And Still I Rise

Being a (hijabi) Muslim black woman is the lowest rung of the Western society. My very existence is the embodiment of everything society shits on. I’ve never known the connotation of the proverbial a walk in the park. Even the walk in a park feels like I’m being scrutinized. My skin colour, my dress, my womanhood are screaming car alarms in a funeral, or snow storm on a June wedding day. I’ve never had the luxury of being relaxed. I feel like a thug when I walk into department stores. I feel like a terrorist in the airports, with a ticking bomb in my shoulder bag that ironically holds a  copy of ‘1984′ by George Orwell, a pack of gum and the latest edition of the New Scientist. I try to keep eye contact, smile, think happy thoughts in case the NSA are sitting somewhere reading my thoughts. I watch my words when I’m on the phone so I don’t say stuff like ‘ man you’re the bomb’ and have my ass scooped off to a blacksite by the FBI.I feel like I’m at a pageant every time I walk outside. And being a native of Sweden where up until maybe 35 years ago, the only blacks that stepped a foot here were the travelling circus of Somali niggers in the early 20th century, things are even worse! Much worse. The racism isn’t as institutionalized as in the states, but the general opinion of blacks is rather primitive.

However.

All that just made sure that I had to be alert, that I had to learn to defend justice for any human. It taught me to not give racist whites the power by making me believe the system is rigged against me. It taught me to take what’s mine, and keep trying until I chip away at the old system. It taught me to not accept a dirtbag’s imbecile thinking. It taught me that humanity has always been prone to oppression and resisting progress. I get it; it’s not a personal thing. Governments need their scapegoats, people need their bogeyman. Today it’s me, tomorrow it’s someone else, just like in yesteryears there were others in my place. The rotating axes of human vices.

The true enemy isn’t the evil man who’s doing reflexively what’s imbedded in his rotten heart. It’s the apathetic bystander who lets him.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.


– Maya Angelou ( Still I Rise)

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