Answers to Questions I am v Tired of Hearing

Alright y’all, I hate the end the hiatus with a post that’s semi-negative in tone, but this is the post that was scheduled for today. Well actually, it was going to come out at midnight between Friday and Saturday EST, but I pushed it back to fit all three posts in one day. Am I crazy for attempting three posts? Am I gonna try anyway? Of course.

 

Some of the people who ask me these questions are genuinely curious,  but most usually have a hint of malice or insistence in their tone that implies they are correct in their thinking and that it is I who must be wrong. I don’t really mind when the people are actually curious, but I’m writing this post to avoid the judgement people. I’ve decided to answer these questions once and for all so I can just redirect curious folk here instead of spending my time repeating myself.

 

  1. Aren’t you hot in all that?

Yes, the sun is out. I’m hot, you’re hot, everybody outside is probably hot right now. I’m likely no more or less hot than you are. Actually, my clothes provide some protection from the sun so I’m hot but I don’t feel like my skin is burning off. Besides, I’m not really wearing that much. In the summer, I usually wear a thin floor-length dress, a breathable scarf, and sport sleeves. Sometimes I’ll wear a light-weight jacket or cardigan instead of sport sleeves to cover my arms. The various areas of my body are only covered by 1-2 layers of fabric, and there’s typically wind circulation through my clothes. Trust me, I’m not going to overheat.

 

2. So where are you really from?

I hate this question because it implies that I am not and cannot be from the U.S. I’m an American citizen and I always have been. My entire family is American.

 

3. Even your grandparents and great-grandparents are American?

Yes. My family line goes all the way back to at least the beginning of slavery. There are no records of this, of course, but my point is that we’ve been in the U.S. for so long that past citizenship (even if they do exist) are no longer relevant.

 

   4. How can people tell what your facial expression is?

The same way people can tell what people are feeling when they are talking on the phone: you can hear my expression in my voice. Those who know me well know the faces I make to accompany the various weird phrases in my vocabulary.

 

5. How do your friends recognize you on the street?

I don’t know, they just do. I have my own sense of style. They know how I dress, they know how I walk, they know how I talk, they know how I use my hands while I’m talking. True story: someone once spotted me in D.C. before I even fully realized who they were.

 

   6. Does your dad force you to wear that?

No. I came to my own decision to wear it.

 

7. So he doesn’t force you to cover? What about your brother?

No. Nobody forces me to dress the way I do, but people sure do seem preoccupied with trying to get me to undress. For some reason, if women wear to much they’re prudish/extremist but if they wear too little they’re whores/asking for it. Stop policing what other people wear.

 

8. Why do you cover when your mother and your sisters don’t?

We are different people. We have different likes, friends, and behaviors. We’re just living our lives the best way we see fit.

 

   9. Can you say something in your native language?

“Hello.” Yes, English is my native tongue, and is really the only language I actually feel absolutely confident speaking. To be fair, if I’m in a country where people don’t speak English, I’m more than happy to have a short conversation because I know people just want to practice. When I get this question in the U.S./other English-speaking places, though, it implies that because I look the way I do, I cannot possible be a native English speaker. It implies that I do not belong. It’s actually rather hurtful.

 

  10. Any question relating to Islam:

I actually don’t mind these questions unless people are obviously pushing an anti-Islam agenda. A lot of the time people ask me things I don’t have ready answers to, or they ask me things I need to fact-check before I feel confident speaking. If you’re willing to give me time to do a bit of research and get back to you, then I’ll be happy to answer questions about Islam, especially as it pertains to the way I practice it. I’m no scholar. I’m not even literate in Arabic (I can make sounds and pick out words but I generally have no idea what I’m reading without a translation) so I can’t quite do the in-depth research I’d like to do. I’m working on it, but like anything worth attaining knowledge takes time.

 

I wish I could come up with some pithy conclusion, but I don’t quite know how one rounds out a Q&A post. I might revisit this post later if I notice more trends in the questions I receive.

 

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