Irteza Binte-Farid

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9984

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Binte-Farid, Irteza (Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania) "Ethical Self-Cultivation Amongst Black Muslim Youth"

IRTEZA BINTE-FARID, then a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a grant in August 2020 to aid research on ‘Ethical Self-Cultivation amongst Black Muslim Youth,’ supervised by Dr. Kathleen Hall. Black Muslim youth in Philadelphia engaged in ethical self-cultivation through Islamic learning and through increased activism for black lives during the pandemic. Many Black Muslim youth drew on Islamic explanations to explain racial inequality’religious belief, therefore, was not separate from racial understanding. Students found religious community online through Instagram and Zoom. Racial self-understanding developed in multiple sites, including Instagram, Zoom history classroom, as well as virtual discussions with peers. Many Black Muslim youth supported Black Lives Matter (BLM). However, they overwhelmingly critiqued the America-centric focus of BLM. Students advocated for African lives to matter too under BLM. Students also hoped for justice for persecuted Muslims globally. The greater use of online platforms during the pandemic encouraged student expressions of political activism, particularly in regard to preserving black life. The history classroom provided a space for students to discuss variable ethnic understandings of black history, particularly about the Atlantic Slave Trade. Blackness is not monolithic, and, for the students, history enriched their understanding of racial and ethnic identities. Some students also used Islamic rationales to explain the pandemic. Religious explanations of the need for expiation framed their view of coronavirus, underscoring the importance of religion in people’s everyday lived experiences.