Dear White People…

Dear White People,

I have something to say. This morning I did not wake up to prove to you my right to exist. I did not wake up to answer your questions about where I’m ‘from’ or where I’m ‘from from’ and to explain to you why my families country of origin is not found on a map. I did not wake up this morning thinking, hmm, I should really let everybody know whether I’m more American or more Arab, or to prove to you my patriotism. I am not a walking political newscaster, here to answer to you at the drop of a hat questions about distant brown people. I am not a monolithic brown girl. No I don’t speak Afghani and no, it’s not the same as Arabic. I don’t give a shit about Saudi Arabia, and I cant point to you the exact page in the Qur’an where it says it’s okay to beat your wife. This morning I woke up and went to work. I answered your questions with a semi smile about ‘my’ God (wait, who is Allah then?), and my hijab, and I answered your questions about hummus. I do not exist merely for your questions. I am not an embodiment of whatever answers I give you. I am pissed.

I don’t have an identity crisis, or maybe I do. But no, you don’t have the right to know every facet of my being. Sometimes brown people are allowed to just ‘be’ too. Dear white people, you are not the standard to which I define myself. I did not wake up this morning to be interrogated, and I don’t care if you’re at ease with any of my answers. You do not have ownership over my existence. With or without your acceptance, I exist. I’m tired of trying to prove that.

About Marwa

People often ask me "who am I" or rather "WHAT am I," as if the next sequence of words will define my allegiances. Am I Arab American, a Muslim in America, or just plan American? Do my brown eyes and hijab somehow contradict my patriotism? I don't think our hyphenated identities bind us or should be points of exclusion. We are human, and hold individual identities. The West and the East are not a clashing of cultures but a contribution of characters. I am a product of the world. I am Marwa.
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3 Responses to Dear White People…

  1. Saren says:

    I Love you Marwa! You are an inspiration for our first generation”brown” people.

  2. Salam alaykum sister,

    I cannot begin to understand what kind of tribulations you go through due to ethnicity.

    As white convert male, I admittedly walk a fine line between white privilege and white guilt.

    Consciousness must be elevated, your words help push people in a good direction. We all have to stop acting as colonizers and the colonized. It harms us all.

    You Do Exist. I See You. Alhamdulillah.

    Best regards,

    P.S. Yes! White people can be a pain in the ass, it frustrates me too.

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