Holding Each Other Accountable

Khadija OmerSeptember 5, 2022Who Am I?

In the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, homophobia, sexism and racism are a way of life. In this huge country, lies a densely populated city, Lahore, and here, lies my community: my family, friends, and peers. We lived and arguably continue to live in an elitist bubble, utterly unaware of our privileges and the stench of entitlement that follows us. Getting out of the bubble or, at the very least, making me acknowledge the existence of one is how my community encouraged and supported my personal growth.

Part of being in a loving community that strives for the communal good is holding each other accountable. Growing up, I internalized some problematic notions: I considered femininity to be a weakness and was revolted by the sight of pink, I stereotyped and generalized everyone who wasn’t like me. I was a bully.

My community changed that.

My school forced me to empathize with the people I hurt, made me sit down and have conversations with them. Now, as a senior, I actively work against “ragging” of new students.

My father taught me what feminism is, that gender is a social construct based on arbitrary factors to oppress women, that the patriarchy is something I must fight against instead of blindly internalizing. My friends hold me accountable every day: they call me out if I make an insensitive comment, we have discussions about the effectiveness of call out culture and attend the “Aurat March” marches for women.

The point of this isn’t to say we’re perfect or “woke” but that all of us have a lot of problematic things to unlearn and the best thing my community ever did for me was support me in this process. Acknowledging our privilege was the first step. Then, we actively work against the system and dismantle the privileges it has unjustly given to us. Lastly, we help others.

Part of being a supportive community is holding your loved ones accountable; I hope I can support them as they have supported me.