Why Being Black And A Hijabi Is The Hardest Job In America

As a Black Muslim woman, you essentially represent three “minority” groups.
06/02/2017 04:52 pm ET Updated Jun 02, 2017
Photo taken by Abdi Ibrahim

Get up, take the transit to the office, 9-hour shift, come home, wake up, and repeat. For many American adults this is a common routine. We work hard to achieve our goals and we never give up, this is the American way. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is a very simple concept that is engraved in us from day 1, whether you’re taking your first oath to become one of many forever, or you’re born on this soil. We work hard every day, period. On that note, it has been established and I think it is safe to agree that the black man and woman in this country have worked twice as hard to even be considered equal. Moreover, the job is still half done, especially in the age we live in right now.

Racism is real. It exists every single day for people of color regardless of what you might think. In a world that hates to see the black man and woman succeed, we have other issues that haunt our people. A strong case of Islamophobia. With the rise of extremist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda in the past decade or so, the fear of Muslims has increased. So much so, that Muslims (and Sikhs alike) have been victims of hate crime in the United States since 9/11. As a black Muslim man and son of a black hijabi I’ve witnessed racism first hand as did my mother and sisters and most minorities in America can say they have as well. I do not want to compare the struggles of people of color and minorities, but just from what I’ve seen as a son and brother of Muslim hijabis I believe black Muslim women have the greatest hill to climb.

Photo taken by Abdi Ibrahim

Being a black hijabi has to be the hardest job in America, with a hourly wage to show for it (70 cents less than the white men to be exact). Being a hijabi is a strong commitment and a spiritual connection to the religion of Islam. So to be a hijabi first of all is not a burden but more a way to be more connected to your faith. Hijabis are strong enough to wear the hijab every day and it obviously is a huge indicator of their religion. As a Muslim man, you might not be able to know I am Muslim right away when you see me unless I tell you. A Muslim woman who is a hijabi is immediately recognized, considering the hijab is a huge indicator of a follower of Islam. In addition, being black is as obvious as it can be and is the what you wear every single day of your life, with pride. Therefore, off the bat being a black hijabi is a huge marker and defines you right away. On top of that, we all know the poor treatment of women in this nation, which is the reason for the feminist movement.

As a Black Muslim woman, you essentially represent three “minority” groups, and three of the most discriminated demographics ever. Black hijabis are the strongest people because every day they are in risk of sexism, racism, and Islamaphobic rhetoric. Just last week two Black Muslim women were the targets of a hate crime that led in two young men to lose their lives and others to be injured in Portland. This is horrific and as a son of a Black Muslim woman I fear for my mother every time she leaves the house. It’s truly the hardest job in America, but they excel at it on so many levels. Halima Aden, the 19-year-old model from Minnesota has broken barriers in the modeling industry for women of color and hijabis. The first Somali-American to compete in the Miss America pageant and recently became the first hijabi to be on Vogue Arabia ever. My mother came here as a 19-year-old by herself not speaking a word of English and is now self-employed, an American citizen, and a mother of four beautiful children. Although being a black hijabi is the hardest job in America, black hijabis have excelled in so many things and have fought adversity throughout. To them I’m sure it isn’t the hardest job, or a burden, or a struggle. To them it’s a blessing, and doesn’t define them completely. Being state representative defines them, being a Somali- American model defines them, being mothers and daughters defines them, being successful and achieving the American dream defines them. The hardest job in America means the hardest workers in America.

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