Monday, January 19, 2009

Annoying conversation anyway...

So, this last week I was having a conversation with some associates of mine. Their husbands are learning Arabic for various reasons. We were talking about all sorts of boring things, the weather included, when randomly one of the women mentioned to me that her friend's husband hates speaking Arabic because he hates the Arabic culture. I don't remember exactly how I responded but I find this statement to be highly offensive. First off linguistically there are more than 250 million Arabs in the world. Talk about a broad stereotype. Who says a Sudanese Arab is the same as a Saudi Arab. I mean really this is a ridiculous thing to say. Secondly it is absolutely absurd to dislike something that one doesn't understand. Unfortunately, thanks to 9/11 I feel like we Americans find it a-okay to have prejudices towards Arabs. Most of them are religious terrorists anyway, right?

So yeah, that conversation has been burning a hole in my head.

The End.

8 comments:

Airie said...

You know, it's funny how Abram gets treated differently sometimes because of his "browness." But we've had a few experiences with people that think he's an Arab because his name is Abram, which is more of a Hebrew thing, but you know people. So anyway, I'm just trying to say I completely understand how you feel. Why did the right wing make such a big deal about Obama's middle name anyway? Hope you survive. Love you both and miss you!!

Meridth Gimbel said...

No kidding! Sorry to hear that Airie. That's pretty much retarded.

Will said...

I got to know so many wonderful Muslim people in Toronto that it made so sad to see "Muslim" become a dirty word after 9/11. Yes, I know that Arab shouldn't = Muslim, but for many it does . . .

Sharae Peterson said...

some people are so close minded, i hope you gave her a tongue lashing?

Shannon said...

ok I am going to throw this out just for dialog's sake. Allen worked with Arabs for 4 years (6 months out of a year) in Kuwait. He is a VERY tolerant guy and does not like working with them. Brown's not his problem since I am "brown" and he looks brown. His problem was with their hatred of Americans and Jews. He heard often how they (the people he worked with and Arabs in general) would say, "We need to push all the Jews in the ocean!" They felt the same way about Americans as well. Allen kinda gets away with it because he looks more Italian than American. So, his personal experience with them, at least the hundred plus, has been judged from personal experience and he feels the "stereotype" is accurate. I figure it's worth noting.

Meridth Gimbel said...

I appreciate your honesty Shannon. Nobody likes to hear such hate filled talk. It would be hard to hear that day in and day out. This actually reminds me of a dear nameless friend of mine. She's Jewish. She is one of the most amazing people I know. Really. I recently had a conversation with her concerning the Middle East and this wonderful, insightful, and charming person spewed the most hate-filled rhetoric. I think we all carry prejudices that have been passed down from our parents and our environment. I think it's important and difficult to try to overcome our shortcomings and see our neighbors in an empathetic view. Just because a group of Arabs may hate Jews or visa versa does not give us the right to retaliate with hatred. I know that's not how you or Allen responded. I'm just saying that it's important to realize that we are all children of God. We are all important to Him.

Shannon said...

Totally true no one has the right to hatred. It is helpful to know where people are coming from so that the dialog can be started from their viewpoint. And we can make a difference with the way we chose to respond. There are plenty of Arabs and Jews who just want to get along. We just need more to feel the same way. As well as the rest of us.

And a big congratulations to you and Edward on the new 'artistic' creation. It's gonna change your life.

Meridth Gimbel said...

Thanks Shannon :) I'm a little apprehensive. This means we really have to be responsible adults now. Weird.

Love you!