Olympic fencer Muhammad: ‘My hijab is liberating’

No matter how talented, no matter how rich, no matter how famous, it seems every celebrity who is a member of a minority group has a story or ten about the times when their status was not a shield against common racism, sexism or some other form of discrimination.

Whether it’s media mogul Oprah Winfrey not being allowed to shop at a high-end boutique, or acclaimed actor Samuel L. Jackson being forced by police to lie face-down on the pavement for the crime of standing outside a restaurant, the stories are common among entertainers and politicians and athletes alike.

As a Muslim female in the United States who wears the hijab, Ibtihaj Muhammad is no stranger to discrimination and ignorance.

The 30-year-old Muhammad is a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic fencing team. She is the first Muslim woman to compete in fencing internationally for the U.S., and is the first U.S. Olympian in any sport to compete while wearing the hijab.

In a video posted by The Players’ Tribune, Muhammad talks about encountering ignorance and how she doesn’t allow it to hold her back:

Muhammad was recently named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2016.

The Rio Olympics begin August 5.

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