We are in a political period where many of my friends and family members are nervous about what is going to happen to America during the next few years. I proudly identify as a feminist and have had the pleasure of marching with thousands of other women who believe that the current inequality of women’s rights is still an issue that needs to be solved.
This is one of the reasons that inspo + co. is so important to me because I love having an outlet to project my body acceptance, girl power and love for beautiful ideas in a way that only I control.
One of my given talents is bravery mixed with storytelling.
I believe it’s a shame to not utilize what we are innately best at. Each of us has something to speak to – a story to tell or a life experience that when shared openly can make a powerful impact on the world. I believe that black lives matter and that the LGBTQ community deserves equal rights, but while these issues are something that I will stand up for and support – I cannot accurately speak to them because I don’t personally identify as a part of either community.
I have never had experiences that singled me out for being black or gay and that is why I open my mind and listen to those who have had these experiences so that I can learn how best to support these humans.
I become an ally.
In addition to my experience with body love and women’s rights, I can also speak to what it feels like to be discriminated against culturally.
My father is from Iran and came to the USA in the 1970’s. I was born in America but proudly consider myself one-half Persian. I am very proud of my heritage and what few members of my dad’s side of the family I have been able to meet.
Unfortunately, because my father actually “looks” middle-eastern he has experienced many situations of prejudice, open acts of aggression and hate.
With the recent travel bans, I have felt increasing alarm and worry for those in the Muslum and Middle-Eastern community that now live or visit family in America. I recently participated in the fifth annual World Hijab Day and wore a headscarf in an act of support for the Muslim community. It was a very jarring and emotional experience for me, even though I only wore it for the day. I can’t imagine how it must feel to not have the option of removing of the descriptors that set you aside.
I can’t imagine how it must feel to not have the option of removing physical descriptors that set you aside as an “other”.
I finally had to get my feelings out in my favorite way (through storytelling) in a long post I published on Facebook.
I would also like to share this story here with you:
I am a half Iranian girl that just so happened to be born in the United States of America. Just a poll – are you ok with me being here because I have my Polish/German mother’s light skin and my father’s dark hair instead of his Middle Eastern year round tan and my mom’s sandy brown locks? Are you ok with me being here because even though my father was raised Muslim, I was raised catholic – thank God I was lucky enough to be trained in the ways of an “appropriate” religion even though its teachings have also been used to kill and enslave others for hundreds of years.
Are you ok with me being here if I don’t get the privilege of knowing hundreds of family members that live overseas because they are not allowed to come to my homeland – those that have tried have experienced humiliation, racism, been detained, strip searched and held at a border for months. At least kids in high school were upfront about their fears when they would ask me if my father wore a turban, wanted to bomb American or carried a gun.
Did you know when I cover up my hair with a scarf in the winter the outline of my face looks like my Anty Maryam’s and my eyes are a perfect match for my Muslim Grandmother who passed away years ago. My heart hurts for my people who are being marginalized and stereotyped as “dangerous” for their religious beliefs. I am even further conflicted that because of one tiny choice made by my father years ago and sheer luck – I am allowed the privilege of acceptance and ambiguity in the United States.
I am literally crying with relief that my American-Iranian father did not choose to visit his homeland at this time – but there are many who are living in this nightmare right now with their parent, spouse or friends trapped in a shitty airport.
Here are some things I never thought I would have to explain, but apparently I do: Americans can also be Muslims, being Muslim does not mean you hate America, there are Americans who (shocker) do not LOOK Muslim but are, there are Americans who look “white”, who are Muslim, there are Americans who are not practicing Muslims who have family members who are that they love very much, there are people who look Middle Eastern that are NOT Muslim.
An “us” vs. “them” mentality is what leads to genocide, holocausts and hate crime. If you want to marginalize Muslims, then please count me as one of “them”. I easily could have been. #NoMuslimBan
Thank you to Aarushi Fire for sharing my story on her online zine Brown Girl Lifted.
– Katrina <3