Reflections on a panel talk: the violence of white fragility and the erasure of its victims

The Brown Hijabi

I am sitting on a train on my way home from a panel talk on Feminism & Islamophobia, on how the two collude to undermine Muslim women, and how Muslim women are erased and reduced to “the veil”. I am exhausted and bewildered.

The panel consisted of five (four panellists and one chair) hijab-wearing women of colour. In a University setting this is a rarity. We know this. We are not the people panels are meant for, we are not the people audiences are meant to listen to.

We opened the discussion by laying out our premises: that we weren’t interested in proving ourselves, that we refused to answer questions that made inherent value judgements about our worth, that we didn’t deem secular modes of feminism which universalised white women’s experiences and aspired to equal access to be oppressors as the pinnacle of our goals, that in…

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