Updated: Nov 25, 2020
I've written a lot about the injustices the Bosnian community faced during the genocide that happened in Bosnia 30 years ago. I've written about the injustice of being executed and targeted due to nothing besides who we ARE, Bosnian Muslims.
I'm a VERY passionate person when it comes to justice. I once saw a psychic and got my cards read and the first one she pulled out had a justice scale. She said the core of my being is justice- I get deeply hurt and angered by things that are unjust and unfair. When I see people being wrongfully treated because of their religion, ethnicity, or race, it infuriates me. And what infuriates me more is when those who are doing unjust things are people in power and governments.
I have done tremendous reflection in these past couple of days since watching George Floyd's death (may Allah swt grant him a paradise in heaven). I dove deeper into the cases of Kalief Browder, Eric Gardner, and others failed by our society and system. I took a class this semester called cultural diversity and to be honest, struggled with my realization of my white privilege.
I struggled because I thought "well my family didn't grow up here, my ancestors didn't take part in slavery in the USA. My family came with nothing to their names in the 2000s, not knowing English and we made a wonderful life." But the reality is, when someone looks at me here on the streets or if I get pulled over by a cop, no one sees that I am Bosnian. No one sees that I am a Muslim or a refugee because my skin is white. You can definitely tell my parents are immigrants because of the accents, but if you didn't know my story you would think I am a white girl whose family has been here for generations. You wouldn't know I am an immigrant refugee. And that is my privilege.
It's a hard pill to swallow, to think I have had privilege because of what my family has been through: war, genocide, poverty, hunger. But the sad truth is, my color of skin in this society still boosts me up the ladder. And that is not diminishing my family's tough life, my struggles or tough beginnings. It is the fact that we have to stop and check our privilege and that is why I felt I NEEDED to write this.
To my white friends who are feeling confused, guilty, defensive, or hurt about being told you are privileged because maybe you've had a hard life, please sit and reflect. Please try to realize there IS STILL A PRIVILEGE THAT COMES WITH BEING WHITE. And I really don't care if this makes you uncomfortable or if you don't agree because it is the truth.
I've been educating myself, watching documentaries, reading articles to try and articulate my thoughts correctly. What is happening in the United States now to people of color is unjust, unfair, cruel, and quite frankly a genocide of its own kind. The history dates back to when the first person was stolen from Africa and taken over here to be forced into slavery. That dominoed into plantations, rapes, beatings, lynchings until the civil war came and the 13th amendment abolished slavery. But just in making that amendment, you couldn't erase the hundreds of years of generational trauma and the societal structure of a broken, prejudiced system.
The government always found a way to keep people of color down. The government found a way to still keep certain people at the top over and over again. I read a book called Red Rising which is a dystopian novel where this society functions based on colors representing a hierarchy of poverty to rich. The Reds are the lowest who are underground in Mars, digging for hydrogen to make Mars habitable.
They are told "you are the future, your hard work is going to save mankind" all while never seeing the surface of Mars. Well, one Red sees the surface and realizes the government has been lying to them for hundreds of years. Mars has been habitable for 350 years but the government NEEDS this hierarchy so they have to keep the slaves ignorant. They keep them hungry, poorly educated, overworked and always thinking they're so close to the top but forever pushing them down.
That is what has happened systematically for hundreds of years in America. Slavery is abolished but next comes Jim Crow laws and segregation which is a loophole to continuously bridging the gap larger and larger between blacks and success. The slaves that were freed go back to work on the plantations because that is the only place they find a job. The civil rights movement comes and the leaders were shown as criminals through the media. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X were "criminals breaking the laws of segregation."
This criminalization of the CRM leaders fed to the public through media and the presidents made society fear them. This made the whites think "crime rates are rising because of them, we have to be scared," when logically and in reality the rates were rising because Nixon claimed the war on crime. When he claimed that war, there was TOO many arrests for TOO little things. The war on crime was basically a way of the government saying "anyone working to change something is going to be charged as a criminal, your cause is forgotten and we are going to crack down HARD on these "so called criminals." And I'm talking about movements from LGBTQ to women's rights to civil rights.
This led to the war on drugs where presidents like Nixon and Reagen blamed all the bad in the country on drugs. And you know who was mainly portrayed as the drug dealers and users? African Americans. Once you get arrested and labeled as a felon, your rights are taken away. This war on drugs is just another way to slap shackles on the black community.
Now in 2020, the government trains the police into how to fear instead of how to protect. It's the way the prison system is for the rich, where they're privatized so people can profit from the racial disparity in our prison systems. African Americans are 5x more likely to be imprisoned and this varies by state. Some states like Maryland have 76% of their prison filled with African Americans. The statistics are there, you just have to look for them.
The prison system itself is BEYOND tragic. We put people in to serve a sentence, for punishment instead of rehabilitation. People go in with sentences, come out and have no way of getting a job or a loan for an apartment because they are a convicted felon. They wear the scarlet letter, get sucked back into prison and the cycle repeats itself. And before someone comes at me and says "well they broke the law it's what they get," people of color get put away for YEARS for something as small as having weed while white rapists get out with just probation. It is not a matter of what you did to our justice system but instead how much money you have to buy great lawyers and pay your way out.
We need to change. It is going to be uncomfortable and hard to have these conversations. NO HUMAN deserves to die under the knee of someone who is supposed to protect you. And this being said, I respect and honor our police beyond words but I believe there needs to be a change. The police must understand their power behind their badges and a great example is a video I saw of an officer in Flint Michigan walking alongside his community for George Floyd. We need to all work together: immigrants, whites, hispanics, blacks, the police, EVERYONE needs to work to make this America worth living in.
And right now at the moment if you don't support and respect the black lives matter movement please feel free to delete me. Yes all lives matter, don't be ignorant in using that as an argument against BLM movement because that is not what it is about. Right now we are focusing on healing our broken system and I encourage you to stand FOR YOUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY. No one is above the law, including the government and things need to change. And do not let the media only show you the wrong few taking the name of BLM as an excuse for stealing, looting, etc. What BLM stands for is not violence, but equality for African Americans here in America.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith."
Thanks for reading everyone! I appreciate each and everyone of you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read what I have to say. I pray my words can spark a thought, a lost hope, or a will to reach for the stars inside of you.
I'll link my book insta page which has short reviews, cute quotes, and giveaways.