Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Poem in the Language of my Colonizers

Stop the internet. I have read the worst poem ever. I can't suffer alone through this, So I will share it with you...

It's astounding that serious, educated people subscribe to this type of hateful politics.

Finding yourself is for white girls. 

Someone actually wrote this... believes this..

scary times.

It was shared on twitter, I was stupid enough to click the link. And here we are:



I decided to take a few mins and jot down a 'poem' in response. It's clunky, it's not my best writing...
but a poem like this doesn't deserve my best writing tbh.

Being anti racism doesn't mean being anti white... something that escapes many anti racists unfortunately. 


Instead they turn racism into a laughing matter, where real instances of it are camouflaged in the midst of such nonsense. Where white nationalists and the alt-right have more fodder to laugh at the 'stupidity of the left', more reason to deny the existence of real bigotry, real racism. 

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A Poem in the language of my colonizers: Finding yourself is for everyone.
Alternative title: Fuck White People



                          
Do you really believe women of colour don’t have the capacity to search for themselves?
Do you really think our diverse identities are that un-complex and so easily defined? 
Not much space is needed to lose oneself, 
This is a ‘luxury' us poor WoC can afford too. 

Just ask the farm girl in Punjab who searches day and night for who she is,
Who battles her parents to win an inch of her own identity.
Ask the slum dweller in Karachi
The henna artist at a high street salon in Pakistan

She looks for fragments of herself in the glistening jewels of her wealthy clients
She looks for fragments of herself in the intricate patterns on the walls of the mausoleum 
Praying day and night into the empty sky
But nothing looks back at her.
She too searches for inspiration in the eyes of the glamorous local TV star. 
She too dares to dream…she too dares to explore.
Do not erase her.

Brown girls also go on vacation might I add. (in someone else’s homeland) 
The audacity of a South Asian finding herself in Mexico, or vice versa
Traveling in the footsteps of someone else’s foremother - how dare they. 
Enjoying the delights of someone else’s culture? 

Raping their beaches with every footstep left on someone else’s sand. 
How dare they. 



*

Could it be…. that some of us enjoy sharing our own and experiencing other cultures…
without the ill intent you ascribe to it.
I once bought a necklace from a Colombian vendor. 
I am not ashamed.

Could it be…that some of us are not so petty 
that we have to start a hashtag movement
to reclaim our bindis
or stop white people from eating ghee.


Coloured girls are not a homogenous block
We are not held together by our colouredness
or the war torn nature of our ancestral homelands.
Many of us are running, 
from the culture that oppressed us,
that told us women are lesser,
That confined our womanhood to a black bag.
Many are shunned for daring to “find themselves” 
Many of us are shamed for being different, 
And here you are, eliminating us with a poem.

Is it white people who think they are so different to us, 
or is it you that continues to segregate us?

To see the so called ‘anti-racists’ clamouring to hit like
on anything containing hate and generalizations against people of one colour,
anything to show, we are still atop that victimhood flagpole in every way.
That they oppress us simply by what they wear,
where they travel, and by eating our food.  



Anything to continue dividing us along colour lines...
To see 'anti racists' quickly morph into the very bigots they oppose, is sad. 
The irony….lost on them. 
Like on anti-semitic protester of anti-muslim sentiment
Zakia Belkhiri, mashallah.




 *

My birth country is not accessible to me
Because I dared to be different
Because I searched for myself.
Because I blasphemed
Because I stepped out of line. 


Girls who with a straight face 
talk about intersectionality,
But loathe those who dare to be coloured
AND dare to be areligious,

who dare to be coloured 
AND not toe the line

who dare to be coloured 
AND dare to search for themselves.

who refuse to be defined by war
who refuse to be defined by tribalism
who refuse to hate people over skin colour. 

We bear our pain, 
shattered as we may be…
a minority within a minority.
made to feel like an anomaly…

Girls who with a straight face,
Dare to tell us, who’ve left sharia lands
That their hijab is a choice. 
That it is a feminist statement.

I scream and laugh internally
Almost simultaneously...
At the absurdity of their privilege,
Claiming a tool of oppression is one of liberation.
They erase our footsteps,
And the strides we’ve made forward.
By risking our lives…

They Silence our voices,
Through poems like these...
To claim their victimhood is supreme.

*

People tell you, you are beautiful to pay you a compliment
Perhaps they shouldn't bother. 
If they don’t it will be because your features are not European enough, racists.
If they do it will be because they are too European, racists.

Holding everyone accountable for the sins of their ancestors…
You won’t find a single innocent person, depending on how far back you turn the clock.
Not even you are innocent.

White people are horrible for wanting to help those in a poorer country - got it. (racists)
White people are also horrible if they don’t help - got it. (racists)

White people are horrible when they protest the oppression of Muslimahs topless - got it. (racists)
White people are also horrible when they wear hijabs in solidarity - got it. (racists)

Fuck. white. people.... for writing out recipes of couscous and daal. 
Could there be a more racist act than writing out a recipe? 



Are we of colour free to enjoy each other’s food? 
You’ll have to explain the rules to me.
I’m new at this.
Are we of colour free to enjoy foods from "white” countries?
Are we free to wear jeans, or are we coerced into wearing them by our oppressors, our colonizers?

I write this poem in response to yours today,
not because I wanted to express myself
(that’s for white people)
But because I am a product of my colonial past.
I write in my colonized tongue, 
On a Western internet connection,
Because I am oppressed into it. 
Obviously.

*

----Do not diminish the importance of combatting actual racism by seeing it in everything.--- 

*


Sorry guys, had to rant about this. I don't often subject you to poetry... :P 

That said, please be polite and civil if you choose to engage with the writer of 
"Finding yourself is for White ppl" 

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6 comments:

  1. Eiynah, heard your interview on CBC and had to seek you out- you are a breath of fresh air. Sending you my love and admiration for speaking so eloquently and not giving up on making a difference. I am so fed up with the politically- correct- bullshit- feeding- into- racism evil circle. I am also tired of being accused of racism or white supremacy. To the latter, I say that my Dad is of Jewish ancestry and the charge changes instantaneously to Islamophobia. Amazing how people claiming to stand up for diversity can at the same time believe that "all Jews ( and their grandchildren apparently) possess a certain trait ( Islamophobia). Never mind my Russian mom and the fact that I am 3rd generation atheist- apparently that's not enough for the racists to still consider me Jewish and then accuse me of racism to silence me. so fine, let them have it- I am afraid of Islam. And it has nothing to do with race and people and everything with religion and NOOO!!! it's not the same thing. I welcome people of every race coming to this country, but don't bring in bloody burkas and backwards ideas of female inferiority ( interesting how all major religions agree on this one) and circumcision ( female or male). Christianity and Judaism scare me too and as a woman I would hate to live in any country where any religion was governing law.I was wondering where all the ex- Muslim feminists were ( hoping there were scores), I thought criticism of Islam would have more weight coming from someone clearly of the same race and background with first hand experience of how "liberating" burkas are- but of course, you are just considered traitors. There is no winning in this game, other than treating others with respect and dignity across dividing lines and speaking up and making friends and gradually becoming the majority. I admire you greatly- you are not afraid of Islam and you are not afraid of being accused of Islamophobia and you are speaking out. Way to go!

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    Replies
    1. I can completely relate. To bigots, we are always defined by our ancestry. I too get a lot of hate from anti muslim people, who can't see the difference between me and an islamist because i am of muslim heritage.

      Regarding islamophobia... the term is incredibly unhelpful, since it conflates the hatred of muslims with a dislike of Islam... which is absolutely not the case. One can defend Muslim rights, and also dislike Islam at the same time. People are not Ideologies, Islam is not a person. This distinction needs to be made clearer.

      Thanks so much for seeking me out. Cheers!

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  2. This is fantastic. I absolutely love it. :)

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  3. A thoughtful and powerful article. I hope it will make some people come to their sense. Racism happens in all groups. I cringed hard when I read that men and white people racist tweet.

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