Tag Archives: racism

The “Burka Ban”

22 Sep

Hello everyone! This is Lilipop here. I wanted to talk about banning the niqab and burka because a college in Birmingham (read more here) did just that and it seems to have kicked off a national debate and most recently the far right party UKIP making a policy vowing to “ban the burka”.

Straight off there are the recurring problems that seem to happen when any marginalised group’s rights are “debated”. I am seeing and awful lot of white male politians opinions but not a whole lot of Muslim women’s opinions  even though they are the only people this is really going to affect! Sigh, sigh, sigh. This reminds me so much of when abortion is “debated” by white male politians; your opinions do not really matter unless you are a member of the group who’s rights are being restricted. Of course it would be massively hypocritical of me to say that and not have the opinion of a muslim women here and also my opinion doesn’t really matter so my friend Anisha very kindly wrote a bit for this blog about what she thinks of the “burka ban debate”:

Recently in the headlines there has been a consistent reappearance of political matter concerning the possible ban of the burqa.

The burqa commonly referred to as ‘chadri’ in countries located in Central Asia is a symbolic garment within the Muslim culture; it acts as a facially concealing garment allowing a less fabricated/ sheer section around the eyes to allow sight for the female.

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Anisha

Alongside the burqa there is the niqab in which the ‘veil’ us attached onto one side transforming the head scarf into a niqab, this is the okay commonly worn  version of the ‘veil’ in London, which political leaders are

mistakenly confusing for burqas which are fully fabricated garments with a sheer fabric located in the position of the eyes.

Never the less back I my opening statement, there has been a constant appearance of the burqa and the niqab in the news regarding the ban of the Islamic based garment.

As a Muslim teenager who has grown up my whole life in London I would like to say I completely disagree with the ban of the burqa/ niqab it is unnecessary, disrespectful and without a doubt degrading to the people of the Islamic community. I am in a state of disbelief with the MP’s and hope they take into account the possible effects this ban could have on the Islamic community alongside the people of Britain who are supporting Muslims through this terribly distressing period of time.

2 hours later  after the decision of the Muslim ‘veil’ ban being reversed:

After hearing the news I have decided to write up on this morally degrading issue which I was previously frantically ranting about.

Following the news of UKIP reversing the ban I am thrilled with the fact that they have had a change of mind set and have decided to completely scrap the ridiculous ban 3 years after proposing the total ban of ‘covering faces in both public places and buildings ‘.

I wish to believe that future MP’s will not make any drastic bans related to the publics religions and beliefs, such as the disgusting ban on burqas / niqabs.

-Anisha Namuli, 15.

Here is a list of other piece by Muslim women on the “burka ban”:

http://talatyaq.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/burkha-banning-an-insult-to-freedom-and-feminism/

http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2013/09/the_veil_debate

http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/dani-garavelli-niqabs-in-the-public-eye-1-3105790

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/21/dont-ban-veil-in-uk

I also just wanted to point out some very disturbing arguments that are being made for banning the burka and niqab which I have seen a few white non-muslim women who call themselves feminists using. One of these arguments is that the burka and niqab is a symbol of female oppression and that many women are forced to wear them, this is despite the many women speaking out against the banning saying they want to wear them. This is a huge and ignorant case of taking agency away from Muslim women. These people are ignoring the voices of the Muslim women, the people who will be effected by the ban, and instead imposing upon them their own theories on what these women are experiencing. They are ignoring lived experience! They are also refusing to acknowledge the fact that Muslim women, and here’s a crazy idea, MAY ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO MAKE THEIR OWN DESISIONS *gasp*.  Another argument that is so so so so so WRONG is that people “want to be able to see their beautiful faces” and so should not be able to wear burka’s or niqabs OH MY JAM LIKE SERIOUSLY! I have heard this from women as well as men. I wonder if they realise they are saying that they think their perceived right to see and essentially turn women into objects is more important than these women’s right to wear whatever the fuck they want. This is usually called the Male Gaze I think and it is hugely sexist as it is basically dehumanising the women on the receiving end of the Gaze. It is also quite ironic as one of the points of wearing a hijab, burka or niqab is to control what other people can see and stop people judging and objectifying women based on their appearance.

I am, of course, talking from a position of privilege here so please, please point out to me the things I have said wrong in this. If you have anything else to add or another link to pieces by Muslim women feel free to share.

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Still not cool

19 Jul

Hey. If you are around my age, and vaguely know me, then this post is directed at you. In fact, if you are any age, and it doesn’t matter if I know you or not, then this post is directed at you. It’s about this thing, called slurs.

To start with: If you are white, straight, cis, able-bodied and male, (as much of the UK and indeed the world is) then you have the power. This is unarguable. Whether you like it or not, or society is set up to help you at the expense of practically everyone else. It is possible to be this without being an asshole (of course it is!) but with great power comes great responsibility, and if you do use your various privileges in anyway, then I will personally kick your ass and tell you why you are Wrong.

Unfortunately, being any of the things mentioned above comes with a lot of history. Yes, we are better than we were a hundred years ago on a lot of things; for example – now PoC (people of colour) are allowed to do radical things like sit on buses or vote! yay! – but instances like Trayvon Martin’s murder (a far from isolated incident, unfortunately) shows that racism is so fucking far from over.

Another important point: words have enormous power and can be and are used to oppress people. Whatever you say about them just being words, whatever bullshit you spout about ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’, languages contain words which have no other purpose than to discriminate and to oppress certain people. Words which literally are nothing more than insults. Insults which are very specific – aimed at you because of the colour of your skin or the people you are attracted to which somehow makes you inferior.

Now, taking into account all those things above, think about what you say.

The n-word is not okay. It’s so not okay I find it almost unexplainable that I have to point out its unacceptability. Ha fucking ha, okay, because the n-word was explicitly designed as a extremely derogatory term for black people by white people. This means (TO ALL THOSE FUCKING ‘HILARIOUS’ TUMBLR TEXT POSTS OUT THERE AND ALSO ALL THOSE ‘HILARIOUS’ WHITE TEENAGE BOYS) that however you use it, as a joke or a term of endearment (ugh ok) that when a white person says it, they are contributing to racism and oppression, and that is not okay. That is the end of that statement. Please never, ever, ever, say it again. Please tell other people to shut the fuck up if they ever say it by telling them that it’s racist.

Same goes for any other oppressive slur – against female people (usually by shaming them for their sexual choices) against LGBT* people (why is sexual choices and gender still an issue for people who make laws, ughhhh), against non white people (wow okay I don’t understand how any white person ever thought that racial slurs are suddenly okay because they are totally not) , against people with disabilities (and putting ‘clinically’ in front of the word ‘retarded’ does not suddenly make it okay to say), because saying contributes to the oppression of these people. The only exception is when a person who would usually be targeted by these words says it, because then it is reclaiming the word and it’s not an insult anymore, since you can’t really oppress yourself. (Edit: as my sister pointed out, internalized misogyny, racism, homophobia etc. does exist, but it is not the same thing. People can oppress and limit themselves, but this is merely a very effective extension of the overall system and reclaiming words means that to these people at least, the word changes its meaning. However, whether to reclaim words or not is personal and there are lots of different opinions and views so please try and have consideration and google it ok) Does this make sense? Let me say it again, in big bold letters so if you take one thing from this badly written angry post then it is the important part:

Using insults based on an aspect of a person that they can be oppressed for is not okay. Insults like this are called slurs. It is not your place to use them, ever, even if they are not as an insult, because using them is seriously offensive and oppressive for vulnerable people. If someone calls you out on this, do not protest it. You know it is wrong, so shut the fuck up and stop being an asshole.

Thank you for listening. People who are my age/in my social circle, if you read this, you probably know why I’ve been giving you weird looks and avoiding you. You’re an asshole, but this serious condition can be remedied. Next time, listen when I tell you that something you’re saying is not cool.

Now back to your regularly scheduled broadcasting, although this time with hopefully slightly less douchebaggery. If you’re having trouble suddenly losing much of your insulting vocabulary, check out this and this to add some more that target everyone! Yay! If you have any more, add in the comments!

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