Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis open access

First Advisor

Sarah Beth Kaufman


This paper analyzes 172 interviews collected in the summer of 2016 in San Antonio about how the religion of Islam was being talked about during the presidential election. Eighty-six out of the 172 respondents identified as a person of color and/or Muslim. Of those, 19 experienced anti-Muslim discrimination. However, I demonstrate that the people who experienced discrimination were not in fact always Muslim. Black men and non-hijab wearing White women, were able to avoid discrimination by passing or covering as non-Muslims either naturally or through altering their appearance. Sikh men who wear a turban, non-Muslim Arabs and Indians, were read as Muslim and therefore endured anti-Muslim discrimination. I argue that these people were transformed into racialized subjects, which made them vulnerable to physical and verbal discrimination from their fellow citizens. This had four significant impacts on their everyday lived realities, including: misidentification, fear of violence, altering one’s life, and stripping people read as Muslim of their cultural citizenship. This research demonstrates that we need to reconceptualize anti-Muslim discrimination as a new example of color-blind racism that includes people read as Muslim and excludes Muslims who pass as non-Muslim.