by Special Correspondent Fatemeh Fakhraie
I just finished reading Sherene H. Razack’s Casting Out: The Eviction of Muslims from Western Law & Politics (2008). And I gotta say, it blew me onto my ass.
Razack is the author of several books, including Looking White People in the Eye: Gender, Race, and Culture in Courtrooms and Classrooms, and her work in race theory definitely shows in Casting Out. She uses plenty of theory and excellent cross-racial examples to illustrate that what’s currently happening to Muslims in the West (racialization that results in “the expulsion of Muslims from the political community, a process that takes the form of stigmatization, surveillance, incarceration, torture, and bombing”) has happened to other groups before.
She first argues that Muslims are racialized through “race thinking”, which “divides up the world between the deserving and the undeserving, according to descent.” The racialization of Islam and Muslims is something the editors and I have been wanting to address on Racialicious for awhile, but I haven’t quite known how to begin; Razack’s book provides the perfect springboard.
Islam is represented in mainstream media as South/West Asian brown-skinned people who are bearded and turbaned or veiled and hidden: this racializes Islam.