I am writing this letter as an open response to what women of color have been subjected to at your hands, as a Muslim woman of color writer I feel it is important to voice the problems that continue despite the so called “civility” claims. We all know what it means to be a “man” of the white race and let’s not deny the power and privilege it brings. However when you interact with women of color, overtly this power and privilege manifests into aggressive and offensive behaviors. As if women of colored races, be it Asian, Latin, African or whatever else are lesser beings than whites.
For those who can’t understand why exactly this is going on let me narrate you my experience of being a woman of color writer. A while ago, I wrote some online stories on the current ISIS fiasco perpetuating violence against women in name of Islam, serious issues with extreme care and religious references providing evidence that religion has nothing to do with ISIS’s doings, but used as an excuse for their own vested missions. I expected strong reactions to those stories considering the sensitively of the topics, but I was left speechless by the amount of toxicity and aggressiveness white people doled out at my work. Some people decided to steal my work and use it for their “Islam bashing” agenda on wordpress and other social media while others sent me hateful feedback, where words like “stupid lesbian”, “Muslim cunt” and others were used.
What was most amazing that most of these attackers were white men, ready to pounce on me for being a Muslim and unable to deal with my able person. Over these years, and almost six years in the blogging world, I have experienced all sorts of crap from white men whom I noticed like to attack Muslim women writers on our work and get away many times by snatching our agency by delivering aggressive and single tracked assaults. I also discussed this problem with other women writers and no guesses there; most white women writers couldn’t understand or probably wanted to dismiss this issue.
Some became so offended to ask me are you sure you are not racially hypersensitive? Ok, after hearing descriptions like, cunt, lesbian (I have no problems with LGBTs but feel that its offense to use the word as homophobic slur), stupid Muslim woman, psycho feminist and so on, for white people I am in the wrong and my reaction is chalked up and dismissed as hot temper. Way to go.
On the other hand, I also noticed that this sort of nonsense is commonly faced by other women of color writers and several good friends who like me are serious writers. Its common to see that white men are unable to handle that strong women of color put them in their place, when attacked. Most WOC know what I am talking about as we have faced countless scenarios where assertive responses to offensive behavior have been met with contempt and dismal. I have always and will continue to stand for women of color’s rightful place in writing spheres. And.
My experiences as a woman of color writer can be summed up like this…white men have tried to define my story for me and my disagreement has resulted into them attacking, vilifying, and derailing me, genuinely being acting anything but civilized. I am so over this problem of white men who find it hard to grasp that women of color of Muslim identity can be empowered and hold positions.
I am anything but oppressed. And at this stage I am just informing that I am quite over with this all. For those who have nothing better to say can kindly stay away from me and other women of color writers. We don’t need your permissions or your approvals to be writers or use our pens. Please accept the fact with civility that we are here, because we are equal. Go deal with that like sane people.
Most important to note is that this letter could happen due to Editor Ian Draper’s kind cooperation, which within itself is a testament that this is not a generalization of all white men. I take this opportunity to sincerely thank him from always being not just my online Editor but an ally who treats me like an equal with respect and space to voice issues that are otherwise deemed as “THE OTHER.” For those thinking some weird stuff let it be said that in my life, I have very healthy relationships with the opposite sex and some of those are white men too.
Thank you for the understanding,
A writer from the East
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