Contested Whiteness: True Tales of a White Muslim Woman

Concepts about whiteness and non-whiteness in the United States cause the deracialization of white people places them “over” members of the country’s diverse non-white races and ethnicities. It is from this socio-political placement that Euro-American Muslim converts transition and at some level become part of the other, which affects how they navigate the broader society.
The relegation of many Euro-American Muslims to the other is a consequence of their new religious social intersection, which affects their embodied social privileges and “racializes” them in ways that their whiteness did not. In this post, a Euro-American Muslim convert shares a story on how her whiteness is questioned by another white when he finds out she is Muslim.

Deonna Kelli Sayed

My car battery dies today, so I call AAA. A tattooed technician in his mid 40s arrives. He is blond, Southern accent thick, and his hands are deeply rutted with grease and the trials of a Battery Service Tech.

I will call him Joe.

Joe is jovial and helpful. He starts to flirt a little bit. What he sees in the shape of me is a blond woman with size 0 purple spiral ear gauges and tortoise shell glasses.

“Are you a student?” he asks, as I live close to campus.

“No, not anymore,” I say.

This is what Joe sees. This is what Joe sees. “You graduated already?”

“Oh, yes. Many years ago.” Joe smiles at the cryptic reference to my age. He wants to ask how old I am, but he doesn’t. Instead, Joe makes small talk in the form of bar/drinking jokes. I laugh, for I recognize he is trying to pass…

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