Yassmin Abdel-Magied: 'I wanted to be a model minority'

YASSMIN Abdel-Magied has penned a piece for America's Teen Vogue, where she says "people of colour are considered conditionally Australian".

And "the moment they step out of line, the country explodes with outrage".

Ms Abdel-Magied wrote for the US publication, and reflected on the blistering attacks she suffered this year from her Anzac Day social media post: "Lest We Forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine ...)", and the moment she claimed Islam was "the most feminist religion" on ABC program Q&A. She also claimed that Australia's system of parliamentary democracy "doesn't represent anyone".

In her article titled 'I Tried to Fight Racism by Being a Model Minority - and Then It Backfired', she said she is not interested in focusing on anyone who does not see her humanity anymore.

Ms Abdel-Magied said she was "made an example of" by Australia.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied speaking at the National Library, Canberra, in June says ‘deeply racist’ attacks have been made against her. Picture Kym Smith.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied speaking at the National Library, Canberra, in June says ‘deeply racist’ attacks have been made against her. Picture Kym Smith.

She said that she thought that if she was a "model minority" and was "a hardworking, high-achieving, law-abiding brown Muslim woman", she could enact positive change.

But now she sees that's impossible to do.

"I thought if I were good enough, my example would make people see that their assumptions about Muslims and people of colour were wrong," she wrote.

"Once they got to know me, they would change their behaviour and fix their biases, I thought.

"Unfortunately, the events of the past few months have taught me otherwise."

Ms Abdel-Magied also went on to detail how Australia is associated with "kangaroos and great beaches" - but it also has a "deeply racist history".

"There is no doubt that Australia has come a really long way since then. I am truly grateful for all the opportunities I was provided," she said.

"(But) History matters, because it informs the attitudes of the present society. As people of colour have systematically been treated as second-class citizens, they are considered 'conditionally Australian'. The moment they step out of line, the country explodes with outrage."

She mentioned the attacks retired Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes suffered at the end of his AFL career.
She said "this double standard has been called "brown poppy syndrome".

She then recalled how her controversial Anzac Day post led to months of criticism.

She wrote about how she had to move houses, change her phone number and was forced to "shut off" her social media.

"I was being made an example of. And the reality is, none of the positive work that I did over the past 10 years mattered. All that mattered was that I was a young Muslim woman of colour who had stepped out of line," she wrote.

Ms Abdel-Magied said that no one should ever have to be the "model minority" to be accepted as equal.

"Equality should be given, not earned for good behaviour. If 'good behaviour' is required, that isn't really equality," she wrote.

News Corp Australia

Her article comes after she recently moved to London. She was born in Sudan and moved to Brisbane when she was two.

She then went on to start Youth Without Borders organisation, study mechanical engineering and received the honour of being a Young Australian of the Year.

Ms Abdel-Magied's TV program Australia Wide was also axed by the ABC, and the Turnbull government did not renew her position on the Council of Australian-Arab relations this year.

Now, she is working with "allies who are inteerested in making thing better for all of us".

"Now, I don't work to prove my humanity to others; I work because the humanity of others gives me strength. YAS!," she wrote.

Topics:  celebrity editors picks offbeat

News Corp Australia

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