This is a delicate subject and I do not wish to hurt anyone’s feelings with this. However, because I have seen this situation play itself out so many times in the Muslim community, and it deeply saddens me, I think that it must be addressed.
In previous posts I have addressed the complicated dynamics of marriage in the American-Muslim community and I think we all know that it is not easy getting married for a lot of American-Muslims. Just as in America at large, there are also racial dynamics within the Muslim community in America and this can shape the preferences of Muslims as to who they want to marry. During my time as a Muslim, and my traveling through Masjids in dozens of American cities, and meeting several hundred white American Muslim males and knowing them by name, I have to say that the vast majority, as a matter of fact almost all, are married to either African-American sisters or immigrant Muslim sisters. It is also my observation that in everyone of these marriages that I personally know what is going on in the home, that the woman is wearing the pants, she is dominant, and the Muslim man who is supposed to be the head of his household is made to look like a weak soft prisoner to the will of his spouse in front of his children.
There are a lot of reasons for this, and I do not know all of them, but I will address a few. Let me also say that it is possible that this is not the case with all of the white Muslim brothers, for instance a brother like Abu Sinan or a Mustafa Nicholas, who are more masculine in their nature, are less likely to play the Edith Bunker role, than a lot of other brothers; but the fact that these brothers are weak is not just my observation, it is a conversation that has come up time and time again during my conversations with African-American Muslim and immigrant Muslim brothers and sisters.
First let us deal with the backgrounds of most white American Muslim males. These brothers disproportionately come from middle-class (and higher) suburban backgrounds and a large percentage grew-up in homes and were educated in schools that were culturally very liberal ( which of course may have given them the open minds they needed to embrace Islam).
These brothers grew-up in an era after the cultural revolution of the 1960’s and were educated in schools that promoted liberal values. A key part of all this was the mistaken belief and desire in a gender-neutral society. This gender-neutral society, from pre-school to college, shunned and discouraged any outward displays of masculinity, medicated boys for being boys, and encouraged boys to be more sensitive and get in touch with their feminine side.
Sports in many of these schools, a traditional way for men to sharpen their leadership skills and build character, was diluted during this period. Winning was no longer the most important thing, it was how you played the game, and that strong competitive edge was dulled in favor of a kind of touchy feely attitude that placed more premium on not wanting the losers to feel bad than on winning. Participation in boxing, football, and other contact sports that took a lot of courage to participate in dwindled in these schools and areas while sports like soccer and tennis flourished
These brothers grew-up being told constantly to show their emotions, tell people when they were sad, and it is OK for men to cry, and that there is no real difference between the sexes. They were indoctrinated to separate themselves from the ways and traditions of their grandfathers. They grew up with an idealized and romantic vision of love that was more befitting of teenage girls in previous generations than of men.
During this same time girls being raised in the same environment were being encouraged to be aggressive and to aspire towards leadership and to be competitive. So, in this environment, the female became dominant, and the male became her willing subordinate.
Let’s contrast this from the environment that the vast majority of our African-American and immigrant sisters grew-up in. If they grew-up in a Muslim country they grew-up in cultures and homes that it was understood that a man was to be a man, that there are clearly defined gender roles, and that the man is the leader in the household and her job is to support him and to negotiate with him, and barter, on behalf of herself and children. More than likely this sister sees marriage as a sort of a business contract, and not a fairy tale love romance, and her job is to play the game to win. When she sees her white husband not being emotionally strong, not being a leader, and with his mouth wide open like a teenage girl, she see the opportunity to move in and take over and call the shots and he becomes a slave to her desires. The brother sees it as being good to his wife, like the Prophet (sas) encouraged, while the sister sees it as her getting over on a weak and naïve brother.
The African-American sister grew-up in a community where the masculinity of the black male was celebrated (and to a certain extent this is true of the Latin community as well, but there are not enough Latino Muslims to make any generalizations). If the black man was around, which was a big if, he was wearing the pants (even if he didn’t deserve to), at least in some superficial way. At a minimum he didn’t cry and bawl and have the emotions of a ten-year old girl like many white men. Like the immigrant sister, she may want and seek love, but she grew-up in a community that was real enough to let her know that love doesn’t pay the bills and there is a lot more to a relationship than love and in a relationship it is your job to negotiate and maneuver on your own behalf. The game was passed down to her from her mother and female relatives, reinforced by her friends, and so by the time she has met any Muslim brother to marry her game is sharp as a knife. Couple this with the fact that while the brother may be soft from his background; this sister may be equally hard from her background and surroundings.
So there you have the two and how do they come together? First and foremost the answer is the naiveté that exists in the American-Muslim community. We are told that Islam is a magic cure-all for everything and that once you enter the deen it is all good and that any cultural and racial differences that people have become irrelevant. The fact that this is nonsense doesn’t seep in to people until after they have been Muslim for some time and seen all of the hypocrisy and nationalism in the community.
This leads to brothers trying to hook-up a white brother, who may be a male-version of Mary Poppins, to a sister who may be a female version of Mike Tyson, and of course the results are predictable.
While this brother seeks to be sensitive and soft to his wife, like he had been told to be since he was emasculated as a child, the sister sees him not as kind; but as weak and a punk. She does not see this as an opportunity to have a 50-50 relationship (as the priests of political correctness say), but as an opportunity to put this brother in check and make him a slave to her desires and make him shut up and do what the hell she says.
How will this affect Muslim children who see a weak father and a domineering mother? How will the little boys deal with this? These are things we need to be thinking of.
Since I am in the realist camp, whenever I see a situation such as this, I immediately tell the brother not to marry the sister; because I already know what is going to happen. Two questions also arise; why do the brothers want to marry these sisters and why do the sisters want to marry the brothers?
I think that most white-Muslims, including myself, see that entering Islam creates a separation from themselves and whiteness, and want their children to be raised to be part of an African-American or immigrant Muslim community. These brothers are also open-minded and idealistic about the value of inter-marriage (when in all reality they are much better suited to marry a white sister). Many times, because these brothers have much less game and are so much more naïve than those around them, slick-talking African-American brothers are able to pass off on them the sisters that nobody else wants who are crazy or less than physically appealing. Immigrant brothers may hook them up with a sister who is related to them and the brother is thinking deen and love and she is thinking Green Card and money.
The immigrant sister who is coming directly from overseas marries the brother for obvious reasons a lot of times; for the good of herself and her family as she will be able to live in America, send money home to the family, and arrange for her relatives to come over. This is strictly business for her and if the brother doesn’t approach it in that way, and none of these white Muslim brothers I know married to such sisters do, he will be steamrolled by the sister.
You have the other immigrant sister who has grown up in America , or has been here for a while, so she is not interested about papers; but may not want to marry her cousin, a dominant immigrant brother, and may have grown-up fetishizing American pop culture and this white brother is the closest thing to Brad Pitt she can find. This sister may still maintain a lot of the cultural values of her family when it comes to marriage and when she comes in contact with this brother she will dominate him, even if in a less overt way. For all practical purposes though this marriage will be a typical liberal-American marriage, which means that the woman will call the shots behind the farce of a 50-50 relationship.
Then you have the most grotesque example and that is of the African-American sister. This sister may have already been married (possibly multiple times) or even if she has never been married she is being hipped by those around her and she is seeking to avoid one of the many broke black brothers at the Masjid and she isn’t interested in marrying someone for papers and she has gotten word that these white brothers are an easy meal ticket. They will work, give you their money, not talk back and do what the hell you tell them to do. Because this brother is naïve; you can manipulate the hadith and the Sunnah of marriage to your advantage and sucker this brother into a miserable situation while you are spending his cash and there you have it.
If people in the Muslim community were using common sense they would be able to easily see that the best match for these white brothers is fellow white Muslim female converts or African-American and immigrant sisters who grew-up in similar backgrounds; but this is not happening. Partially because the white brothers are not thinking and do not want the white sisters, and the sisters themselves are being hotly pursued by immigrant brothers who have a white –fetish and what is best does not happen.
Let me also say that all white men do not fit this category and that I grew-up around white men who were men and the biggest man of them all in my life was my grandfather and even my father. But, there are few Muslims from the background I came from and many from the kids whose lunch money we used to steal.
What I recommend for white Muslim converts is classes on the art of Manliness and defeminization classes after taking shahadah and having some wise brothers counsel them before they get married, and even during their marriage, so they don’t disgrace themselves in front of their children. In closing I will say that this is the reason that I promote boxing, wrestling and other combat sports for Muslim boys, as is the Sunnah, to toughen them up in a nation of increasingly weak men.
“What is this love? What is this love Americans are always talking about? There is no love”.
Sheikh Muhammad al-Hanooti
“What you are going to learn here, and what you will leave here with, will stay with you for the rest of you lives. You will walk the streets as men, walk with confidence, you will know how to defend yourselves and your family, and you will be men.”
Coach Charlie Sherertz