The triple consciousness of black Muslim women: The experiences of first generation somali-canadian women activists

Hodan A. Mohamed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Based on a sample of Somali women activists in Canada, my purpose in this article is to explore the nature of triple consciousness of being Black Muslim women, and how it shapes the lived experiences and diaspora identity formation among Somali women in Canada. I specifically use the intersection of being Black Muslim women to critique the accepted narratives of Blackness, which exclude the experiences of Somali women, on the one hand; and prevailing discussions around Islamophobia which often erases the voices of Black Muslims, on the other. The results of data reveal several important findings. First, the findings challenge the conventional sociological definition of Blackness as non-divergent and monolithic identity. The Somali women activists I interviewed have indicated that, yes, they are Black, but they are also Somali and Muslim; and being Somali, Muslim and Black in Canada has a different trajectory than being Caribbean and Black or Black that fled the United State to come to Canada 250 years ago, which is completely a different kind of Blackness. Second, this triple consciousness Somali women experience in Canada is about reconciling one‘s multiple identities as Black Muslim woman in a settler colonial land that is constantly questioning their sense of belonging if not humanity. Third, the participants‘encounters with anti Blackness and Islamophobia situate them on the precipitant of non-Black majority Muslim communities and non-Muslim Black communities, thus placing Somali women on a separate socio-political and religious sphere. In this article, I hope to explore the complexity of Blackness and diaspora identity of first generation Somali women activists, since current literature around Black diaspora does not incorporate within its theoretical analysis the role Muslim identity plays within the context of Black women in North America. I will also critique the notion of Blackness that excludes the Somali community, by analyzing the term 'Somalinimo,‘both as an adjective to describe the Somali community in Canada, and an adverb that denotes characteristics that include Blackness and Muslimness. Ultimately, my research explores what Somalinimo means to first generation Somali Canadian women, one where the intersectionality of their multiple identities is acknowledged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-42
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Somali Studies
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Adonis and Abbey Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Anti-blackness
  • Blackness
  • Diaspora identity
  • Intersectionality
  • Misogynoir
  • Muslimness
  • Somalinimo
  • Triple consciousness


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