Being the “Same”

I was at a seminar/workshop earlier today, and it was very informative to say the least. One of the workshops was entitled: Traveling while “_____”. Fill in the blank: Black, Muslim, American, female. All of these are applicable in my situation. However, the professor leading the discussion said she was doing an ethnography for 12 years!? (long time) And within this time frame, she was studying a South American community which was a part of the large African diaspora, which is interesting in and of itself. She (who was African American) told us that she had to catch herself from bring her African diaspora background in to the mix because her version of being part of the African diaspora is different from their experiences being South American. One of the reasons it is different is because of something she called blue privilege.

Blue privilege is an interesting concept, which is very similar to white privilege. However, white refers to the color of one’s skin and blue refers to the color of one’s passport. Being American abroad is interesting especially while traveling through the MENA region (where I have done all of my travels). Because I wear the hijab and can pass for some sort of Arab, being American doesnt really cross people’s mind. When people do realize that I am American, that makes me all the more harder to place. American? Muslim? African? Possibly Arab?…….Most of the above identities are completely manufactured to some extent (to a large extent).

It is just interesting how you may perceive yourself as one way in one context, and be perceived in a completely different way…

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2 thoughts on “Being the “Same”

  1. Same thang happened to me my first first time in the MENA region which was like 3 weeks ago. O man. I bet you’ll never guess who this is…

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