Final Blog

FOR my final blog and presentation, I decided to focus on religious and cultural holidays among minorities. I have always felt as a minority that my Islamic holidays are never acknowledged, and I know that I am not the only minority or individual that feels this way. Many others have felt this way and believe that there needs to be a sense of unity and acknowledgement among all communities. Some districts and cities have received this unity and have had their voices heard resulting in students receiving holiday break. However, I feel that this is not enough! I feel that nationally we should all obtain holiday break for Islamic, Judaism, Hindu, and holidays or events that are associated with disenfranchised groups.

I know it will take some time for this change to officially occur, but knowing that some communities have been able to have some success gives me some hope! Which definitely gives me a different perspective on the future outcome of this social injustice.

FOR my final project, I have created a Prezi! I thought it would be a great way to demonstrate my presentation in an interactive form. It will touch on why I believe this is a social injustice issue, list some of the districts that have implemented holiday break, and what we can do as social workers to create awareness on this topic.

THIS is the link:

I hope you all enjoy my presentation and I look forward to your comments/feedback!

PS. It was a pleasure being able to read everyone’s blogs and gain a better perspective on everyone’s culture, beliefs, and view on life! I feel like I have gained so much knowledge from all the blogs and the comments that everyone has left for me. Thank you for all the love and appreciation! 🙂


Popular Education

I personally have never heard of the term of “Popular Education” before, so I was very curious to read and explore this topic. After reading Paolo Freire’s definition and reading about what this meant to him, I was quite surprised with his views on Popular Education (PE). I actually loved his perspective on PE and I completely agreed with his ideology regarding it. I do believe that education could lessen oppression of minorities. I do not believe that it will take away oppression completely, but I do believe furthering your education could significantly impact a person’s perspective.


I know that when I started obtaining my bachelor’s degree I was stunned to see and learn about the amount of discrimination and prejudice that occurred in the healthcare field. I think I was very naïve to believe that everyone received the medical care that they needed and were treated ethically since individuals are at such a critical moment. However, that was not the case and many minorities were treated immorally and with hate because of their skin color, ethnicity, race, religion, and age. After learning all this information and reading on case studies regarding these issues, it frustrated. It made me want to make sure that if I were to ever work in the healthcare field or in any field that I would treat every individual with the highest level of respect and morals. I believe me obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Health Policy Studies and a minor in Public Health I would have never been aware of this problematic issue in the healthcare field.

CURRENTLY, I am receiving my Masters in Social Work, and I feel that I am being exposed again to a different perspective on society. My outlook on this world is changing again and causing me to feel all sorts of emotions. I feel PE is present in the social work field and I think with this degree and the experiences most individuals encounter could be the possible reasoning behind students/people wanting to dive into this field. Most people including myself want to advocate for minorities and underprivileged groups to have the allocation to certain resources. I believe advocacy is a form of PE since advocacy will lead to dialogue and change. I think the only time I have been a Popular Educator is when I am educating others about my Hijab, my Islamic religion, and information regarding my Middle Eastern heritage. I will voice my opinion when others try to stereotype or make false allegations regarding my identity. Being a minority aids me when I want to support other minorities and bring awareness.

POPULAR Education is an excellent tool to combat some forms of oppression because I believe that education is the key to bring awareness to issues that we may face in society. It causes motivation and determination among people to want to work harder to remove risk factors and eliminate any obstacles that could become problematic. As Paolo mentioned, PE will lead to action and will lead people to create an impact and take these oppressive issues to a larger platform. People will gain confidence and believe that a change can occur, these ideas will lead to action. Education will bring awareness, change, and will give the world a different lens to look through.

KIMBERLY Crenshaw mentioned in her TED talked about what intersectionality is, giving me a better idea of what intersectionality is defined as. For instance, she talked about how she had met Emma, a black woman, a woman who was marginalized because of her race and gender. Which then had me thinking about how she thought of all of this as if it were to be an intersection of a road, how her gender was one street and her race was another. Then how these two streets intersected right where Emma is, an intersection missed by many. I have to admit I am guilty of missing that intersection, an intersection that I now believe is the most important part of a road.

WHEN people miss this intersection they tend to forget how important the traits every person carries can affect their opportunities and the way they may live their lives. Intersectionality could consist of the following or more:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Ableism
  • Religion
  • Language
  • Income
  • Age
  • Culture
  • Education

ALL of these traits somehow concede with each other and may put a person at a disadvantage and create a greater form of oppression.

I personally have never thought of how a person could have multiples ways of being oppressed. I always knew that me being Muslim, a Hijabi (a woman who wears the traditional headscarf), an Arab, and a woman would put me at a disadvantage, but I was never aware with how it could be labeled. I never realized or understood that every single one of these traits that I identify with, came with its own form of oppression. I’ve always known that there are many things that I could not participate in because I’m of Arab descent or for being affiliated with Islam. I always looked at all of this as a whole, and I now know that each characteristic should be taken into consideration separately.

INTERSECTIONALITY I believe plays a key role in Islam and the Hijab, which is the traditional headscarf. Being Muslim in this society is completely different from being a Muslim that wears the headscarf. A Muslim that does not visibly look Muslim, will have more opportunities than a Muslim that does wear the Hijab. Why is this? It is because people associate the Hijab with stereotypical ideas and a form of oppression on women in the religion. It also considers these women as practicing Muslims and additionally, some may look at it as a way to possibly exemplify of what one’s ethnicity could be. Consequently, when a Muslim does not wear the Hijab is it difficult for others to see if they are Muslim or what their race or ethnicity could possibly be. The intersectionality road here is when a person like me is Muslim and wears the Hijab, then another road is connected which consists of my gender. This intersection has led to many social inequalities to occur in my life and on a daily basis.

AS a future social worker, I think it is crucial to be attentive to intersectionality in practice to be able to help others and obtain a better understanding of what the situation consists of.  As Kimberly had mentioned in the TED talk, if you do not know what the problem is, then how can we fix it? Being aware of all the information and being a critical thinker will assist in practice to come to a possible solution.

Final Project- Cultural and Religious Holidays Among Minorities

A topic I think I would like to focus on is the lack of celebration or acknowledgment regarding diversity in the United States. I believe that diversity is not equally shared when pertaining to holidays. For instance, I have recently come to the realization that only Christian holidays are celebrated among businesses and schools. Thus, leading employees and students to have off on the days these events occur.

WHICH then made me think of the following:

  • Why is it when other religious or cultural holidays are occurring they are not given the same recognition?
  • What are people doing to have their voices heard to be able to celebrate on these days?
  • How many groups have petitioned to have off on their cultural or religious holiday permanently and have succeeded?
  • What can I do as a minority to have the same celebratory rights as others?

ADDITIONALLY, I also feel that society generally under represents other minority groups culture and beliefs. Maybe it is an indirect form for minorities to assimilate to the dominant culture or beliefs.

AS a child, I attended a private school and when these events came around I received holiday break and was able to enjoy these moments with my family. Later on when I transferred to a new school, a charter school, which consisted mostly of an Arab-American population I still received some days off of school. However, as a college student and an employee, I did not receive that holiday break anymore. When Islamic or Middle Eastern holidays occurred I would miss out on celebrating and commemorating these events. I would feel that I never truly received the chance to enjoy these moments or reflect on the importance of this event. The only time I would receive off is when it was mandated by the government to have off.

IT bothers me a lot knowing that my culture and beliefs are not important, and it bothers me even more that other minority groups are treated the same as well. I would like to dive in deeper and do research on this topic to obtain a better understanding of why this is done. Additionally, I would like to see how other groups of people feel and what they have done to try to have their voice heard. I know that in my high school we would have cultural diversity day and in the state of New York they gave students off for some Islamic holidays as well. I am curious to see if there are any other districts, cities, and states that have implemented cultural diversity in their school calendar or possibly in the workforce; also why other places have not. I am eager to do research on other groups like Jews and Hindus, to gain a better understating of what they believe of this topic and how it affects them as well.

Hate Crimes-SW560

HATE crimes have existed since the beginning of time and have affected multiple groups of people. Since 1865 the Ku Klux Klan has been one of the most notable groups to participate in such acts of hate and violence (Celep, 2014). They have targeted all classifications of people, however, African-Americans have suffered the most under their regime. The goal was to keep racial segregation in practice in hopes to keep the “White Race” enact (Celep, 2014). However, fast forward to the present and hate crimes have still been in action and incrementally increasing towards minorities. Statistics have shown that 66.2% of hate crimes were towards Africans Americans and the reasoning or bias behind it were due to anti-black bias (FBI, 2013). In some instances, it may not be race that has people targeted, it could be religion, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. Anything that could differentiate one from the dominant group could possibly play a role in a hate crime to occur. For instance, 11.6% of religious hate crimes have been among individuals from the Islamic faith (FBI, 2013).

PEOPLE should not have to culturally assimilate themselves to the majority to be accepted and should not be punished if they do not want to adhere. For crimes to occur because of someone’s skin color or religious affiliation is absolutely shocking and unethical. One should not suffer because of their race or ethnicity, and as a matter of fact, one should not suffer for any reason, to begin with. As a minority, I do not understand the biases that contribute to individuals to feel that they would need to attack others. People should be culturally sensitive and respect others regardless of the differences. I believe there are more similarities amongst us all then there are differences.

MAJORITY of the hate crimes occurring today are from individuals from the dominant group, which are white people. From what I have been witnessing in the news, are acts of hate and violence coming from white people towards African-Americans, Muslims, and other alienated groups. The most frustrating thing about all of this is the lack of awareness of what a hate crime is and who is being held liable. The reasoning’s for all of these crimes are associated with stereotypes and assumptions. Many of the offenders that are taken to prosecution always plead some form of psychological illness instead of being held liable for the real intentions behind their attacks. Also, more than half of the hate crimes that occur are underreported and I believe is unfairly documented in the media (Gurman and Contreras, 2017). With social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, many issues will be brought to light and start conversations on hate crimes that occur in small towns or towards minorities. However, these stories will never make it on news channels or have the story covered.

PEOPLE should be held liable for their actions and should be persecuted to bring justice to minorities and their families. It is disappointing to see and hear hate crimes against white people are not taken lightly and are highly publicized in the media. While on the other hand, if a person of color is discriminated against it is considered an unimportant matter or that it was not a hate crime; regardless, if the person of color was murdered or severely abused. I feel that the platform for minorities to express themselves and to be treated equally is nonexistent. It should not be dangerous for us minorities to speak out and voice our concerns. We should be able to live our lives the way the dominant group does. We should be allowed to celebrate and take part in our culture, religious affiliation, and embrace our ethnicity without being harassed. A change must occur and I feel hate crime laws need to be stricter and need to be reflected when trying to settle the situation. I believe that there should be more investigation and people involved to get to the truth. As humans, we need to be able to confide to each and not fear each other. Embracing individuality and diversity are the keys to live in a thriving and accepting environment.

Oppression At A Personal Level

MULLALLY’S definition of oppression on a personal level focused on why oppression occurs and how it continues to worsen. He emphasized how derogatory comments are made regarding one’s physical appearance, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and gender. That these hurtful words are directed towards people from marginalized communities or groups. Additionally, he focused on how these words could have such an impact on people and how they live their lives. Thus, strengthen the outcome for the dominant group to stay in authority due to little action taken regarding their behavior.

HE highlighted two forms of oppression at the personal level:

  1. Conscious Acts of Aggression and/or Hatred

This form of oppression is heavily associated with physical appearance and that the dominant group tends to comment and emotionally distress minorities about. Thus, making them believe that the way they look does not conform to normal standards or that it is a form of deviance when compared to them. The action of violence will also be conveyed against minorities and will associate them with stereotypes to continue to have control over them.

  1. Unconscious Acts of Aversion and Avoidance

Unconscious acts of aversion and avoidance, in my opinion, is a very common form of oppression. Since many people in this category may have fear or become uncomfortable when in the vicinity of people of color. They may also act differently when encountering individuals or groups that are associated with stereotypes. This form of oppression is difficult to approach since it is not completely clear on what type of oppression or racism is actually occurring.

I have been affected by both forms of oppression at the personal level due to being a Muslim and for wearing the traditional headscarf, the Hijab. Oppression is something I deal with on a daily basis. As an Arab-American woman who wears the Hijab, I encounter obstacles and discrimination everyday. The dominant groups associate the Hijab as a form of oppression that is forced and disadvantages Muslim women. However, these assumptions and stereotypes are far from the truth, this is not what the Hijab is all about. My Hijab symbolizes pride, respect, modesty, strength, and spirituality. These characteristics have embodied me with strength and courage to be myself and only myself.

UNCONSCIOUS acts of aversion and avoidance are the type of oppression that occurs around me the most. I can obviously tell when others do not want to be around me out of fear or that they feel uncomfortable because of my Hijab. However, sometimes I feel that they only participate in this act of aversion and avoidance, not because they have anything against me, but because they are scared of what others might think if they befriended me.

WE perpetuate oppression by not defending others and instead conform with privileged groups, this is done to protect our associated privilege or out of fear for our safety. I have had my fair share of public discrimination and I have not conformed to staying quiet unless I have fear over my safety (which is rare for me to do). However, instead of being a bystander like most others I take action when anyone wants to discriminate towards me. I do not allow others to bring me or my people down, I own who I am and am not afraid to show it. Wither the bigotry was towards my community or not, I will not stand for such hatred and disrespect.

SPEAKING up and advocacy are the keys to change and for a new perspective to be developed. Education is also vital, having an understanding of the meaning of culture and diversity will give other groups an idea of why we need this diversification to occur in this world. Encouraging others to ask questions is also a great way to learn about others. I would feel more comfortable if people asked me why I wore the Hijab than them staring at me or becoming uncomfortable. We need to love one another for our dissimilarities and embrace the uniqueness since we need color in our lives. We all need to come to the realization that we are MORE alike than dissimilar. The reality of all of this will not be fixed over night, but any work we put towards this change wither it was defending others or advocating for equality is better than silence.



MY name is Nour Ismail and I am from Lebanon, a country located in the middle east. However, I was born in Brooklyn, NY and was raised in Dearborn, MI throughout my entire childhood. Being an Arab-American Muslim is one the greatest things I could identify as and to be apart of. I am constantly exposed to different languages, cultures, and food! I feel very fortunate to be exposed to a world that is rich in diversity.

AS a minority,  I am very excited to be apart of a course where I can continue to grow and learn from others. Starting my journey as a graduate student is a completely different environment than undergrad and is a bit scary! However, it’s moments like this where I truly learn and have a new perspective and appreciation to new cultures.

THE definition of social justice and diversity could vary depending on ones views; for me I believe that the meaning behind it is associated with the amount of opportunities and advantages minority groups have. I also feel that the inequalities minorities may encounter, like disparities in the healthcare field or the insignificant amount of opportunities given to minorities, could also be correlated with social justice and diversity.

SOCIAL workers are fighters for justice on all levels, without them and the field I don’t think we would be able to confine to outside sources for help. Social workers provide all the care possible to better the community, people, families, students, and most importantly themselves. We are always growing and should constantly look for growth because there is always room for improvement. The connection of social justice and diversity is closely correlated due to social workers constantly wanting to fight for equality and justice for all. They have empathy, morals, and humility when helping others because they value the positive progress in people’s lives.

I hope in this course I take away as many perspective as possible and learn more in-depth about social justice. So I could practice social justice in my every day life. I feel I can contribute the information and experiences I have being a women, Muslim, Arab, and a minority to this course. I believe this course will take me on a journey to grow from others, learn with my classmates, and present what I have to offer.


THE end for now!