Last week Uzma Shakir, GTA activist, visited Windsor to talk about activism, feminism, Islam, immigration, community, and violence against women, racism, sexism, Islamophobia, Sharia law, and the imperiled Muslim woman. I kept a running list of quotes from the talks I attended.
Here they are:
- “Kids don’t drop out of school, they’re pushed out because the knowledge is not meaningful.
- Multiculturalism is not just food, music, and dance. I call it Sari and Samosa Syndrome. We’re not talking about power — let’s talk about my right to wear hijab, about power and privilege.
- Activism is not about convenience. I cannot be antiracist all day and then go home at 5 o’clock, put my feet up and be a bigot.
- As a white person you can walk away when you get tired about talking about white privilege. A person of colour cannot walk away.
- Not all rappers are about guns and bitches.
- I can speak English. The gift of 200 years of colonialism: you come out of your mother’s womb speaking English.
- I had an arranged marriage. I arranged it myself.
- My family turns into a nuclear family by virtue of Immigration Canada.
- I was liberated in Pakistan, based on my class and family support. In Canada I feel very oppressed, marginalized. Here I had no daycare and all I can get is a shitty job.
- Contract work is precarious employment. It is contingent, temporary.
- Mothering [as a new immigrant] is about going through hell and having no one to talk to.
- I do parenting workshops to deconstruct the other parenting workshops.
- Social justice is hard work and messy work.
- Language is not neutral. Language is political.
- The Sharia Hysteria: if you want it you’re a Neanderthal, if you don’t want it you are a liberal.
- Muslims do not have a monopoly on oppressing women.
- I don’t get offended anymore. If I’m continually insulted I am frozen into inaction.
- If I am the standard and you are different from me then I have the power.
- When you get tired of anti-racism and social justice, remember those who cannot walk away. You’ve got to stand with them.
- I don’t mind being an immigrant. But my children were born here — their imagination of home begins and end in Canada. I can go home to Pakistan but this is home to my children.
- Pakistan has been colonized for 200 years but the colonizers went home. They left behind their cronies to watch over us. But in Canada, the colonizers never went home.
- I didn’t know I was being a feminist until I came here a week ago. I thought I was just a woman who liked to fight.
- We have to fight together. We have been marginalized and oppressed and if we’re not careful we’re going to marginalize and oppress someone else.
- Everyone wants to save the muslim woman. Some want to put the hijab on me and save me; some want to take hijab off me and save me; some want to bomb us and save me. Just give me a break man! I can save myself! I don’t need Western imperialism to save me or Western feminism riding on the coattails of Western imperialism to save me. I can save myself.
- Just because we are doing social justice does not mean we are socially just.
- We [immigrants and refugees] don’t come here to live in poverty. We don’t come for the weather and we don’t come for the food – we bring the food! We come for the democracy.
- To hurt someone is to sin. To watch someone else get hurt and do nothing is a greater sin.
- If you are a man you can be a feminist – if you are a man you must be a feminist because if you’re not you’re part of the problem.
- I wish all I had to worry about was [my son's] baggy pants and who he dates. I have to worry if he’s going to get arrested, if he’s playing basketball, out with his Black and Arab friends. This is part of mothering for black mothers, aboriginal mothers, and now it is true for Muslim mothers.
- My children keep me grounded and I keep them political.
More about Uzma’s visit here:
Sari and Samosa Syndrome