Lately I’ve been contemplating the direction of this blog. I’ve never really wanted to impose my personal or political views upon you guys and have largely remained reticent about who I am. But recently two things happened which have made me rethink my position. 1) I had a conversation with a stranger which went something like this:
Them: “you’re reading a book!”
Them: “wow, no offence, (staring at my scarf) but you don’t look like the type of person who reads books”
2) I was spat at whilst walking down the street.
You see, I am a Muslim, a Muslim woman in fact and *shock horror* one who chooses to cover my head. I haven’t really revealed that fact as I genuinely believed it would put people off my blog, but now I think eff it. People often ask me ‘why Post Colonial literature?’ and the reason is largely because it often gives a voice to the voiceless or overlooked and offers an opportunity to redress pervading stereotypes and prejudices. But what is the point of reading it, reviewing it, loving it if I feel too self conscious to address those issues, engage on a personal level and defend myself? I, like most people, take exception when we repeatedly hear of black women being reduced to ‘sassy’ or ‘diva’. I shudder when people describe ‘almond eyes’ and ‘exotic clothing’, persistently pigeonholing minorities into boxes which they do not necessarily fit by default. So why do I stand for someone
whitesplaining telling me what is and is not expected of me as a brown, Muslim woman? Why should I be spat at and expect to silently get on with my day? I don’t know the answer to all of these questions, but I do know that from now on you’re going to hear me talk about it a lot more often because Burka’s (technically I don’t wear one of these, but I like the alliteration!) and books are not mutually exclusive.