21 Tweets From People On #BeingBlackAndMuslim That Shed Light On Their Bicultural Identity

"When you're the only one in your class who's both so you have to be the one to speak out so nothing gets twisted."

The first hijabi athlete to represent America at the Olympics was Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencer from New Jersey who snagged the bronze medal for her country in Rio de Janeiro. Both African American and Muslim, Muhammad was held up as a proud symbol of America's diversity. Months after her Olympic victory, Muhammad was reportedly detained by U.S. customs officials for two hours without explanation. Her reveal came amid the confusion unleashed by the recent travel ban, but Muhammad said she didn't know why she was detained. 

"But I know that I'm Muslim," she told PopSugar. "I have an Arabic name. And even though I represent Team USA and I have that Olympic hardware, it doesn't change how you look and how people perceive you."

Muhammad's experience at the airport is not uncommon for people with Muslim-sounding names, or for those who look a certain way — brown, often male and bearded, or in traditional Middle Eastern garb. The profiling of Muslims and Arabs in airports has been documented and discussed extensively. But Muhammad, who is also Black, faces a unique set of challenges for her bicultural identity.

On Tuesday, the hashtag #BeingBlackAndMuslim was trending as Black Muslims took to Twitter to shed light on their stories and experiences. Faced with rising Islamophobia and pervasive systemic racism, many of them spoke of the discrimination they face from outside their communities and the collision between their identities — as well as the pride they take in being Black and Muslim.

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