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21 Safar 1442 A.H.
By: Farida Mustafa
I am tired. I’m tired of having to defend myself every day, I’m tired of being ridiculed and insulted as I walk down the streets. Must I always prove myself to you? Why is it that New York is never a good enough answer when you ask me where I’m from? Why must there always be a deeper explanation? Am I not American enough for you? Is it too hard to accept that I can be Muslim and American at the same time? All I know is; I’ve spent all my years here going to your school, listening to your music, eating your food, yet it’s still not enough for you?
Does my hijab scare you that much? If it is too much for you, then what do you have to say about my father? Is he too black for you? Does the color of his skin make you feel uncomfortable? Does it make you feel threatened? Now why is that? If I’m not mistaken, it was you who enslaved his ancestors for hundreds of years, you who has beaten him in the streets, and you who has stripped him of his humanity, yet…you feel uncomfortable? You tell me that I cannot be American, yet my father, who has built your foundations from the ground up with his bare hands, cannot be treated with the same dignity and respect you offer our white neighbors?
Farida Moustafa is currently a rising senior in high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was part of a select group of young designers in a program called Innovators for Purpose, hired by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)