The Carnival is Here: White Privilege and The Ummah (Updated 6/4)

Welcome to The White Privilege & the Ummah Carnival: What Does it Mean to You, Them and Us?* *Them is non-Muslims, Us is the Ummah

My intention behind this carnival, for the sake of Allah of course, was to initiate some dialogue about race related issues within the Ummah focusing specifically on white Muslim privilege. Problems stemming from racism, nationalism and privilege within the Ummah are not a secret, except maybe to new converts or newly transplanted Muslims, but in my experience I have only seen very, very little talk about these problems coming from white Muslims–and mostly is has revolved around implicating others. So, inshAllah, I hope that this carnival may be a starting point for white Muslims to begin self-critical affirmative efforts to better ourselves–because that is what we are supposed to do, for the sake of Allah.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed, in my experience, this has been educational–but not fun. I really appreciate the thoughtful work of the folks below, they have given much to consider. I will add new entries to this post as they are sent in, please let me know in the comments if you have a post to add.

Please respect each other and fear Allah.

Lucky Fatima demonstrates the numerous ways that white privilege continues to permeate her life and even flourishes in Muslim settings. “We see Ourselves and other whites as unique individuals, but we see native Muslims as part of Their cultures and blame any contentions we have with them on cultural deficits. This is a very deep issue with white privilege.” Everything I say is to myself: Some thoughts on white privilege in the Ummah for Brooke’s Carnival (Added June 4th)

Safiyya of Shaalom 2 Salaam presents her unique perspective of converting to Islam from Judaism–she may look white, but looks aren’t everything. “When I become a Muslim, I thought the anti-semitism and racism would not exist. I was naive.” The White Privilege and The Ummah Carnival: What Does it Mean to You, Them and Us?

Safiya of Outlines reveals the disadvantages of being the sought-after White sister and acknowledges the necessity to reject elusive cultural norms, “The concept of White superiority is alien to Islam, in fact it’s haraam and so it is one that White Muslims must work very hard to shed, without seeking any reward.” Being Muslim While White Privileged also, check out her carnival: Celebrating Muslim Motherhood

Yusuf of Indigo Jo Blogs takes a broad look at the intricacies of race, culture and privileges within the UK  Ummah, and the problem of “whititude.” “[Whititude] describes the attitude that [white Muslims] have a certain enlightenment that is lacking in the established Muslim community.” White Privilege and the White Convert

Ginny’s Thoughts & Things Unpacking a different kind of bag, Ginny expounds upon the complexities of confronting privilege while faced with discrimination and overt ableism. “All I can tell you is what it’s like to be a blind white Muslim who benefits from white privilege but doesn’t always understand how.” Hesitant Thoughts on White Privilege

Hajar of Tales From An American Nomad  chronicles her evolving examination of privilege and isms, “I don’t want my children’s views to be skewed by that subtle, yet oppressive sense of meritless entitlement that comes with the oppressors’ mind-set.” De Facto White Privilege and a poem too! The Whipping Girl

Krista of Muslimah Media Watch calls out western (especially white) sisters for upholding supremist idealogies, it’s still us vs. them. “Whiteness and Western identities are reinforced as superior and above the problems that are found in cultures deemed foreign, rigid and violent.”  Unpacking the “Culture” Argument 

Bin Gregory Productions looks at what being “white” is and how that transfers into American subcultures, such as converting to Islam. He also gives a guy’s perspective of white male Muslim privilege.”White privilege and institutionalized racism are a tremendous negative force in American society … But it still doesn’t transform white-skinned people into a People called White in any meaningful or positive way.” Oh Man, White Muslims Again

Sabiwabi of Oy, Habibti details the stereotypes and stigmas that many white Muslims face within their communities. ” Please don’t ask me more than once where I am from or ask for some sort of proof or tell me that I could be your cousins’ sisters’ niece from Turkey because she looks exactly like me.”  White Muslim, Sounding Off

Me of Here turned the finger inward to see how my privilege works within the Ummah. “For me, addressing my own white privilege is a necessary step to further remove myself from the residual behaviors of my jilhaliya.” A Residue Remains: Using White Privilege in The Ummah and Inter-Racial Distrust and The White Muslim

Umar Lee AKA/ The Brother You Want to Shut up (who is used to getting flack for sharing his perspectives), addresses white Muslims’ avoidance of critical introspection. “I believe that white is based on what you are not and not on what you are and someone who lives a life according to the sunnah is one of those things you cannot be.” More on Whiteness and Islam Debate

Nzingha’s Soapbox demonstrates the ways that her privilege fluctuates as an American Muslim back home and in the lands of the Muslims. “My white privilege is put into question in the US because I am a convert to Islam, but than because I am a convert it is more meaningful in the ME especially since I am white.”  I’m a White American Girl

33 thoughts on “The Carnival is Here: White Privilege and The Ummah (Updated 6/4)

  1. “White privilege” blog carnival is up…

    Brooke has finally posted her blog carnival on “White privilege and the Ummah”, with my contribution as well as posts from Safiyya of Shalom 2 Salaam, Safiya of Outlines, Ginny, Fairuza/Sabiwabi, Bin Gregory, Nzingha, Umar Lee and herself. …

  2. “But wait. Aren’t white Muslims, the prized pets, the conversion stories everyone wants to hear, the ones who get far more marriage proposals and attention then their convert brethren of colour?”

    White muslimah’s are not sought after for marriage , i dont know where you got this information from. Unless their goodlooking and have good islamic characteristic, i dont think anyone would want to marry them. unless they want a green card to be able to stay in this country legally.

  3. Northerm European white are seen to be far too pale and undesirable to most people. I DONT KNOW WHERE YOU GOT THIS INFORMATION. Ghostly white, pig skin was was very common terms that used to be used in the environment i grew in.

  4. to become brown is very common in white people thats why the tan business is a multi-billion dollar industry. Ghostly white is inherently ugly to most people.

  5. Salaams. Jamal, you’re setting up strawmen here (or straw muslimahs, as the case may be). One person’s racist upbringing doesn’t make a general rule.

  6. Jamal “I never had a racist upbringing, It’s some of jahil and non-white kufaar friends used to say, and its not racist, a person to say he doesn’t find very pale skin to be attractive is no way a racist statement.”

    If I made the same comments you did but change the term ‘white’ to black and used other descriptives instead of “ghostly white” and “pig skin” to denote extremely dark skin would that be racist?

    And as a white woman who went through the whole marriage ordeal in the ummah I would say the generalization isn’t far off the mark at all. Most white convert women don’t stay unmarried for long and have people chasing after them to get married, introduce them to someone to marry, want to be their ‘wali’ to marry them off, ect. They are sold on the idea they must marry and now. Some of the women of color would have to compare if that is their experience as well to see how far off the mark such a comment is.

  7. “jamal”, you have a harsh way with words which offends me. If I were a white woman, I would not like to be discussed as you are doing. It would be like you telling me that a group of people think that Blacks have dead gorilla skin which is unattractive and they hate such skin and would never be caught dead marrying someone with deathly black gorilla skin.

    I was beginning to think that you meant ill with your words “jamal”, that’s just how ugly they were.

  8. Re Jamal: He has started takfiring and name-calling here and on other links to this little venture, so I’m blocking the rest of his and any of his Amsterdam alias’es comments. Hat tip to the sage bloggers.

  9. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    Funny, I got a death threat last week from an “Umar Lee Salafi” who was in fact in Amsterdam. I posted it at the real Umar’s blog here; was it anything similar?

  10. The IP of a prolific commenter on my blog was also routed through Amsterdam, but he insisted he was in the UK, so I just assume he’s using a proxy connection, knowingly or otherwise. Might even be Fresh Proxy or the like.

  11. Just a noted to add
    In the confusing translating hebrew to english that spells out a hebrew word, most of the english speaking world agrees that “Shalom” is spelled with one “A”. While the title of the first article aestheticly looks more ballanced, it bothers me that it was spelled “wrong” to make a title look better.

    But I really enjoy the attempt at knowldge sharing here and that most people, it seems with the exclusion of one, commented with serious attitudes and constructive things to say and not the typical internet flaming.

    1. Hi Rachel,
      That is how Safiyya spells it–she also uses an extra “a” in salaam and am extra “y” in her name, so maybe that is her aesthetic. Thanks for stopping by. I am being fairly firm on the comment moderation; I rather not read through a bunch of troll baiting in my email ;)

  12. I insist that I have not been one of the white privileged. I am going to stand by that for reasons that don’t need to be described at this point. There are times when I have certainly had privileges and times with disadvantages based on my coloring, background or gender. Instead of considering myself privileged, I consider myself as the mean – not too much one way or the other when considering the whole picture.

    But as I become a hijabi, I wonder if I will rethink my self-defined status. Will it be of no more significance to the outside world than when my hair was red back in 2006, or dark blonde 2003-2005? Or will I suddenly feel marked and different? Will I be able to tell if things change specifically because of the obvious manifestation of my faith (the headscarf) or because of changes in my demeanor as a new mother and busy student?

    I can say that I got my first “you people” statement today. It had nothing to do with racism or discrimination, but instead was a sign of limited vocabulary of the speaker. It made me chuckle when I was driving home either way. Would I have felt the same about it not being discrimination if I had been wearing my head scarf?

    I have my own blog, which is not as fantastic as this sight but instead it is just infrequent reflections on my life as a Muslim revert. When I was in India, my postings were a way to help my family cope with the changes I made in my life. This fall, I plan to include my inner and outer journey as I try to make my life follow my faith in all things instead of feeling like I have a split identity. (After having a schizophrenic lifestyle working on the North Slope for 5 years, it is a blessing to have only one lifestyle to deal with.)

  13. Asalamu Walaikum Laura,
    Thanks so much for your contribution! Inshallah, I’m going to update the post tomorrow with you and Ummlayla. I really like blog carnivals, as I love blogs and the carnivals give an opportunity to get a bunch of povs on a subject. But, I am too busy right now and already neglecting my blog. I should strive to participate in more carnivals though, inshallah.
    Thanks again!
    Love and Peace,
    ~Brooke

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