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Author Topic: Arabs and the Racial Lessons of 9/11  (Read 6342 times)
Bantu_Kelani
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« on: September 30, 2003, 10:03:59 AM »

Arabs and the Racial Lessons of 9/11

By Carol Chehade

Profiled, feared, detained, assaulted, accused, interrogated, harassed, hated, and collectivized since 9-11, Arab Americans have suddenly known what it feels like to be temporarily Black. Although it is wrong to treat Arab Americans like criminals, we shouldn't be surprised when we are treated in ways African Americans have been treated for centuries. Still, many in my Arab American community are surprised when we are treated un-White. We figured that if we played by the racial rules of this country, we would be bypassed in receiving some of the bigotry that Blacks routinely receive.

Yet, that old cliché of what goes around comes around finally showed itself to be more than another cliché. The backlash we're now receiving is from the same whip we've borrowed to lash out against African Americans. Currently, the Arab American community is having a hard time trying to figure out why we've been racially demoted from ethnic house slave to ethnic field slave. I am less disappointed in how my ethnic group has been signaled out and more disappointed in how we have been pathetically courting the very White privilege that has the power to decide which group will be signaled out. We need to be completely honest as Arab Americans and ask ourselves whether or not we have been ethnic models of anti-racism. My heart tells me no. Although 9-11 represents many things to different people, one of its most interesting features is how the events after 9-11 can gauge how far we've come in understanding the disease of racism.

As I walked through diverse neighborhoods in New York City shortly after the carnage of 9-11, I noticed many non-Black people of color had aggressively decorated their homes and vehicles with American flags. The more immigrants in the area or the more the residents resembled Arabs, the more flags I saw lightly fluttering in the air. I thought to myself that it is too bad Black people can not lightly wave their flags in the air whenever members from their own race experienced problems. Unlike Arab Americans, the flag that African Americans know is so heavily drenched in blood and tears that it can never lightly flutter anywhere. Looking at how Arab Americans use flags reminds me of the Biblical story of God instructing the Hebrews to mark their doors with blood so that the wrath of God would bypass them.

Like countless immigrant communities before 9-11, many Arab Americans freely participated in covert and overt acts of racism against African Americans. This is no secret to Black people who already know that Arab Americans have the same type of superiority complex that European Americans do. This superiority complex is not only evident in the way we act toward Black people but in the way we choose to disassociate ourselves from their community. Our disassociation would not be so evident if we weren't ruthlessly trying to move up the racial hierarchy so that we can be closer to Whiteness. Unfortunately, every non-Black immigrant group has worked hard to secure a so-called respectable place above Blacks on the racial hierarchy. When groups like Italians, Jews, Hispanics, Asians, and now Arabs have faced their turn to be questioned on their allegiance to upholding the caste structure, few fully challenged the legitimacy of this racist pre-condition to be accepted as Americans.

As the Arab American community contends with the discrimination we're facing, we have been a little more sympathetic about some of the issues African Americans have always contended with, but which we did not believe until they started happening to us. Instead of seeing the bigger picture of racism by creating permanent and stronger ties with the Black community, we often use such ties as a temporary refuge, a temporary residence where we find people sensitive to our plight. I say temporary because we are not trying to stay "Black." In contrast, the only impermanent feelings we have toward Whites is that our eviction from Whiteness is nothing more than a temporary inconvenience. As long as we repay our dues by not challenging Whiteness in any real way then Whites, in exchange, will trust us again and re-induct us back into the racial position we held prior to 9-11. History has shown us that as long as we follow the formula of selling out our color to the highest bidder, then Whiteness will accept us back quicker than they will Blacks.

The proof of us using Blacks as temporary residence is exemplified in the way that we are more concerned with bigotry toward our community without facing the racism that comes from our community. If we really wanted the Black community as a permanent residence, then we'd put more effort and care to resolve our issues. An analogy is that if a man does not truly care for a woman, rarely will he take the time to explore her complexities because he knows he's only with her temporarily. Arabs have a lazy attitude in relations with Blacks because we are simply buying time in order to invest in the desired habitat of Whiteness. We become another of a long line of people who use the Black community and then discard it for something perceived as better. As a result, we invalidate our cries of discrimination by perpetuating the very thing of which we complain. Our temporary exile from Whiteness should serve as a wake-up call as to whether we want to be re-instated into a racial hierarchy that wields so much unearned power.

We look so racially arrogant when we complain to Black people about our brushes with bigotry. Stereotypes against Arab Americans have never been powerful enough to enslave us. An international event had to take place for the eyes of Whiteness to look down upon us, whereas those very eyes have been obsessively watching Blackness despite Black people having done nothing. It took the worst terrorist attack on American soil for Arab Americans to be mistreated, whereas all it took for African Americans to be mistreated was to be on American soil. If Black Africans instead Arabs had brought terrorism to our shores, there would have been a race war in this country. And judging by the way the Arab American community has treated African Americans, I don't think the majority of us would jeopardize our climb up the racial hierarchy be siding with them.

With all of the ignorance the Arab American community has been victim to, we still haven't fully learned our racial lessons due to the fact we still want our full Whiteness back. One of the most seductive privileges of Whiteness is that it allows us to blend back into the racial comfort zone where we're not constantly questioned. All non-Black people of color have been able to enjoy this, albeit conditional, racial comfort zone. Being a "minority" has less to do with what we look like and more to do with how we think. A real minority means someone who destroys the power of Whiteness. Since African Americans have done this more than any of us -often without choice- they produce more "minorities" than other ethnic group of color. Arab Americans can never be real "minorities" as long as we routinely switch racial allegiances to the side that best serves us at the moment. We change our positions with as much speed as Whiteness has in disowning those who challenge the false pretences it takes to become White. We exhibit this non-committal, part-time "minority" status whenever we want some the perceived benefits of minorities without giving up the privileges of Whiteness.

Until we can build an equal relationship with the Black community that does not position Arab Americans with the upper hand, then I will not bastardize the Black struggle by joining it with the Arab American struggle. As long as we crave the approval of Whiteness, our relationship with the Black community will be dysfunctional.

Like all wars, 9-11 brought a country together over a shared common enemy. This superficial unity will fall apart as soon as that enemy is shown its place and the only way to keep this deceptive unity going is to find another common enemy. The most returned to common enemy in our country has been Black people. Our country may have short-term affairs with other enemies such as Arabs, but as soon as these short-term affairs die out, then it always goes back to the enemy it has abused the longest. Arab Americans have a tremendous opportunity to alter this pattern by not enabling it with our consent to support the indiscretions of racial superiority. If we are to be positive additions to the United States, then we have to strengthen what makes us weak, and one of the biggest things that weaken us as a nation is racism.

Carol Chehade is an activist and writer with a book titled Big Little White Lies: Our Attempt to White-Out America. Further information can be found at www.nehmarchepublishing.com.

Copyright © 2002 Carol Chehade

-- February 28, 2003

http://www.seeingblack.com/2003/x022803/arabs.shtml

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We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Bantu_Kelani
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« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2003, 10:12:56 AM »

The Arabs have done and are continuing to do great and severe injustices to Africa and black Africans. Arabs don't consider black people as equal human beings. Arab racism is more evident in the periphery of the Arab Middle East. But even in the Arab centre - Saudi Arabia for instance, being "Black" is synonymous with "slave" and are used interchangeably, suggestive of their psychological racial superiority and Black inferiority. A Saudi for instance will talk of  "el jazam el aabda ("aadba means slave in English and jazam means shoes.) when wanting to purchase black shoes, translated into English (the slave shoe). Arab slavery and imperialism is an unknown tragedy, which produces misconceptions among the black communities. This is dangerous! For example, a good number of African Americans seem to confuse Africanism with Arabism. In an attempt to escape white cultural domination, African Americans and blacks elsewhere are turning in large numbers to Islam. Lacking any historical or contemporary knowledge lacking any historical or contemporary knowledge of Arab slavery, they are adopting Arab names and culture as a way of avoiding slave names and heritage.

If black Africans and African Americans are going to demand for reparations then we have to demand for reparations from both the Arab World and the West. I am for reparations, but all culprits must pay us for the evils committed to black Africans. We must be alert to realize the manipulative games the Arabs are playing on us. Very soon we black people may be switching masters from whites to Arabs.

Once again 'Carol Chehade' speak the TRUTH!! Very informative Article!

Bantu-Kelani.
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We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Ras_Joe
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2003, 01:19:37 PM »

Yes Queen the European as well as Arabs should pay for the destruction that they have caused to the mentall and physical of the African. People must know that before the European the Arabs enslaved Africans through the use of Islam, then came the European with Christianity. So as you said they both must be held accountable.

Intinue to Teach, FiyaQueenKelani

Peace

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Bantu_Kelani
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2003, 12:14:18 PM »

Borther JOE you feel me?

Nobody from the AFRO race, whether they are African, West Indian or African-American has been instrumental in 9/11 terrorist happenings, it just is none of our business! White people created the problem. It is an exterior one, near whites attacking and trying to destroy whites. See.  

As we ALL know, the cases of Sudan, Mauritania prove that Arabs are never with us, they are ALWAYS against blacks. Therefore, it is time we black Africans only support the black Negroid Africans and throw further light on Arab aggression supported by the West, instead of wasting our time being involved in whites and near whites tribal and cultural problems.


Bantu-Kelani.

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We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
illskillz
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2003, 03:56:31 PM »

I&I WONDER WHEN DREADS WILL BE ABLE TO TRULY REASON THEMSELVES TO LIBERATION. AS A YOUNG LION OF THE DIAPORIA, IN MY YOUTH AT TIMES I&I LOOKED TO MY ELDERS FOR LEADERSHIP AND GUIDANCE BUT AS I&I GREW I'S BLESSING SOON OVERSTOOD MY ELDER BREADREN. I&i NOW RELIZE THAT THE ELDERS ARE WITHOUT BOTH THE WISDOM AND THE FORITUDE TO LEAD TO ANY SUBSTANCIAL MOVEMENTS. THIS IS NOT MEANT AS A DISRESPECT BUT AS A TRUE REASON OF THE I.  

FOR THE I NOT TO RELIZE THAT THE FOE OF MY FOE IS THEREFOE (WORDPLAY) MY FRIENDS, IS WONDEROUS. THE ARABS AND THE NORTH KOREANS ARE THE ONLY ONES STANDING UP AGIANST WHITE SUPRAMACY AND WORLD DOMINATION OF THE FOOL'S WORLD ORDER. I&I SIGHT THAT, NOW IS NOT THE OPPERTUNE TIME TO SIGHT OUR PAST GREIVEANCES WITH THE ARAB PEOPLE WHO INDEED TREATED US MUCH BETTER IN SLAVERY THAN THE CHATTEL SITUTATION WE FOUND HERE IN THE DIAPORIA, AM I RIGHT IN MY REASONING.
    NOW IT CAN BE NOTED THAT SLAVERY IS WRONG REGARDLESS, ONE MUST REALIZE THAT IT HAS BEEN AROUNDS AS LONG AS HUMANITY, FROM EGYPT (KEMIT) TO AFRICA IT'S SELF, WRITTEN OF IN THE BIBLE AND OTHER BOOKS, INDENTURED SERVATUDE WAS A WAY OF LIFE IN THE OLD WORLD, THE IDEA IS THAT WHAT HAPPENED HERE WAS OFF THE WIRE, AND WE SHOULDNT TRY TO DRAW METAPHORIC REFERENCE OR WE WILL ISOLATE OURSELVES IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST A COMMON FOE, AND THUS DEVIDING AND CONCOURING OUR OWNSELVES. WE NEED ALL THE ALLIES WE CAN GET RIGHT ABOUT NOW. ARE WE HERE TO CARP AND COMPLAIN OR HERE TO REASON. REASONALBLLY SPEAKING WE NEED TO SUPPORT THE ARABS IN PALISTINE AS WELL AS THE OCCUPIED POOR PEOPLE OF IRAQ.  WE HAVE TO STOP THIS WE HAVE SUFFERED MORE THAN YOU SO I CANT FEEL  YOUR PAIN TYPE THING.
THE EU CAN UNITE EVEN WITH THE US AFTER THE PROBLEMS THEY ARE HAVING THEY STILL SPEAK WE ARE EVEN AT THAT STAGE, AND WE WONDER WHY WHITES ARE CONTROLING MOST OF THE WORLD WITH MINICULE POPULATIONS AND NATURAL RESOURCES. WE NEED TO  USE OUR ENERGIES NOT TO FIGHT WITH IN OUR OWN CYPHER AND UNITE TO BRING FORTH PEACE AND LIVITITY.  

ONE BLOOD FROM A YOUNG LION.    THE FUTURE IS ON
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Yann
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2003, 06:35:18 PM »

A good understanding of our history is always instrumental when trying to discern the carnival that passes for modern-day politics. It is also instrumental in pointing the best way forward. As Africans we have often made the mistake of collaborating with our enemies thinking they were our friends. The catch phrase of unity is a convenient one for many who do not understand history or want to truly deal with the real issues that face us.

To say that now is the time to unite with the Arabs is an irrelevant and uninformed statement. As the article above aptly showed, the Arabs have no need or desire to unite with African people! Their track record has shown what they think of us, in the past as well as in the present. You seem to believe that African and Arabs have a common enemy. This is a superficial conclusion. In fact, when one examines the history we will see that the history of Africa and the Middle East is riddled with the same colourism that we see taking place within the African Diaspora. The servitude that existed within Africa for centuries was worlds apart from the slavery (and I purposefully make this distinction) that took place under Islamic/Arabic and European domination. The economic advantages of slavery and feelings of racial and colour superiority on the part of the slavemasters remain the same so I see no need to make a distinction between Arab and European slavery. As a matter of fact, Arabic trade in black bodies continues well into our times. The treatment of black Africans by ‘near white’ Arabs has been little different from their treatment by white Europeans. That is plain fact.  It would be wise to do some extensive reading on the difference between servitude and slavery in Africa both before and after European intervention to get a full understanding of this issue.

Looking at our present day situation, we see that glossing over our history will not work. Just as we try to gloss over the rampant colourism within our own black community we try to gloss over the same thing in our relationship with all non-white communities. We are not united! It is only a fool who tries to unite/collaborate with those who hate him thinking mistakenly that they can all benefit from unity against a common enemy. The truth is many near whites would simply take the place of the oppressor against African people if given the chance. That does not make all whites or near-whites evil. It just makes them victims of the same white supremacist system that elevates lightness over darkness. Until we address this properly by engaing the history there can be no true unity.

The idea of supporting the enemy of your enemy has never been a smart one and is the device of politicians, not right thinking informed people. The enemy of your enemy might well turn out to be your enemy. When you have gone so far into the wilderness counting on your enemy’s enemy to be your ally and then you turn around and find them conveniently united against you… ahhh what then?
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Bantu_Kelani
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2003, 07:54:53 AM »

YAN MY QUEEN, YOU SUMMED IT UP NICELY. THANK YOU! WE NOW KNOW THE TRUTH AND HOW SWEET IT IS TO HAVE THAT EXTRA INFORMATION!!


In ASIA a lot of anti black racism goes on without white interference. Let's not forget that dark skinned  Melanesians and in South Pacific have always been looked down upon in Asian society. The only time the racists among them side with blacks is when white folks turns on them. When whites accept them back they then go back to calling us "niggers" again.   Illskillz try to deny it all you want and create a new RAINBOW race that nobody looks today. The "Let us Unite and Get Along" rhethoric  makes you feel comfortable but you know the TRUTH!

THESE ARE WELL DOCUMENTED, the invasion of the Semites which include the Arab and Hebrew peoples (especially during Caliph Mansur) of KEMET (so called Egypt) ushered in the destruction of Negroid people societal structures, families, pyramids, temples, loges, universities, etc. The same happened in the Kushitic era. You cannot begin to name the Ngawas, Fulanis, Lebous, Nubians, etc... eradicated from North Africa! Arabs did not stop there, between the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries Arab barbarian herds used to invade and burn and scourge institutions in Ghana and later Mali Empire... LOOK ACROSS NORTH AFRICA! Arabs from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Sudan have stolen our lands from us. Once they came in Africa, millions of kinky-hair-dark-skinned-black-Africans lost their lives through Jihad, castration and slavery.

Your "let us unite and get along" speech is great if all sides see each other as equals and have same vested interest. But if one group of people thinks and acts like they are better or superior to the others, then there is a problem somewhere. Mr. or Ms. Illskillz INFORMED and concerned black Africans do not hate Arabs in Arabia. We do not like Arabs coming into Africa trying to convert Africans into Arabs. We are not Arabs! But we cannot change our Negritude to Semite.

If you are of African descent I feel sorry for you because you actually believe the propaganda spread by our conquerors and have a very limited knowledge.  To think that the Arabs the first colonizers and enslavers of our ancestors' were/are worried about our souls is completely ridiculous. For if they were/are than WHY is murder and destruction the result of it. Sorry but I judge the quality of a tree by it's fruits, and the fruits I see are rotten. A people's intention is demonstrated by their interaction with nature and the surrounding world, and that speaks for itself.

If you are of European descent than your opinion is mute. Your purposeful ignorance is obvious... EUROCENTRICISM AGAIN! I'm personally not worried about what you think. I'm worried about the group I belong to first and foremost, when our problems will be fixed, only THEN I will worry about what others think.


Bantu-Kelani.
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We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Bantu_Kelani
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2003, 08:34:28 AM »

Any comments on Carol Chehade Article?  The proof is here and will never lay hidden again.

B.K
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We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
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