I’ve been trying to find words but only pent up labored breaths bubble up to the surface of my chest.
You can see the black rings around my eyes from lack of countless sleepless nights. You can feel the heat permeating from my beautiful black skin. Can you see me now? Can you feel me now?
Being a black Muslim woman in this country has always felt exhausting. Our existence has forever been a battle of trying to be heard, seen, and acknowledged. The fight to be viewed as human as our white, desi, and Arab counterparts has been a lifelong struggle and frankly, we are tired.
The Black Muslim Experience
George Floyd died on May 25 after being pinned to the ground by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, even as the unarmed Black man pleaded “I can’t breathe.”
As the world watched in horror from their smartphones, black people were enraged by another senseless and unapologetic murder of a black man.
I’ve been asked, too many times to count, why has George Floyd’s death inflamed every black Muslim on earth? Perhaps it was the brutal shooting of our young brother; Trayvon Martin, the hunting and modern day lynching of Ahmaud Arbery, or the denial of black existence from our immigrant brothers and sisters that finally pushed us to the edge.
As Black people, we stand loud in our outrage, as our people are tired of asking nicely for justice. We are tired of asking for you to acknowledge our experiences of trauma and pain in this country.
We are tired of having to prove we exist in your historical religious texts, masjid boards, and Islamic schools. Also, we are tired of the denial of structural racism against the black community.
As a black woman living in this country, I’ve witnessed structural barriers against my people when it comes to securing quality housing, healthcare, employment, and education in this country. Racial disparities also permeate the criminal justice system in the United States and undermine its effectiveness.
The criminalization of our black skin has been a burden we have carried since the time slavery was established.
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