I didn't grow up in Chinatown. Neither did my mother and father. My ancestors didn't come to North America to pan for gold or build the railroad. No one in my family paid a head tax. Chinatown was just a place we visited every weekend to stock up on supplies. Even still, this neighbourhood, this community, this place we call "Chinatown" has become very near and dear to my heart.
These three, blonde, 20-somethings were dressed as cotton pickers and had painted their faces in the most offensive, unrealistic mud black I've ever seen. They said absolutely nothing, only smiled, mouth closed. Here before me, like never in my life, were three white people targeting us, the non-white people in the bar.
I am Malala. I come from a lineage of women who fought stereotypes, racism and bigotry in their adapted homes in North America. I continue to fight it here in Canada. I am Malala because I understand what it is like to have others want to silence you, your beliefs and your actions. Each and every single Muslim woman who has been a victim of racism, prejudice and bigotry is Malala.