Saturday, April 7, 2012

so you take it down, another pill to swallow

i'm never sure whether to take the surprised comments about my "great language" as the compliments they are meant to be, or to take offense at the stereotypical ignorance that they mask. when you tell me, "wow, you have a great grasp of the english language. i wasn't expecting that because... um... *cough cough* never mind. i have no idea what i was going to say." don't worry, i know. you were going to say that because you saw me wearing a headscarf you assumed that i wouldn't be able to speak english without an accent, know how to read, have any interests outside of cleaning my house, or really have any commendable level of intelligence. but as you were saying that, you realized that i might just take it the wrong way, so you stopped yourself. right?

being female in the male-dominated field of IT, i get backhanded compliments a lot. remember when the dean chose to give me a thousand dollars just because he was so surprised that a girl could do so well? that was fun. being arab-muslim doesn't get me any sexism (for them most part), but i get a whole lot of racism. i mean, i could understand - or at least tolerate - the surprise on people's faces when i showed them that wearing a scarf on my head did not interfere with any brainwaves back in undergrad. but now that i'm a phd student, could you please not act so surprised? i mean, how do you think i made it all the way here without having at least a little bit of smartness in me? i mean, honestly.

so for now i'll just continue to smile sweetly and say thank you (and then come rant in my blog), but for the love of god people, please try not to be so ignorant. my cheeks are starting to hurt.

*Mr. Know It All - Kelly Clarkson