By Mishal Kanoo
The colour of a person or where he or she comes from is not an indicator of anything. What he or she does and says is.
"Car for sale. Driven by a European lady." How many times have you come across an ad like this somewhere in the Gulf? With the greatest respect to all the European and female drivers, unless it means something positive about the car, I really don't care about the previous owner.
Is it supposed to mean because the car was owned by a European woman it will go faster, or have better fuel consumption than another similar car of the same make?
What is inherently racist about the ad is it implies because the car was owned by a European, it is better cared for. It seems to pre-suppose the car is in pristine condition, due to the fact it was owned by a woman, from Europe.
I am sorry, but I can't imagine such an advertisement being made in a European country without some sort of discrimination law suit being subsequently filed. Worse still is when I see adverts for house rentals stating the property is available to "Europeans only."
To add insult to injury, when I find the person who posted the advertisement is a National, I am dumbfounded. There are truly few things that rile me more than this type of imbedded message, which insults and humiliates.
How many times have you heard people saying they are not racist, only then to make statements that are racist by nature? Statements such as: "Forget him. He's only an Indian/Pakistani/African etc." as though people from these countries are not on his or her intellectual level. Or when some Nationals say they are entitled to things because they are from a particular country.
These statements are along the lines of: "He can't do that to me. I am a National/an American/a Brit etc." These people actually believe they are more important than others because of their birth. I call this kind of people the "people of the privileged womb."
Their minds actually think they have a God-given right to act in a superior manner to others because they happened to be born in a certain geographical location.
Of course, the best ones are those who believe God has endowed them with special privileges and rights, and so they look upon others, whom they think God hasn't endowed similarly, as dirty rags in need of removal from the face of the Earth.
To them I say: God is not racist, so why are you? If someone honestly believes that he or she belongs to His beloved chosen ones, shouldn't they then be the first to strive to fulfill His laws of care and justice for all His creatures?
Shouldn't they go out of their way to help those whom He has told them to help, namely the less fortunate than themselves?
Should they not have compassion for those who are not touched by God's grace, rather than treat them as dirt?
‘African,' ‘European,' ‘Asian' and other similar tags are labels we have given ourselves as ways to distinguish ourselves from others.
This is generally good because our minds compartmentalize things, and we use these labels to ease recognition of certain factors.
However, if we think for a second that these labels mean anything beyond the realms of human understanding, then we are sadly mistaken.
A mouse doesn't look at a lion and think: "Here is a lion." It thinks: "Here is a huge predator that could eat me."
Whether the predator is a yellow lion, or a white one, male or female, the mouse doesn't care. What it cares for is the ability to get away from this predator.
What some fail to learn from this tiny mouse is that the superficial aspects of the people we meet are less meaningful than the deeper ones, such as that person's ability to harm us or help us.
The colour of a person or where he or she comes from is not an indicator of anything.
What he or she does and says is.
I applaud your sentiment against racism. I think it is a question of character. Only one thing I disagree with: in Europe (or UK at least), cars are often advertised as being driven by one careful lady owner. Sexism is therefore rife over there as well. While women are statistically much less likely to crash, there is little evidence to suggest they maintain their cars better.
Nice to read an article like this, I hope this will ring the bells of those who feel they are superior. I have read an article also about those cabbies who prefers to pick up those who has "western-looks". I feel sad when one does that. What if everyone does that? I will give them a try.
We are all born with differences. That is NATURAL. Then we're conditioned in our thinking and build images of others and ourselves based on that conditioning. Small prejudices, reinforced over and over again by our own ignorance mushrooms into bigotry and racism, often sub-consciously. The remedy is to treat the cause AND the symptom. We need to address ignorance through sustained education and awareness campaigns at the school and family level while maintaining zero-tolerance for acts of racism. The government must lead the way by enacting appropriate laws to ensure victims of racism can seek redress through the judiciary as well as itself becoming an equal opportunity employer.
Nice emotional article but let's face it. Race is a fact of life. Irrespective of where you are from, you are rascist in your own right. It is human nature to side with people of your own ilk. Why did nearly all the blacks in the US vote for Obama but not most of the whites? Surely it's not because they disagree with his point of view only.
I love articles like this because they just highlight the ignorance of the writer. Everyone is racist! Everyone has pre-conceived notions of other people based on a myriad of things - gender, nationality, age, looks, weight... Stereotypes are rife because they based on an element of truth! Be superior all you like and claim that you are different but in reality - you're just the same. Have the honesty to admit it. The difference is whether you base your judgements and modify your behaviour based on these stereotypes... Words are all very well but actions are real.