Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Code and 9/11

"The Unwritten Codes Muslims Live By" is so much like what I was taught growing up as a woman of color in the southern region of the USA. Police brutality and openly-racist bigotry was an undeniable reality. Sure, we had the legal right to do certain things, but everyone around me knew that certain things were just better avoided if you valued your life. My brothers, my mother, my grandmothers and grandfathers have all experienced discrimination beyond the regular "small things" that people of color are often told they should just overlook. Today, Muslim-Americans of all ethnic backgrounds experience the same kinds of injustices right along with us.

My daughter was barely school-aged when 9/11 happened. She does not even remember a world where it wasn't a factor. I remember, though. I used to be able to ride airplanes without being groped. I remember when I used to be able to receive my subscriptions to magazines written in Arabic without them arriving unsealed and obviously perused. I remember when being in a group of people speaking Arabic didn't elicit openly-hostile looks and comments from on-lookers.

I wonder if VanGoghGirl would be very different from the person she is now, if 9/11 hadn't occurred. I know that living in an environment like this with the family that she has must affect her worldview, but the effects of 9/11 have been so extensive that I don't even know which of her views can be said to be truly unrelated to them. You can't separate the experiences you have as a girl or woman from those you have as a person of color or as a person from a mixed-religious family.

I'm always hearing that "9/11 changed everythingTM". I think it's more accurate to say that 9/11 infected everything.

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