Why I Joined MiC: Lora Faraj

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - 10:40pm

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Courtesy of Lora Faraj

“No hats allowed in class!” 

“Why? She’s got one on.” 

The whole class laughs. Hearing this remark in a Chicago Public School classroom is not uncommon let alone malicious. No matter where you came from or what you wore, thick skin in the classroom meant laughing along and moving on. But when I asked myself why I wanted to write for a publication that is made for people of color, this instance of a white boy making a “harmless” joke towards the only hijabi girl in my 7thgrade English class came to mind. Even the teacher laughed. Instances like this are buried, they are lumped under the large pile of subtle Islamophobia that is deemed harmless by Muslim youths, as if our job is to make excuses for other people’s behavior silently in our minds. When I think of this silence, the one that prompted me to ignore this comment and move on all those years ago, all the other instances of silence in my life come up — for example, when someone blatantly interrupted me or assumed comments about Arabs and Muslims would be okay to say in front of me because of my “free-spirit” and “open mind.” Remembering these moments is what prompted me to join MiC. I would like to bring forward the expression of truth in a way that shatters and unburies instances people of color have been taught to ignore. I would like MiC to be a space for me to explore the range and complexity of a mind told not to limit itself after years of being told to stay quiet.