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Somalia: Can a hijab-wearing blogger get a respectable job in the US?

This is our second roundup of Somali blogs discussing various topics including Somali politics, the challenges of wearing a hijab in the United States and the first Somali female pilot.

Idil, a Somali blogger who lives in US, writes about the difficulty of getting a decent job while wearing a hijab:

so trying to find a job? gosh how hard can that be? well apparently it's very hard i mean geez i cant even find a repspectful job i mean i am not going back to McDonalds no matter how broke i become i mean thats a major NO NO….but yes i think its the hijab i mean they take one look at me and probably just write me off…i wonder if my assumption is correct…i mean i probably am, i really just want to one day take my hijab of do the hair put on the makeup and go to a job interview…see what really happens you know? wether i get it or not…i really think i would since they wouldn't think twice they would probably go “oh a black women who sounds white” i really want to test out that theory…but once again i am a chicken!

Royale Somalia writes about the first Somali female pilot:

Asli Hassan is/was the first Somali women to fly in 1976. You could read her story and great accomplishment on a new site dedicated to the history of the Somali Air Force. Asli , nicknamed “Calan-Side or the Flag-bearer” now lives in Texas.

Ainashe expresses his dismay at the Transitional Federal Government's actions. He writes:

Unfortunately, the TFG does not seem to have learned from the mistakes of the past. The solution to Somalia’s tragic political conflict is not bringing more foreign troop to the country. The key to a lasting peace is open and sincere political dialogue whereby the Somali people can sort out their difference through Somali, Arab and Islamic channels!

East African Philosopher, blogging from the US, talks about the freezing temperature in Minnesota:

Minnesota has officially been declared the icebox of the United State – really? Didn’t people already know that? Sitting in my comfortable therapeutic library chair, where the temperature of the day is expected to reach mid 50 degree fahrenhait, I can only send my sympathy to those folks who have to get up and go to work or school in a brutal weather like Minnesota….I’ve been there and it is not pleasant.

Kenya-Somali reports the outbreak of Cholera in Mandera (a town innorth east province of Kenya):

The Public Health department in Mandera District has closed all eateries in Mandera Town following a cholera outbreak.
Subsequently, the workers in the establishments have been rendered jobless. The workers have asked authorities to resolve the health crisis so that they can resume their jobs.

Six people have died and 125 others are admitted in the Mandera District Hospital following the disease outbreak.

11 comments

  • Dbird

    surely you mean ‘respectable’ not ‘respectful’

  • Corrected thanks!

  • I don’t think the Hijab has as much to do with it as one would think. Business is business and whoever can do the best job gets the job. I think attitude and the way you carry yourself and whether or not you have a chip on your shoulder have much more to do with it than a hijab.

  • Dbird

    Mwangi’s response to Idil is naive at best. People may react differently to your hijab depending on location (NYC or rural South Carolina?), career (finance or food service?), for example. However, it is illegal in the US to discriminate against a potential employee on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion or other protected categories, and if you believe you have been discriminated against on one or more of these bases you should contact the EEOC or ACLU for advice.

  • Dbird my opinion on the matter is not just some naive estimation it’s based on a couple of observations and experiences living in the West. First of all, I’m in Aussie so perhaps the level of discrimination is higher in the States BUT:
    1) There are almost no barriers to entry level jobs – even language. As long as people can kind of understand you, there are a number of jobs that are practically thrown at you – supermarket jobs, nursing jobs etc etc
    2) The media hype surrounding racism and discrimination on the basis of religion is much greater than the reality on the ground. This I know because I have worked entry level jobs with a significant number of Somalis and people from all over Africa and Asia.
    Maybe it’s just different in the States but in Oz, the racism situation is much less than I would have thought when I first showed up.

    My two cents

  • Kate

    Girl, its definately not the hijab! Just judging from what you have written I think its a combination of a chip on your shoulder, and the way you express yourself. “a black women who sounds white”? I don’t think so! More like a stuttering teenager who say “like like” a little too much. Grow up and stop looking for excuses for your failures.

  • […] For more on the subject of hijab, read Abdurahman Warsame's recent article, “Somalia: Can a hijab-wearing blogger get a respectable job in the US?” […]

  • okay so im a bit embarrassed now…who reads my blog anyway?

    and kate please don’t judge me, to be quite honest if your a muslim women trying to find a job or at least anything in this world its much harder then lets say a non hijabi and also i dont think i’ve ever had a major failure in life but kate honey let me tell you one thing i may be a little naive but i am not a stupid teenager i have had great success in life and also a few downfalls but that is joy of being a human

    and gosh why am i being blasted? i know you quoted me and everything but can’t i get a heads up instead of just stummbling across your page?

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  • Edward Wright, Sr.

    I am sure you can get a respectable here(in the US) based on your skills, not your appearance. Do be prepared for some odd looks, and curious questions.

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