Monday, November 21, 2016

Wajahat Ali, Islamophobia and America

D’Asia Leathers

Who is Wajahat Ali?
Wajahat Ali is a “multi-hyphenated, left-handed brown skinned, bay-area of California bred son of a Pakistanian, who only knew the words ‘Shut up,’ ‘Idiot’ and ‘pasghetti (spaghetti)’ until the age of five,” or at least that’s how he describes himself. However, what I soon grew to learn was that he was a comedian as well. His dark humor is evident as he says things like ‘Who are the Muslims? Raise your hand? See, this is our problem. Why are you raising your hand? I’m trying to save you.” He does a great job of utilizing witty remarks that keeps the crowd laughing hysterically whilst making you think critically within the next statement.

Understanding Muslim: Islamaphobia and Turning Villains into Heroes
Ali discusses these aforementioned villains when he points out the fact that the things occurring in today’s society are just replicas of things that happened in the past. Old villains have been reincarnated into new villains and there are still similar problems and the same groups are still being targeted: Jews, Catholics, LGBT, Women, African Americans and Immigrants. He then goes on to relate this to this year’s presidential election by discussing how 65% of Donald Trump supporters say Obama is Muslim, but then jokingly turns this around and states that if Obama was in fact a Muslim, he would be the worst Muslim of all time, as he practices little to none of the Islamic principles.  Throughout his presentation, his disgust with this year’s election results is made relevant, stating “I don’t understand how most people did not have a problem with voting for a candidate with a racist platform.” He then takes us back 1,000 years into Muslim history in 5 minutes, his key points being that there has always been a fear of Muslims in America and that this stereotype is due to ignorance and silence. Ali explains that most people have referred to 11/9 as their 9/11, but he encourages us to utilize this as great opportunity for growth and reflection.

If you aren’t always writing your story, it is always being written for you by others
Ali reminds us that there will be some bleak days and dark nights to come, but we will all make it through together. Yes, systematic racism is alive, but we cannot live in culturally isolated cocoons because we don’t live in culturally isolated cocoons. He goes on to talk about how we must plant the seed and watch it flourish so that the next generation can inherit a great legacy. “I’ll be damned if I have to tell my kids “You’re a victim. So just be a great, glorious victim with your head held down and marry a doctor who’s a 9 on the scale” he states. He then goes on to say “They can’t beat us all down. They can’t rob us of our dreams, wealth, ambition or anything of the sorts. But they will try. The greatest revenge is success.” Therefore, do not allow the 1,000+ hate groups in America to write your story. Do not allow those who are oblivious to your situation to you write your story. Only YOU can write it. But nonetheless, have faith and have hope.

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