By LAMEECE MUSTAFA
October 25, 2017
“The first step to becoming a red-blooded part of America is to change your name.
Herein lies the guide to becoming the perfect American in a Muslim world. To be clear, we are already based in America. In fact, we were born in America. Doesn’t that already make us Americans?
To answer this politically, yes but, to answer this realistically… not quite yet.
You see there are a series of tests and hurdles that an American Muslim must overcome before they can be considered a real American. Eventually, when most of these tests have concluded it becomes clear that it is not the challenges the American Muslim is going to encounter that will make them Muslim, it can only be society around them that makes them so.
Because of this, most will fail the test in its entirety. As a result, the person is left with nothing but their butchered name and a broken sense of identity that resulted from the struggles they faced every day growing up in America—the land of the free.
“A Muslim in America has to constantly battle between the identity they find to be true within their culture and religion and the identity they have that’s been shaped by American society.”
The first step to becoming a red-blooded part of America is to change your name. You see, the inability of most to pronounce names that are not common to them, specifically school teachers, forces a child to make a decision that will alter his or her life almost irreparably. The child will feel the pull to conform to the standards that most “red-blooded” Americans have set within society. Being that society is used to expecting others to assimilate one would receive backlash if they were to break this norm.
Herein lies the conundrum; if the child chooses to accommodate the majority of society their name will become one that has been once edited and twice removed so that it no longer has a meaning nor relation to the child’s identity. Yet, if the child decides to correct the person who incorrectly stated their name on multiple occasions, then that child’s identity remains intact.
Here is when some will say that a name is just a name and that it has nothing to do with a person’s “identity.” On the contrary, a name is a brand a person is representing for themselves. For example, the name Trump means so much to most people in the United States. For some, it represents a name that holds negative views and for others, positive aspects. When people of little value to another child incorrectly states that child’s name continuously, it creates for a divide to occur within the undeveloped identity of the child. This unexpected divide then tends to fracture the child’s identity.
To some, this may all sound like rubbish. “Who cares!”, “It’s just a name!”, These remarks may resemble the very thoughts rambling inside your head right now as you read this. I get it. I didn’t understand it at first either but, we must take action into understanding the roles we as a society play on other religions such as Islam.
A Muslim in America has a constant battle between the identity they find to be true within their culture and religion and America as a society. If America was really welcoming people of all races and religions, American society wouldn’t be so unwelcoming when it comes to the cultures and traditions of these same races and religions. To force someone to accommodate to your traditions and cultures and religion is stealing the very things that make a person themselves.
The ideals America represents contradicts within the nature of American Society. The society in the United States is a selfish one. It is one of which endangers the very foundation that America withholds.
Whether a person is Muslim or Jewish, American ideals allow no room for accommodation towards their cultural and religious practices. Subjugating the “outsider” to accommodate to American norms which can, in fact, jeopardize their very own morals and ideals. By riding one of their cultural norms, it is an act of destabilizing one’s very identity. The destabilization of someone’s identity has the ability to then force that person to search for a new identity.
Being in America surrounded by forces that inhibit others, others being those who differ from the norms of society, to entertain the standards of society can prove somewhat difficult to a person searching for a true identity. Therefore, a person who has no established identity will dive into the standards of American society to become just as society conditions them to be. An assimilated robot.