shaz-da-baz asked: Hello, I love that you're going to be writing a Pakistani Muslim Ms Marvel comic! I have one major concern and that is the representation of of my race and culture. In an interview you referred to being Pakistani having a lot of baggage. This made me take a step back and think, wait the writer who is going to representing my race thinks that it is baggage? I wrote a post on my blog going into more depth. We Pakistanis need a positive role model that are proud of their heritage and embrace it.
Thanks for writing in with such a thoughtful observation. In the NYT interview—which may not have been obvious from the selected quotes that made it into the final copy—when I was talking about baggage, I was referring to the baggage of stereotypes and the burden of representation. Kamala certainly doesn’t see being Pakistani as having baggage. What I was trying to say (perhaps not in the most eloquent fashion) is that she, like so many second-generation kids growing up in the US, feels like the child of two worlds—and not just two worlds, but two worlds that are portrayed in the media (and in global politics) as being somehow intrinsically opposed to one another. She wants to make her parents proud, and at the same time she wants to fit in with her mainstream American peers. That’s a lot for a sixteen year old to handle, especially at a time when there is so much scrutiny and suspicion surrounding the Muslim community in the US. That’s what I meant by “baggage.” This is a dilemma I think about a lot…my own children (who are still very small) are half Egyptian, and I worry about how they will manage growing up as Arab and American and Muslim at a time when the world is telling them they can’t—or shouldn’t—be proud of any of those identities, or that they have to choose one over the rest. It’s my hope that Kamala will—in some small, entirely symbolic way—help to right those wrongs.
Thanks for listening.