Racialicious: Casting Out: Exploring the Racialization of Muslims

Racialicious

Casting Out: Exploring the Racialization of Muslims

I just finished reading Sherene H. Razack’s Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law & Politics (2008). And I gotta say, it blew me onto my ass.Razack is the author of several books, including Looking White People in the Eye: Gender, Race, and Culture in Courtrooms and Classrooms, and her work in race theory definitely shows in Casting Out. She uses plenty of theory and excellent cross-racial examples to illustrate that what’s currently happening to Muslims in the West (racialization that results in “the expulsion of Muslims from the political community, a process that takes the form of stigmatization, surveillance, incarceration, torture, and bombing”) has happened to other groups before.

Islam is represented in mainstream media as South/West Asian brown-skinned people who are bearded and turbaned or veiled and hidden: this racializes Islam.

Now, before you start typing a response that there are non-West Asian Muslims and that Muslim isn’t a race, re-read what I just wrote. There are Muslims in every country in the world, and they are all colors and sizes. But Western media representation of Islam and Muslims simplifies this world-wide group of people into one picture: that of a brown guy with a beard and a keffiyeh. His female counterpart is a brown woman with a veil. Reducing an entire group of people to these static images that have to context or history creates flat attributes (such as the incorrect assertion that West Asia = Muslim) that can be applied to anyone deemed in the “Muslim” category.

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