A consciously written public statement by someone who doesn’t have the privilege of mouthing off sans repercussions. This is in response to the unfortunate racist, Islamophobic, misogynist slander I have received this week.
It takes the same amount of time and energy to craft words that build others up as it does to scrawl trolling language intended to break people down.
Monday, August 6th after spending the entire day securing funding for “The Bulls of Durham” cover art contest, I came home to prepare for evening meetings and discovered false attacks on my character, my businesses and then my person, race & presumed religion. These attacks have continued & escalated.
What I haven’t received is any inquiry as to whether or not the original accusation is true.
The accusation being — this is a project funded by the City of Durham and the cover contest was a clever plot created specifically to get free art.
This is not the first time someone of Middle Eastern decent has been falsely accused of plotting something.
What’s curious is neither the City of Durham nor I were aware that they were sponsoring this project. Even more curious, nothing in this world is free. Where things get really peculiar is that these accusations originated from a white woman claiming to be a feminist who speaks on behalf of minorities and that white men started liberally sending me threatening emails on her behalf.
Excuse me. I didn’t ask for anyone to speak on my behalf. Ethnic and incompetent are not synonymous, nor are white and savior. I was taught by my immigrant father to speak up for myself because not every woman with my last name has such a privilege. In fact, I make a living doing just that. It’s that immigrant work ethic I was raised with.
Another Persian gem: folks have a lot of time to make opinions when they’re not busy making a living or a difference.
Oh wait. Am I just white enough that it felt safe & empowering to dish out slander in an act of woman-on-woman hate?
Did anyone check my name prior to putting some disrespect on it? Or did that fall by the wayside with the complete lack of fact checking in all of this? Alternative facts only work in Trump’s America.
Clearly at some point someone noticed my last name as several white men came after me via email with racist, Islamophobic and misogynist rants. I understand racists aren’t real geography or history buffs, but BTW it’s Persian not Arabic. Oh, and those are different. Thanks.
While unfortunately none of this is new to me, what’s truly disappointing is that the slurs used weren’t new either. Also, monkey was used out of context unless it was a racist reference towards the Durham art community. Odd thing for an editor/publisher/writer/activist to do, but in line with someone who cares more about fonts than equity.
Here’s some editorial clarification:
Call-Out-Culture: Airing out your insecurities by tearing someone down on the internet without fact checking, going to the source or a real agenda with tangible, measurable outcomes. AKA 45 style bullshit.
Accountability Culture: Going to the source. Checking facts. Doing the work prior and presenting everything in a time, place and forum where a real difference can be made; being willing to have the hard, sober conversations where growth and change occurs; recognizing true allyship is not using your white opt-out when shit gets uncomfortable; being an adult. AKA going high, when others go low.
Cover Contest Funding: Money straight outta Sheila AMIR’s paycheck. This is also known as putting in the work to fund one’s dream.
Public Cover Contest: A way to provide opportunity to all individuals regardless of their formal or informal art training to get to be recognized for their talent because: equity.
Racist/Islamophobic Behavior: Words or actions that can be amended going forward when a person chooses to put in the work.
Racism/Islamophobia: Who a person is; unfixable short of a jarring life experience; a damning thing to be known as in Durham, North Carolina.
I appreciate art and its profound interconnection to Durham’s success in every innovation and renovation. Unlike John Green who stole the bull logo off of Colman mustard between 1861 and 1865, I am paying the winner of the cover art contest. I would have mentioned the Bull Durham painting on the Pyramid of Khufu for dramatic effect like Mark Twain did, but I don’t have the white privilege or proclivity of tossing around unfounded claims while throwing a rich culture under the bus.
I’m not sure if it’s more exhausting being asked to do free consults if you’re white than if you’re a minority. Or what it’s like to slander someone and then opt out with a “I’m sure she’s nice, but…” What I do know is it’s exhausting to be subjected to racism, Islamophobia and misogyny in an existence I can’t opt out of. I also know not to abuse ellipses and that in this case it’s “She’s nice.” Note the capital ‘S’ in this instance.
Did Susan B. Anthony pen the white feminist opt out? “This is about me, me, me. I’m tired. I’ve had a bad day. I am a martyr. My life is hard too.” I mean, she did have a lot of time on her hands while holding up women’s right to vote with her racist ways.
“What you seek is seeking you,” is an erroneous translation of the Persian poet Rumi. The true translation is “You are what you seek.”
If you seek hate you’ll build one hell of a Twitter following instead of a stable career, cohesive branding, sustainable income and a diverse, loving tribe. Popular on social media, aka free exposure, doesn’t pay the bills.
I seek love. I am love. I lead with love. “The Bulls of Durham” living history book project is created out of, funded by and will be completed with love, including the cover contest.
Every moment is an opportunity to choose again. I choose love. I am hopeful others do too, especially in the form of a public apology and accountability.
May Allah be with those who are out making America great again on the internet.
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11 ounce coffee mug featuring "Someone in Durham Loves Me" design baseball style. This is a limited edition collector's mug. Once they're gone, they're gone.
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Taza del Amor del Toro
La taza de café de 11 onzas que ofrece "alguien en Durham me ama" diseña completo con un toro del amor. Hace un regalo increíble a alguien que amas, incluyéndote a ti mismo.
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