Support Diverse Voices in Journalism: Help Us Hire Roqayah Chamseddine
Her name is Roqayah Chamseddine. She is a Lebanese-American writer, and in recent months, she has been a leading commentator on feminism in the 2016 Election.
Shadowproof published a freelance piece by her on February 18 called, “The Problem With the Bourgeois Feminist Defense of Hillary Clinton.” It did tremendously well. In fact, our traffic doubled that week, which sent us a signal that this was not only a voice we needed to elevate more but also a voice that our readers would appreciate and support.
We are eager to have Roqayah get started at Shadowproof. Our plan is to give her a new column that would focus on establishment feminism and Islamophobia in the 2016 Election.
In order to help us introduce Roqayah to those who are unfamiliar with her work, we asked her five questions. We hope how she answered will persuade you to help us provide her a platform for her insightful, thought-provoking, and critically important work.
What issues do you prefer to focus on in your writing and work as a journalist and commentator? Any particular reasons why?
I try to focus my work on examining and confronting capitalism. This covers the systems that exist and flourish thanks to capitalism, including the military industrial-complex and the prison industrial-complex. Unless our work tackles this exploitation and the question of capitalism, then we will continue to perpetuate the myth that the only way forward is to work within these systems.
What would you like to do with your column on feminism and Islamophobia? Are their specific developments or trends in our current world that demand focus but are too often ignored?
I’m hoping to explore the effects of anti-Muslim bigotry on Muslims, including how this bigotry has been used in order to expand wars, to finance the arms industry, and what role orientalism plays in selling wars under the guise of human and women’s rights. I’d like to examine how Muslim life has been dehumanized with help from things like the expansion of the drone wars, sanctions, and hyper-militaristic propaganda efforts undertaken by the U.S. and its allies.
What is feminism to you? And what is not feminism?
Feminism, to me, addresses race, class, gender and is internationalist in its extension of solidarity. What I oppose is bourgeois feminism, which is anti-internationalist and more focused on examining these issues through a Western lens. It neglects to analyze how race, class, and gender intersect.
The issue of Islamophobia is clearly fueled by GOP politics. But how about a few examples of how the Democratic Party fails to properly oppose U.S.-based Islamophobia in American culture and throughout the world?
The mainstream narrative in regards to Islamophobia neglects to indict the military industrial-complex, which promotes and arguably requires the mythology of Islamic terrorism. Not only is the Democratic Party involved in actively promoting this mythology, but the Party oftentimes provides it with a much more approving and palatable face. The war industry is furthered by both parties—by everyone from Hillary Clinton to Marco Rubio. Until the establishment itself is challenged, we’ll only have the veneer of change. It’s not enough to simply de-escalate, it’s time to dismantle the system behind Islamophobia altogether.
What do you find to be the greatest challenge in independent media today?
Finding publications that will support diverse voices has been a struggle. Not only is this issue reflected in hiring practices but also in the content. You see white liberal women talking about women of color more than you see women of color writing about themselves. This isn’t because we are incapable or because we’ve chosen not to write posts. This has to do with cowardly publications who would much rather follow an established formula: have others speak on our behalf.