This wonderful story (“Life as the wrong kind of Muslim“) brings home just how complicated global identity gets. A post-racial world? Not hardly, and not just because of Paula Deen.
If anything, Deen’s failure was to understand the simplest side of race – the kind with well worn (one might say endlessly worn) grooves, wherein the inability to even fake the right response is a clear indictment that you just haven’t been paying attention. The issue was never that Deen, who grew up in the segregated south, used an offensive word when she grew up. It’s that today, with the aid of a team of PR professionals, she still can’t adequately explain why the word is a problem.
It’s not like that issue hasn’t come up before: the subject she’s trying to so hard to explain has been explored, charted, mapped, discussed, and written up in children’s books. Some of them are good children’s books.
The situation Qasim Rashid faced, by contrast, was as fucked up as it was stunningly original. Must read.