Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Triple Threat: Being A Black Muslim Woman In The UK

The term invisibility generally refers to a cloak that most of us wished we had in awkward circumstance like, when you have genuinely lost your Oyster card and you are trying to convince the Ghanaian TFL uncle that you are not a criminal, or when you are on a date and you bite into a cherry tomato and it splatters all over you; either that or it is the superpower that your favourite superhero possesses. But in a world less colourful and less appreciative of difference, invisibility is a term that has come to mean the isolation or exclusion of a subgroup from the majority group, this is according to many social science scholars including Fryberg & Townsend.

To take this even further the term double invisibility came in to being in a similar manner that intersectionality came into being, highlighting the inequalities, micro-aggressions and systemic sidelining that may be attributed to a person by way of their multiple identities.  For example, If someone is Black, in an English context they are likely to experience a whole set of negative encounters by way of their ethnicity in comparison to an English person, but if we added the additional element of being a woman or a person with a physical disability, the second person is likely to encounter double the marginalisation as a result of being a part of two subordinate groups within mainstream society. Hence the term double invisibility. The truth is for many of us, there are multiple layers to our identity which may mean we are afforded less privilege in comparison to others by way of our who we are.

But what I want to talk about is something that is fast becoming known as triple invisibility, or what I affectionately call the triple threat. Although it may sound like a Russian bomb, I am not referring to the nuclear arms, I am referring to the fact that I am a Black Muslim woman and for the most part, people are not sure where to place me, they are not sure which stereotypes to attribute to me, leaving me somewhere on the fringes challenging the negative narratives as they come my way.