Before moving to the United States, racial identity was simple for Salwa Hoque. She knew who she was: a woman, a Muslim, a Bengali. But that’s not who she is anymore. Moving to Seattle  has forced her to adapt in many ways, change some of her old beliefs. While some of her old friends from home can’t believe how different she is, she refuses to give up some of her old self.

DSC_0721You get a sense of her clashing identities the minute you walk into her apartment. You see one pair of her traditional sandals, flanked by a pair of TOMS on one side, and a pair of boots on the other.

DSC_0693She cooks stuffed chicken, but insists on using traditional spices she brought from Bangladesh, because “the food here is just too bland.”

DSC_0710 (2)Her friends are sometimes annoyed at her, because she is always late to parties. But her praying schedule keeps changing in this city and “it is so annoying sometimes.”

DSC_0699While she loves a lot of things about the United States, like Marvel and Superhero movies, she hates the little things. Like how the bed sheets in the stores are so mono-chromatic. So she brought her own from Bangladesh, to provide a “pop of color in this dreary weather.”

DSC_0687 (2)

In the end though, even though she misses Bangladesh, and wearing her traditional clothing, she loves Seattle and loves wearing plaid. It’s just “so Seattle!”

— Trisha Kaif

3 thoughts on “Dual Identities

  1. yanaolar

    Your post is really interesting in that it shows how different races in the U.S. can still maintain their cultural values while adapting to new ones in America. People with different racial backgrounds are still able to identify with more than one culture, and don’t need to completely hangs their lifestyle just because they’ve relocated. It’s great that your friend is able to keep cultural traditions while living in Seattle.

  2. simoneaisha

    I like how you did not show any faces in your photo essay. I think that it gave the essay more personality than if you had actually included your subject’s face. I think that the quality of the pictures were excellent and I enjoyed Salwa’s need for color in her life. It made me want to travel to Bangladesh and pick up some new bedspreads! I also liked how the picture showcased her dual identities, and showed how she has adapted to life in the northwest.

  3. christopherjduclos

    its really gotta be tough, adapting to a new culture and all. I can’t even begin to feel for the amount of inner strength it takes to leave your home country behind. It really takes a lot, you’re leaving your family, friends and in this case your own culture.

    While the adapting process can be a fun and interesting experience (as all new experiences are) its very important not to lose sight of who you are.

    great post, the photo angles really took the imagery to the next level. I can also recognize that this is the Nordheim apartment complex.


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