent to 19th/early 20th century modes of imperialism*, that - from a cultural memory perspective - are never really that far away.

    Also, I do like a bit of She'koyokh, so the gratuitous Cigdem Aslam song is appreciated all the same..


    * A sidenote to your sidenote.


    (ETA: I also lack the linguistic competence to read beyond sources in English, so the generalisation I tend to may indeed be faultier than most.)
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #44 - November 19, 2017, 02:14 PM

    As far as I'm concerned I don't feel the need for a safe space, would rather just let them talk.  We can easily handle these people and have them running away, crying about how their feelings were hurt. Or we could simply ignore them. But I understand that there are some people who need to talk about their experiences may relate to race. They might need somewhere to talk where they won't be judged, and I get that.

    I have thought a lot about how racism may affect ex-Muslims and have realised that in a way I am privileged too. Most of the times in this country it is South Asians who face the worst of the bigotry aimed at Muslims. I'm not very "Muslim looking" in their eyes and my name is not "Muslim sounding". So when some loony commits a terror attack in one of our cities, I no longer feel exposed, as though everyone is judging me or that I might be targeted for so-called "revenge". In fact, a Sikh is more likely to be targeted than a Black Muslim (for an example) who doesn't wear a hijab. Most of my past experiences with racism has been racism from Arabs rather than Europeans (though there are some particularly nasty European racists that I have come across online, so maybe they're just more prone to hiding it). The main reason is probably because the negativity is currently aimed at a different group.

    I understand that because of this my opinion on the topic does not hold more weight than someone who has faced worse racism than what I have faced.
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #45 - November 19, 2017, 07:26 PM

    Sorry if this comes off as terse, but I hope you'll excuse my directness. How do you respond to a statement of mine, about how color is tied to an ex-Muslim experience, by restating anecdotes which have nothing to do with being ex-Muslim?


    If you're tying it exclusively with also being an ex-muslim, I suppose that's a different conversation. Perhaps I've misunderstood you. The thing is I don't actually disagree with anything you say, except that it should be poc only. This is why, and I'll try to be as clear as I can be in my thinking.

    When someone is visibly "other" they have a certain experience that can be hard to communicate. For instance, recently I was having a debate with someone on immigration and they abruptly spat out something about me being "foreign-looking" and demanded to know where my family is from. It can be difficult to express these things to the majority of people, because they are the majority. I actually learned at a young age it was easier to not attempt to go into this with people, because, frankly, natives don't really get it. Or that could be my imagination, I suppose, but it seems that while they understand it on an intellectual level, there's an understanding they just flatly don't seem to have. I do get this understanding from other people who are British born but don't look ethnically British.

    That isn't to say that I'm saying I go through the same thing pocs go through. But I do find it baffling that you would advocate a safe space precisely because of rising feelings of anti-immigrant sentiment, perhaps discuss the difficulties in having a family of one culture and the home of another, and then limit it to only certain people instead of opening it to anyone who may find it useful/beneficial.

    I find the idea counter-productive.

    Have I misunderstood what you were saying?

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • The elephant in the room: this forum and People of Colour
     Reply #46 - November 20, 2017, 12:51 AM

    What I'm highlighting is that it's a distinct experience, not that it's any less valid. And it's distinct in a way that could be discomfiting to others.

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
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