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Author Topic: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?  (Read 4813 times)

halfmydeen

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Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« on: Jan. 16, 2011, 07:16 PM »

Among other content, Islamic Horizons, the bi-monthly publication of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), runs personal ads. There are two sections: “Seeking Husband” and “Seeking Wife.” The personal ad below appears in the latest edition under “Seeking Husband,” and it is one of only two ads (among ten) in which a woman is seeking correspondence for herself. (The others are written by parents and a lone uncle.)

    Muslim woman invites correspondence for herself from believing/practicing, driven, fun, feminist Muslim man. Must not be intimidated by elite education or a penchant for the high and low brow. Skin color requirement masked “complexion” not applicable because that’s racist. Contact: yesthisisforreal@gmail.com

As a Muslim American woman living in North America, happily married to someone who happens to be a “believing/practicing, driven, fun, feminist Muslim man,” I have some words for Ms. YesThisIsForReal.

First off, brava sister! Or more appropriately, masha’Allah! Secondly, I assume you’ve placed this ad as a form of protest and satire, as it forces us to question the assumptions and prejudices of our fellow Muslims, women and men alike.

As I mentioned, I’m married to a man who meets your requirements to a tee—and no, he’s no more down for a second wife than I am, so that’s not why I’ve taken interest in your ad. Rather, it’s because I think you’re pointing out some vital issues that we as Muslims need to be discussing today.

For one, what’s with the racism within our own communities (a number of the personals in Islamic Horizons mentions that the writers has a “fair” complexion)? As a darker-skinned Iranian-American, I’m all too familiar with the Persian penchant for fairer complexions. All my life, for example, I’ve been consistently cautioned against sunbathing—and not because people were concerned about the possibility of my developing skin cancer. And we Persians aren’t alone here. This is an issue that plagues societies worldwide—Muslim or not.

But you’d think that ISNA (purportedly the largest Muslim organization in North America) might be above running blatantly racist personal ads with complexion requirements. You’d think as consistent victims of racism ourselves that we wouldn’t practice it among our own kind. You’d think that we’d be above this, right?

Well, as Ms. YesThisIsForReal so accurately points out, too many of us are not. So, I say it’s up to those of us who are to stand with her and challenge the others who have yet to evolve and realize that we cannot stand for racism within our own communities any more than we can stand for it from the outside.

So too, we need to stop letting our parents and uncles “seek correspondence” for us! I know way too many other women (Muslim and non-Muslim) who happen to be daughters of immigrants and believe that choosing their spouses is a process in which their parents need be intimately involved. I don’t entirely disagree. Of course you should take your parents’ opinions under consideration if they’ve bothered to love and raise you. But ultimately, this is NOT their decision to make.

“ISNA Matrimonials” seems to be a serious business, with its own video promotional ad, full of red roses and fancy fonts. It ends: “ISNA Matrimonials: Building the Future of American Muslim Families.” I hope to hell not!

http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/01/13/muslim-dating-ads-whats-with-the-racism/
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I Walk Alone...

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #1 on: Jan. 17, 2011, 05:43 AM »

Bravo. Here here!
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oddball

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #2 on: Jan. 19, 2011, 12:54 PM »

Subhanallah. Those ads on ISNA matrimonials are disgusting. So very shaadi.com-like. There seem to be a majority of South Asians with doctor children, a number of whom specifically want non-muhajabah brides.

Also, what's with charging $125 for posting an ad?
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nulady

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #3 on: Jan. 25, 2011, 06:02 AM »

Guess this is why this African American Muslimah is not married...too many racists in the Islamic community. Now... if I go and marry a non Muslim because he likes me the way I am there would be such an uproar. I really think I have HAD IT.
Astagfuallah
Salaam and Du'a my friends ::)
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jannah

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #4 on: Jan. 25, 2011, 07:11 AM »

Not everyone in the Ummah is racist!! It is mostly the Desi community quite honestly, because they've inherited that from their invader-bollywood-colonialist white skin loving past. I've found converts of all races in the US the least racist. Maybe u can find a converts group or something like that?


Guess this is why this African American Muslimah is not married...too many racists in the Islamic community. Now... if I go and marry a non Muslim because he likes me the way I am there would be such an uproar. I really think I have HAD IT.
Astagfuallah
Salaam and Du'a my friends ::)
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Concerned

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #5 on: Feb. 16, 2011, 03:32 PM »

Why is it racist to ask for a fair complexioned husband/wife. Give me a break....

Every region has their own standards of 'beauty'. In some regions of Africa the darker your skin is the more beautiful you are. In subcontinent the fair the complexion the more beautiful you are (generally speaking).

In west the standard of beauty does not rely on the skin color since they said goodbye to slavery in 60s I guess :-), But still the standard of beauty is a 'hot body'. or some other stupid requirement. But still there are requirements of beauty though not based on skin color but perhaps on the SIZE of your body.

Why so much noise on this....

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SalwaR

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #6 on: Feb. 16, 2011, 09:54 PM »

Asalam wa'ailykum,


There are two ways of looking at this topic, firstly people have likes and dislikes, people are attracted to a particular person etc etc, and it is soley down to the individual and what they are attracted to, instead of the what is accepted in the culture they are from.
and secondly it is pure racism where the culture have stated that "white" is best, is beautiful is the desireable.

I was born and grew up in the UK and to be honst i cant stand my pasty skin  :D but when i go to Morocco, the women, and men, oooh and aaaah over my pale pasty see-through skin lol. But i long to be darker so in my younger non hijabie days i would deliberatly spend time out in the sun, while the women in Morocco were hiding indoors from the sun so they wouldnt go brown.

I think if its a personal like that you are just attracted to paler women or men, then no one should make you feel guilty about that. But if it is becuase you are following what is accepted as beauty in you country/cultre then that is wrong and you deserve the name of a racist.

Beauty is in the eye of th beholder and it really is a personal judgment on what you like and are attracted to.
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jannah

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #7 on: Feb. 19, 2011, 11:18 AM »

To believe that skin color -- the # of melanin cells a person's skin has to be exact -- determines character traits like that they'll be the best husband or wife, is the very definition of racism. Yes, you are a racist if u believe this.

For those who believe a whiter wife is more attractive, sometimes I have to ask why this is. Like sometimes I will see a girl who is overweight, has spots and other issues and is just not attractive, yet some desis go on and on about how ghori (white) she is. Then I have seen some extremely beautiful girls who are darker skinned. I remember this one Ethiopian girl who was at an Islamic retreat with us and she was literally so beautiful, tall and thin with perfect facial cheekbones and huge brown-hazel eyes, I literally could not stop staring at her and I'm a girl! And I feel sad that many people would reject this girl outright because they think white skin is what makes one beautiful. So I ask myself what makes a person believe this? What has shaped the idea? Why do they inherently believe whiter is more beautiful. I think it's due to a number of factors. I think that historical factors like Aryan lighter ppl's invading from the north, colonialism, servants/slaves having to work outside in the sun more, certain higher castes of lighter complexions marrying each other, and other factors definitely contributed to this belief. Today we have the modern day advertising ideal of blonde/white and in desi magazines they regularly white wash even brown girls complexions to be white. In Bollywood I've never actually seen someone who is even the complexion of the average Indian. Those of us who live in the west always live under the 'whiter is better' ideal. Many people want to marry a whiter wife because she can then fit in better or pass as an American and they want their kids to be white so they will fit in better as well. So ppl can justify that they want to marry a whiter wife because it's their "preference" but they should really ask themselves why that is.
 
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Concerned

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #8 on: Feb. 19, 2011, 01:16 PM »

Sister I hope that you are not calling me racist... Since I am not and I think I have not said anything which points towards me being a racist. But if you still think I am racist than please make dua for my hidaya. Definitely I need duas.

Also sister its (gori) for white woman not ghori...which essentially means mare.

Let me say it  personally I don't think that color of anyone's skin matters.
But I think I have the same question, what is it that makes people in west more attractive towards darker complexion persons than whiter people? I think the answer to both of these questions is the same. Historical reasons. But you cannot just label it as racism. In US, I have heard people with blonde hairs are admired or sought after but in Europe I have heard its the brunettes. So is it a racism? its a matter of choice.


regards,


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Al-Qamar

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #9 on: Feb. 19, 2011, 06:52 PM »

jannah: different people have different preferences, there's no sinister motive behind it, that's just how they are. And yes, society does play a role in this as well, people are conditioned into thinking a certain way... certain communities prefer overweight ladies because it's a sign of health and wealth apparently... bizarre but true. There's also one community (I forget the name of) that prefers women to have long necks, the longer the better, so they put these rings on their necks to grow them. It's bizarre for us, but normal for them.

I don't think you'd ever understand it properly because it's subjective in each case. But find one who wants you for you, and be grateful to Allah for that :)
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jannah

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #10 on: Feb. 20, 2011, 07:49 AM »

wsalam,

hmmm "a matter of choice" and "preference" huh... like i said i just wonder where this "preference" is coming from. some ppl seem to want to justify it, instead of question it. that's fine, then i suggest that no one question if sisters/parents want someone wealthy, professional, a doctor, with no past and a citizen's visa. because hey that's their preference.
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Amatullah

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #11 on: Feb. 20, 2011, 12:43 PM »

The prophet (pbuh) told us how to choose our mate and piety was the first requirement.  If someone is looking for a certain superficial attribute, they're not the type of Muslim we should be interested in.  I'm a pasty white person who thinks dark skin is so much more attractive, but a man who is passionately enthusiastic about Islam could be green and purple and I would feel blessed to have him.  A man or a woman's surface looks fade, but if their deen is alive and growing, they seem to get better and better looking.  We all know people like that.  They just shine from the inside, instead of the outside.
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Al-Qamar

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #12 on: Feb. 20, 2011, 01:29 PM »

Actually, that hadith is often misquoted and misunderstood. The Prophet (saw) said to marry the one with deen, the point being that if you have two prospective spouses, and one of which is religious and the other isn't, you should go with the religious one first.

It doesn't mean you (men) should disregard beauty, it just means not to marry on that being the first and most important characteristic/requirement. There are many other hadith from the Prophet (saw) which support the fact that men should be pleased with the appearance of their wives... beauty is a factor, but not on its own.

Men and women look for different things in spouses, men are much more attracted to the physical whereas women are more attracted to the emotional (which is why looks don't matter so much for woman, as character and personality weigh much more for them). If you consider the advice for women on how to keep their men, you'll notice this theme of always being careful of what he can sense directly... "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach", cure the hunger pains before you attempt to seek his heart. Even in this famous letter much of the advice concentrates on dealing with what the man will see, hear, touch and smell... it's just how we are. And to deny how we were created makes us deny the very nature of our existence.
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Concerned

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #13 on: Feb. 20, 2011, 01:51 PM »

Sister jannah,
                       Believe me I agree with you that brothers should not go after the color of skin. But this is just one superficial thing which people look in marriages. Just like many sisters go after brothers with really really good income. Some will go after really handsome guy. Some will go after someone with power or respect in society. Vice versa is also true.

           My point is simple, calling someone racist based on their like/dislike in my humble opinion is not appropriate. Since liking someone based on their skin color does not mean that the person liking a speicifc skin color thinks that she has certain properties it means that he simple likes her. But thinking that color of her skin gives her some special qualities/superiorities, than that is racism.

regards,
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SalwaR

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Re: Muslim Dating Ads: What’s With the Racism?
« Reply #14 on: Feb. 20, 2011, 03:25 PM »

Salam


Yes i agree with Qamar, Having a "personal" prefernce is ok, you should not be bullied into thinking otherwise. If you are attracted to a darker skinned person it is not for others to judge you and call you names. We all have our preferences. And the prophet SAw never said we should not. Its human nature too, and you have to be pleased with that persons apperance as you will lie with them for life. So you have to be happy. You hvae freedom of choice, and its upto you. You should not be bullied into thinking your preferenceis wrong.

Some white men, english men have openly said i only like Indin women, or i only like african women and yes its becuse they are attacted to darker skin, Are they racist for thier personal preference, what they are attracted to? Uh no. It doest make up everything but has  part to play in it.

There is nothing wrong with having a preference, just like with anything else, and if its really important to you an a deal breaker then so be it. That your choice, your life, your deed.
We should not enforced our views on othrs and tell thm wht to want or not want. Thats a form of oppression... so we need to be careful. We have our views and opinions, but they are ours. and we need to remember that.

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