One of the core ideas behind Other Expats is to share the experiences that we as “other expats” have learned from, to help us all be better people and contribute more to the society.
Malcolm X in his 1962 speech pointed out that, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.” He was talking about America. But it applies to black women around the world.
In this episode of the Other Expats podcast, we reached out to Amal Adam, who notes that in addition to fielding ignorant questions, black women face an almost all-around pressure. “Sometimes it’s from our own people, other times it’s from outsiders—that’s why for us we have to always be perfect. Like, there’s no margin for making a mistake. Because doing so is going to attach everything negative to you. So you have to be the model black girl.” She noted that she generally doesn’t feel “unsafe” in Malaysia.
We talk about the prevalent anti-blackness culture—seen recently in the form of the Watsons Malaysia Hari Raya ad. Getting beauty products here that match her skin tone is almost impossible. With most products being marketed as making you ‘whiter’. And how being pro-black does not make you racist or anti-any-other-colour.
Oh, by now you’re probably wondering, “Behind what magic?”
Well, we also talked about #BlackGirlMagic, the movement that blogger, CaShawn Thompson, popularized in 2013 to “celebrate the beauty, power, and resilience of black women”. For Amal, “It was nice to see a term that blankets all of us (because there are also black people in Latin America, in the Caribbean, and African Americans) and allows us to celebrate ourselves, and being a woman.”
Meet our guest
My name: Amal Adam
What I do: I’m an IT analyst
Where I’m from: Somalia
Where I live: Petaling Jaya
My hobbies: Reading and travelling
The Other Expats’ sound design is by the Big Mean Sound Machine and the intro was created by the Small Room Production.