It’s all about culture!

Hey so it’s been a long hiatus from this blog and so much has been happening. Just so people know, I aim to begin blogging regularly again. I’ve also been keeping track of a few things I want to discuss, but haven’t had time (or access to the Internet – being poor sucks) to write about. These things might be “old news” and therefore seem irrelevant by media standards, but they are very relevant to me and things I can’t seem to let go of in my mind until I free them in the written word – so expect a flurry of posts!

Anyway, one thing I really want to blog about now is my reflections on the screening of “Wayward Son” and the Q+A with Director Mustafa Davis.

During the Q+A, I posed a question regarding culture. It is my belief that art is culture is life – they aren’t separate things. Anyway, the discussion turned to what young Muslims in Australia might do in regard to identity and the answer came that young Muslims need to find what it is to be Australian and start identifying with that within a Muslim framework (I’m paraphrasing).

This didn’t really sit well with me and I guess what I really want to clarify here in this space (didn’t really want to do it during the Q+A because I don’t think Mustafa Davis really knows the deal here in Australia – perhaps that can be rectified the next time he comes to Australia?) is that Australian “culture” is based on the genocide of the First Peoples, racism and exclusion of non-whites. So I don’t really think that young Muslim people can now try to identify with Australian “culture” because that “culture” continues to oppress the First Peoples and therefore will continue to oppress all non-whites.

Anyway, just my thoughts on that 🙂


9 thoughts on “It’s all about culture!

  1. As Salaamu Alaikum Sister,

    That is really an interesting thought. I have recently returned from the US and spending the past 9 months with African Americans. They also continue to be a dispossessed people who have been marginalised and oppressed.

    Do you see any relationship at all between African Americans.. African American Muslims and indigenous Australians?

    BTW.. I lived in Arnhem Land for almost 20 years on homelands and communities and was “adopted” into the relationship system up there, so I am particularly interested in your thoughts and hope to follow the blog. Please do keep blogging.

    1. Salaam sis thanks for your comment.

      What is your definition of disposessed in relation to African Americans?

      I see some relationship between Indigenous Australians and African Americans in terms if Blackness and associated oppression but I feel more affinity and association with Native Americans.

  2. Most of the African Americans have native american blood flowing through them.. Many of them though they have an African heritage also have European and indigenous American blood that makes up their unique gene pool.

    As a result, they are truly a nation who was “born” not in Africa but in the USA and many of them see themselves as a newly created indigenous culture of the USA.. born and bred in the USA, yet without recognition of their uniqueness.. not to mention a history that is perhaps one of the most violent in the world in terms of a dominant culture suppressing another culture.

    The same problems you see in both the indigenous Australian and the native American communities exist in the African American Culture.. the root causes are the same.. and most of the introduced solutions are band aids and not real solutions

    Have you ever read “Race Matters” by Dr Cornell West? It’s worth a read .. not that it answers every question, but it certainly produces thought provoking dialogue you might find interesting and useful in your own discussions insha’Allah.

  3. It’s funny, not as in haha but ultimately this: ” So I don’t really think that young Muslim people can now try to identify with Australian “culture” because that “culture” continues to oppress the First Peoples and therefore will continue to oppress all non-whites.” is actually what is happening or attempting to happen in Muslim communities in the states. Immigrant and 1.5 generation Muslims are bending over backwards to be model minorities, to be White and at the cost of oppressing AA and Other marginalized Muslims. And White Muslims couldn’t be bothered. Most have just traded in their White patriarchy for a Sepia-toned Kyriarchy in which they feel entitled to live high up within. And you see that the Muslims ARE NOT accepted by the dominating structure anyway unless they make sweeping compromises to their deen. But, for AA Muslims the game is often quite different as many AAs have already opted out of some of those power structures–self-segregation. So, yeah now I’m thoroughly confused 😉
    I hope you get to the bottom of this with him/those Americans!

    1. Hey Brooke, I read your comment over the Christmas/New Year break when I was interstate so I didn’t get to reply! But basically: I agree. I’m going to blog more on this very soon!

  4. Important lesson learned: whenever you go to type a long post on a mobile device, type it somewhere else and then copy and paste! Ugh! One more time:
    Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA and blessings to my brown & black brothers and sisters in Australia! Genie, I love your blog. I came in to agree with Jamila’s post – it is spot on regarding African-Americans. It’s not a term I particularly like because while I can trace my roots directly to the first slave who arrived from Africa, those roots also run deep in Native American Indians, Afro-Cubans, German, and whatever original nationality of the slave owner whose blood is mixed with ours. We’re a “watered-down” version, of sorts. I had a very interesting journey getting to this blog. It all started by finding relatives on Facebook that grew into finding and connecting with white family descendants of the slave owner. That branch of the tree landed in Geelong, and the branches have spread to the UK, all over the US and abroad. So, my Geelong cousin posts a picture of an aboriginal in the center of a flag with derogatory wording around it. When I read the posts that followed I was shocked to see words (all too familiar) that were so vile and racist I was taken aback. I asked why, WHY, was this going on and I received a reply from my cousin that consisted of phrases about respecting the flag, accepting things for how they are, not living in the past…blah blah blah…ALL the key phrases that raises the hackles on ANY brown & black person on this planet. Before I could launch into my rant, my white friend from Queensland posted a reply to my cousin. Gratefully, my Queensland friend is educated and aware of the realities of aboriginals and she gave him hell. Anyway, she sent me some links and websites and I ended up watching a video from Fear of a Brown Planet and landed here from a link on their Facebook page. 
    In all the exposure I’ve had to what’s happening and what has happened in Australia I’ve felt excited, angered, horrified, surprised, and a gamut of emotions that are hard to put into words. I have so much to say, so much to learn, and so much left to feel. Our ancestral paths are similar, and I feel we are kindred spirits…victims and survivors of colonialism. I’m here to learn, here to lend support, and extend another brown hand across the pond….

    1. Hi Daneen, I’m so sorry it has taken a whole MONTH to reply to this. Being without Internet at home can be..crippling. Firstly, thank you for your dedication in writing such a long response! Secondly, thanks for the solidarity! I hope you are happy to keep reading and responding – would be great to connect more. The similarities of experience of Black and Indigenous peoples all around the world never ceases to amaze me. Much love to you!

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