It’s Not About Race!
John Metta

A friend of mine circulated the meme about the nun’s habit vs. a hijab but it was taken out of context, so I’m glad to get a better sense of what was intended by the use of this example, thanks.

In a liberal context, though, this is still an important item to criticize: the nun’s habit and the hijab are different not mainly because one wearer is a person of non-color and the other is a person of color, or that one is following a supposedly European religion and the other a less European religion. The main difference between a nun’s habit and a hijab is that a nun’s habit is voluntarily taken on by a tiny portion of the wearer’s community, while the hijab is imposed on all women in the other community regardless of their individual wants or desires. The nun’s larger community may have actually discouraged her from making the choice to don the habit because it goes against the majority life-ways, while the hijab-wearer’s community may very well ostracize or even kill her for non-compliance with the mandatory impositions of social/religious practice.

So, from a liberal point of view, a nun’s habit is indeed relatively welcome and a hijab is indeed profoundly offensive, because the nun’s habit is a voluntary and individual choice while the muslima’s hijab is a forced (one way or another) imposition by the larger culture, a defeat of choice and individuality.

How western-normative of me to see it that way, no?

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