In a changing world, whose promises are as reassuring as mirages seen above sand on a record-breaking hot day, I struggle to scavenge for my identity.
In a prejudiced world, where opinions are pre-set, privileges are loaned on the currency of your skin, the biology of your body and the history of your race, I fight to be a proud brown girl.
In a constantly paradoxical world, where focus flickers from one self-created war to another self-created conflict, where the God you believe becomes the bane of your earthly existence, where the fairness of your skin decides the fairness you see in the court, where the ancestry of your father decides the respect due to your children, where the money in your wallet determines the importance of your presence, I strive to talk about equality.
Equality is no longer a word that reverberates hope, of a more united, less divided world, but a reminder of what has emerged as one of the largest humanitarian crises stretching throughout the eons of human history.
From the very first slave thirsting after a drop of water to the Muslim girl in the hijab desperately wishing away the suspicious looks thrown her way at the supermarket, the ethos of inequality and prejudice, the two fatal flaws of humans, echo in the world today.
As a Muslim girl of colour belonging to a categorical Third World country, the fact that the world has advanced to its most progressive yet the most racially critical, economically prejudiced and gender discriminate age, saddens me. The worst part is when you look inside the world’s most distressing wars, like the ones in Afghanistan and Syria, and find that the disregard for religion, ethnic groups, minority groups and race lie at their core. And that is only a microcosm of our religious and racial inequality. The genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the racist slurs of the US President against both Muslims and Mexicans go some way to encapsulate this.
Furthermore, the absence of gender equality in our judicial systems has led to a blatant abuse of human rights. A girl testifying against rape will not find her assailant jailed but instead her responsible for the tragedy. A woman filing against the unjustified gap in her and her male colleagues’ salaries will be called irrational and whiny. Why can’t problems faced by women be addressed with the same respect as those faced by men?
This disparity extends to education, where men are preferred over much more qualified women, people of color are susceptible to bullying and Muslim boys and girls are subject to psychological, and even physical abuse at the hands of more privileged and entitled children. Why is education, the most basic human right, so divided and biased?
To overcome this issue, it is integral for renowned companies to take a stand and unite to empower women, support minorities within their reach and not side with prejudice against those that are labelled with clichés. They could mitigate this issue by acting as an example; where many companies reject applicants who are brown or black, bearded or clad in a hijab, they should hire them and welcome them into an environment of equality. Educational workshops and partnerships with local empowerment companies can spread the message even further.
A Muslim does not carry a bomb. A beard is not radical. A woman is not inferior. A black man is not a thief. A Mexican is not a druglord. The hijab is not oppressive. A poor man is not a useless man.
We are all humans, behind our race, religion, gender and financial backgrounds. And we all deserve our freedom.