Since both people who are likely to be reading right now (Hi Mom...Mom? Are you there, Mom?) already know me quite well, this certainly isn't about introducing me. It's about introducing the blog, and clarifying, for current and future readers as well as for myself, what I am trying to do here.
First, please excuse the dust. No, not the real dust, the metaphorical "this is really still under construction and is probably going to be a bit messy" dust. I love me some good, professionally written, well-researched blogs. Someday I hope this will be one of them. But since my writing schedule has to be adapted to the needs of a very small, very important person, I'm doing pretty well if I write anything at all. I wanted this blog to be perfect right out of the gate, but another important person pointed out to me that if I keep aiming for perfection, my little corner of the internet is going to keep on gathering dust, so I decided I'd better just start posting.
Now, about the title... I chose the mama bear reference for blatantly political reasons. Sorry, Sarah Palin--not every mama grizzly bear out there votes for your candidates. Some of us lean the opposite direction, and we care about our children, their futures, and their security just as much. I want to talk to the world about the issues that matter to me, as a mama bear on the other side of the political spectrum.
I could have maybe called it "Left-leaning Muslim Lady" or "This Is My Country, You Dimwit!" or "I'll go back where my ancestors came from if you'll do the same", but none of those had the same ring. So you're stuck with Progressive Mama Bear.
Really, though, my being Muslim is a big part of why this blog matters to me. I occasionally see Muslims appearing on network television, usually as guest commentators or interviewees on a news program. And don't get me wrong, they do a fine job.
However, I rarely see Muslims who look like me, and I think that matters. Most of those I see on the television have more Y chromosomes than I do (see, I know something about genetics AND basic math. 1>0), and the few women who make it onto the screen almost never wear hijab. Which makes their experiences, as men or as women who are less easily identified as Muslim, different from mine.
Those experiences aren't all negative, but some of them are difficult and the difficult ones mostly seem to happen because anyone can tell at a glance that I am Muslim. Nor are my experiences aren't the only kind out there, or the only valid kind. Nor do I claim that my experiences represent those of every hijab-wearing Muslimah in the United States. But they're part of the picture, so instead of sitting around getting frustrated because nobody who looks like me is out there speaking on my behalf, I figured I ought to do some speaking of my own.
So why am I writing this? This sentence, this post, this blog? Because I want to tell my story, as an American Muslim woman. Because if I don't tell my story, someone else will tell it for me, will seek to define who I am, and if I let them I run the risk of becoming that definition. So I'm here to speak my own truth. I invite you to speak yours in the comments.