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Article: "Arabs & The 'Racial Lessons' of 911"

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  • multiracialbookclub
    With the 5-Year date of the attacks that were made on both the WTC-Towers & the Pentagon coming up ... The author makes some really good points which pertain
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 10, 2006

      With the 5-Year date of the attacks that were made
      on both the WTC-Towers & the Pentagon coming up
      ----- the following article seemed rather appropriate.

      The author makes some really good points which pertain to the
      traditional negative treatment and attitude of many Arab-Americans
      toward "black" Americans vs. their "sudden post-attacks claim" that
      they somehow "understood"; "could relate to"; and even see themselves
      as being as equally-persecuted as most of the "blacks" have
      historically been in the United States of America (yet somehow,
      ignoring the participation of some of the members of their own
      community in some of the negative treatment of America's "blacks").

      The person who wrote the article is an Arab-American
      and  does a really good job at pointing out the obvious
      and massive hypocrisy found in these "sudden claims".

      The article does a good job in showing that "Standing Up Against
      the Practices of Racism and Ethnicism (Against Any Group)" -----
      is what every community in the United States should do at all times.


      Arabs and the Racial Lessons of 9/11


      (--written by Carol Chehade, an Arab-American)

      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 Whites 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.


      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 Whites 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 of 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' to 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 any 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 the writer of the book entitled
      `Big Little White Lies: Our Attempt to "White-Out" America '.

      Further information can be found at

      Copyright © 2002 Carol Chehade


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