Say it Loud: I’m Jahil and Proud!

September 4, 2007

My husband was chilling one day in the prayer area of the masjid one day, when an animated coversation taking place behind him interrupted his thoughts.  A small group of brothers (“brothas”), conveniently placed behind him, was speaking derisively–and loudly– of white muslim men who marry black muslim women.  How dare they, and blah blah blah. 

Needless to say, he was offended.  He would have been able to write it off as a coincidence if these men had not been introduced to my husband and did not know that he was married to me.  Since that was not the case, he had no choice but to conclude that he was indeed the target of their ridiculous assertions.

It’s always disheartening when people don’t think and act as muslims.  We all do it from time to time of course, but it is even worse when people think nothing of sitting up in the masjid, proudly displaying their ignorance for all and sundry.  When they try to embarass someone by bringing out old ideas that should have been thrown out the moment they became muslim, ideas that are contrary to islam.  Opinions they ought to be embarrassed as muslims to hold, much less to proclaim loudly at a large gathering of their brethren.

I wondered why a group of married men was sweating who another brother is married to.  I also wondered what exactly they were trying to accomplish with that little diatribe.  Did they expect him to run home and tell me he wanted a divorce, because some black brothers at the masjid disapproved of our type of marriage?  Did they think that when it got back to me I would suddenly be embarrassed and request a divorce myself?  Was this behavior designed to make us feel unwelcome at the masjid and prevent our return?

I don’t know the answer to that question.  I do know that:

1) I would never want to be married to any of them,

2) We had other friends, black male muslims included, who were nothing like them and

3) A handful of loud-mouthed brothers on some “blackness before islam” crap could never make me doubt my decision to marry my honey.

“Nothing you can say can tear me away…” and all that.


15 Responses to “Say it Loud: I’m Jahil and Proud!”

  1. Good for you, ForeverLoyal.
    When will Muslims understand that one of the many beautiful things about Islam is that we are all equal, that there is no black, white, rich, poor, firangi, desi etc? In the end, are you a good Muslim or a bad Muslim. Or a good person v. a bad person. I would have more respect for a sensible, good non-Muslim than a prejudiced, insensitive, offensive so-called Muslim.
    Again, a basic tenet of our Islam: personal responsibility. Please leave well alone. Pointing fingers is so not classy.

  2. Wanda Says:

    well how ignorant of them. And how tacky to be so ignorant in the masjid and in front of their brother. They, of all people, should understand how insensitive it is to downgrade someone just on thier color. I agree with you, that they must’ve been directing their anger at your husband, I’ve never seen that many white man/black women muslim relationships,that it would occur for anyone to even have an issue with it.

  3. Safiya Says:

    I think you summed up such attitudes so eloquently in the title of your post.

    P.S Can I link you?

  4. foreverloyal Says:

    You certainly may 🙂

  5. ummadam Says:

    Wanda, where ya been? It seems to me like most white male onverts are married to AA Sisters.

  6. parallelsidewalk Says:

    Not quite the same, but I have had Chinese and Chinese-American guys express resentment that I’m taking one of “their” women.

  7. Wanda Says:

    lol umadam, maybe i need to know more white male converts hehe. I havent seen that many. Most places I go, I see way more white women converts than men. I need to get out more!

  8. Samira Says:

    The idea of “our” and “my” women is at its foundation rather sexist.

    Yet when you look at the history of how certain gendered ideas of race help to demean specific groups it is, not tolerable, but explainable.

    And it works in really interesting ways. For black women it has been the idea of sticking with “our” men such as in the Black Power rhetoric. For black men it has been about the inability to protect our women while white men had free access to the bodies of black men.

    Parallel sidewalk, when you think about the amount of, as one Chinese-scholar puts it, racial castration that has happened to Chinese men the attitude you have encountered is not so strange. From the idea of their anatomy being small, to the idea that they are geeks, and in the case of Japanese imperialism, perfect scientific lab rats its not surprising that there is a sense of outrage at the white dude stealing “our” women.

  9. Samira Says:

    free access to the bodies of black women but in reality there is a lot of silence about the sexual violence committed against black males…

  10. Abu Sinan Says:

    I think, to a certain extent, this exists in all groups. I am married to an Arab, not only that, she is Saudi. So I get the Arab men mad that I married one of “theirs” and I get people from all groups mad and wondering how I could get a Saudi woman. As if there is something special about Saudi women (hint, they are like anyone else, just from Saudi).

    The interesting twist is that we have both had many Arab women, including other Saudi women, who told us they would LOVE to marry a white guy, there are just not enough white converts to go around.

    I dont think it is about colour with them, it is about culture and the way that different peoples are taught to treat women. When we got married a Yemeni lady who was at our wedding announced, loudly, that they needed more men like me. That didnt make the Arab guys too happy.

    At the end of the day I think guys who are like this have deep seated issues and know that how they act and what they have to offer is lacking. It isnt a race thing, it is more of a way or trying to pass it off on race when they know it is about the fact that they treat their own women like dirt and have nothing to offer. Instead of taking personal responsiblity, it is easier to blame someone else.

    For me race means nothing, it is one of the reasons I became a Muslim. I have to keep this in mind when it becomes clear that there are some in the mosques that do not want me there only because I am white.

  11. “Parallel sidewalk, when you think about the amount of, as one Chinese-scholar puts it, racial castration that has happened to Chinese men the attitude you have encountered is not so strange. From the idea of their anatomy being small, to the idea that they are geeks, and in the case of Japanese imperialism, perfect scientific lab rats its not surprising that there is a sense of outrage at the white dude stealing “our” women.”

    It was probably a bad idea to kill a large percentage of the last generation of women.

  12. foreverloyal Says:

    Well, that will make someone feel mighty unwelcome.

  13. foreverloyal Says:

    At the time this happened, Wanda, there were several white man/black woman pairings in our masjid.
    Clearly it was enough to threaten those who may have been insecure, as Abu Sinan suggested.
    @ Abu Sinan, you live in Northern VA correct? Do you go to Dar Al Hijra, ADAMS, or some other masjid?
    UmAdam, it has also been my observation that most white muslim men are married to black women.

  14. muslim_gal Says:

    assalamu alikeum

    Samira is right, its all about the idea of ‘ownership’ and the mentaltity that women belong to men. Instead of saying: mashallah, our good muslim brother is married to our good muslim sister, its :oh his stolen one of ours (as if you belonged to them anyways!)

    Anyhow, if they’re truly that bothered about black people marrying out, the brothas need to look in the direction of their own brothas! Sistas are nowhere near in numbers of marrying out as black brothers (muslim and non muslim alike)

    Sis f_l, did your husband say anything in response to them?

  15. Okay, that was kind of funny, but dead serious parrallel. Yes, in China there is a demographic imablance because of abortions after a family discovers they are having a girl and even female infanticide. But I think there are things deeper that are a bit problematic with the way that some (and quite a large sum) white men see women of color and Asian women in particular. I also know of several white men, and other non-white men, who are married to Asian women but hold deep seated prejudices and superiority complexes over Asians. But for some reason, their wife is the exception or it is okay because they see their wives as submissive according to the prevalanet stereotypes. Anyone smart man that is in a relationship with an Asian woman knows that they are not submissive and obedient. But some women play up their exotic-ness and positive stereotypes in order to win over a desired mate. I also find it odd how some Asian women have never dated or considered having a relationship someone in their own culture. I find that point of view a bit suspect. It is reflective of seeing Western and European notions of manhood as superior to one’s own culture. Unfortunately, I don’t see many Asian women in these relationships very reflective. On the other hand, I find that more black women in interracial relationships wrestle with these issues. It is frequently talked about and we are concious of how social pressures may affect our choices in ideal mates.

    But back to the two wack brothers. Skip them. That is so ignorant. Those are the same types of brothers who will go off to Morocco to find a peasant girl, saying her big bootey is evidence that all Moroccans are black, just light skinned.

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