Answering Bougie Black Girl’s Blog on Arab Racism Against Blacks

Yesterday, I read a blog on www.bougieblackgirl.com about racism of Arabs against Blacks that has problematic propositions, which I will explain below.

No doubt that there is racism shown against darker skinned people in the segments of the Arab world.  Moreover, some Arab countries are dominated by tribal patronage in which Arabs of lesser tribes have limited social mobility, not to mention South Asian migrant workers who are exploited in the Gulf States.  However, what Bougie Black Girl’s blog puts forward are some sweeping generalizations and over simplifications as well as ignoring the unfortunate tendencies of tribalism and racism that exist in one form or another in all societies from America to Africa to Asian.

The Arab world is far from monolithic to begin with, and being Arab as an identity has nothing to do with skin color.  Pre-dating modern times, the social revolution in the Arabian Peninsula led by Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdillah (prayers & peace be upon him and his family) addressed the disease of Arab tribal superiority and honored Black people.  It’s narrated that Prophet Muhammad stated, “Whoever speaks Arabic is an Arab,” and in fact there were dark skinned Arabs such as his adopted son Zayd bin Harithah, who was  a “Black Arab” leader among the Muslims.  Prophet Muhammad referred to a Black woman who helped raised him named Umm Ayman as “My mother,” he appointed Bilal the Ethiopian as the treasurer of the Muslim nation and he arranged several inter-racial marriages between Black men and lighter skinned Arab women.   More of this is explained by Al-Jahiz’s work “Glory of the Blacks Over the Whites.”

Broad generalizations about any group of people are invalid according to the rules of logic.  To paint the entire Arab world as being completely racist against Blacks is no more valid than saying that Sub-Saharan Africa has a whole is concretized by tribalism and illiteracy.  It is somewhat disturbing to read a Blackamerican put forth such a notion about Arabs in general given how many White folks have done the same with Blacks.  Furthermore, as Africa is a land of many languages and cultures that are not hegemonic, the Arab world is not either.  To compare human trafficking that continues against the law in Mauritania to the plight of Palestinians, who don’t own slaves and barely can scratch out a living under illegal occupation, as Bougie Black Girl asserts in her piece is frankly irresponsible.  Human trafficking continues to go on in the good ole’ U.S.A. as well, but the American society as a whole does not sanction this.

Speaking out against oppression of Palestinians should be done because it is the moral thing to do.  Injustice against one group should not be turned a blind eye to just because others with a relationship to that group have committed some injustices.  This, however, requires the spiritual quality of empathy and an accurate moral compass.  Moreover given the activism that Blackamericans undertook in aiding Black South Africans under the Apartheid system, it is hypocritical to be indifferent about what Israel has been committing to Arabs (Christians and Muslims, most White skinned and some Black skinned) when seeing similar circumstances as was in South Africa.

It is true that Arabs should take more active steps in speaking out against racism and tribalism among themselves as Arab-American activists like Khaled Beydoun do.  It is also true that in order to address the worldwide disease of racism and to build coalitions to combat it, we cannot paint people with broad-brushes despite the pain that we feel from particular injustices.

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17 thoughts on “Answering Bougie Black Girl’s Blog on Arab Racism Against Blacks

  1. Salaalms, I agree with your sentiment. Her post was a broad generalization. Speaking out against Israeli injustice against Palestinians doesn’t mean one condones the rampant racism against Blacks in the Middle East. Like you said more Arabs need to speak up and out against the racism in their ranks, in my opinion too many will say that Islam has no racism, when the subject is broached however people do have racism and to hide behind that is irresponsible

  2. Very well argued, and thank you for sharing my work Dawud and shouting me out. THEre’s been so much sweeping coounter-animus against Arab-American Muslims, spearhreaded by Sherman Jackson among others

  3. Salaam! As I mention for years and decades in the Pakistani community in postfascist Europe, is the raisin question about the political interpretations of political relief network by such persons like al_Qutb and his ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ allies through fascist Berlin advertizing Mufti of Jerusalem. Its a battle who will be won in Egypt and good is…against fake Islam interpretations. Salaam!

  4. I dont know which part of the world you live in, but I am from Africa!!! Born in Africa, I am a muslim. In Africa, ARABS have a violent hatred, and racist towrds black people. I am speaking from personal experience!!! The arabs in Tunisa, Egypt, Libya,Morroco and other countries in North Africa, They see black as inferior, and we are reffered to as “abid” which mean slave. They say that black muslims are not true believers, and that islam is not for black people. In 2013 the arabs in North Africa are still killing, raping, and completely slaughtering the black people in Sudan. This is NOT a secret!! Why are the Arab states who are well aware of whats going on not condeming these actions and turning a blind eye?!!! Because the victims are black people. Please dont try to down play the horror that is taking place!!! I will NEVER support arabs, because as an black African woman, an arab would rape and slaughter me in a second!!! Omar al-bashir has been doing that for years. You can sit behind your computer in America and type all the shit you want about defending those evil arabs!!! I know I should not paint all arabs in the same picture, but I have yet to meet 1 arab, who is not racist, or does not look at black people as inferior! The day I meet, 1, just 1, arab, that is not a racist, I will shut up!! Until then, you cannot tell me, a black, African, muslim woman, that arabs are NOT racist!!! My experience tells me otherwise!!! The evil crimes they have commited against my people and ancestors, will not go unanswered!! Truly Allah is great, and sufficient for me!!

    • Thank you for your post, Mrs Ibraham Zaheda. Such a fair-minded and well balance post to counter the blog author’s downplaying of Arab Racism against Blacks. I have been a member of a non-profit organization dedictated to ending genocide, war, brutality, and slavery in Sudan by muslims towards non-muslim Christians and Animists. The sheer horror perpetrated by muslims towards non-muslims is abhorrent.

  5. Although I hate to “paint people with broad brushes” I have to agree with Mrs. Ibrahim-Zedan. I live in America and HAD a lot of Arab friends and took part in multiple events bringing awareness to the Palestinian occupation and while I was horrified by what is going on in Palestine I was equally horrified to discover what Palestinians really think of Blacks. The Palestinians I encountered here do very well at painting all Blacks with a broad brush. They look down on them, consider them inferior and will disown their sons and daughters if they choose to marry a Black person. I have seen it with my own eyes. To me its appalling because how can Palestinians demand freedom when most of them subscribe and practice the same racial discrimination against others. When I finally confronted the president of the organization, I was part of, because I learned she was against the marraige of her son and his Black girlfriend she became angry and refused to discuss it! When I brought this up with other members I quickly realized that this disapproval of a Black in-law was very commom in the Palestinian community and that my disgust with it was the only one. Their only interest in me was to help their cause and this group had no interest in the “rights for all” as they constantly claimed. The Arab community is quick to denounce America and Israel for its wrong doings but does little to nothing at all about its hateful attitude towards Blacks.

    • Another brilliant post. Thank you Nina for speaking out :-). We need more voices such as yours and Mrs. Ibraham Zedan.

  6. Also its really sad that the Arab community spends more time denying they are racist towards Blacks instead of actually making the effort to remedy their shameful behavior and mentality towards Blacks.

    • Agreed. The Arab community has no leg to stand on by demanding fairness and equality in Israel and other western countries, yet their own deeply ingrained racism and prejudice is another ugly side to their two faces. The Arab community is quite shameful purposely dismissing institutional racism entrenched within cultural and religious beliefs. It’s a dirty little secret no longer hidden. They seem to be much worse than whites regarding racism and brutality towards Blacks, especially non muslims.

  7. ^I like how the past few comments hate that some Arabs paint black people with a broad brush…and then do the same…lol

    • And yet, nothing in your post addressed institutional racism perpetuated by Arabs. Just blame shifting passively painting Arabs as victims, while those correctly addressing the issue are painted as villians. It’s typical of your ilk. Anyways, Arab racism is the issue, so deal with it instead of tucking tail . LOL.

  8. OK first of all Mrs Ibrahim Zedan and everybody else who have commented. Congratulations, you are all RACISTS yourself. “The day you meet an Arab who is not racist”. It is racist within itself to think that all arabs are racist. Do you know that there are thousands of Afro-Palestinians who are proud to be black, arab AND Palestinian. I would like to see you go to Jerusalems Afro-Palestinian quarters or Jericho, or tens of cities in Palestine where you will find black Palestinians and talk that shit about Arabs and Palestinians. You would get ran the hell out of town by BLACK people.
    True, a form of racism against black people exists in the Arab world today, I do acknowledge that. And the fight against ignorance among Arab people must increase and intensify. But it is no way comparable to white historical racism against blacks The Arab slave trade did exist, and yes black africans were taken as slaves, but also included among these slaves were white europeans, persians, and even arabs themselves. It wasn’t restricted to color. And secondly, show me an Arab country with segregated black ghettos of the same type that they have in the US or Europe. Oh don’t worry, I’ll wait.. If you don’t support the plight of the Palestinians in the face of Israeli apartheid you can go to hell as far as I’m concerned , no matter if you’re pitch-black or as white as a piece of paper. I am an Arab and I LOVE black people, the majority of my friends are black African and my wife to be inshallah is the most beautiful East African girl you will ever see. So Mrs Ibrahim Sedan, will you now shut the HELL up as you promised? A racist is a frickin racist no matter what color, and you are NO better than all those arab racists that you talk about in your ignorant comments.
    P.S You call yourself a Muslim and yet you hate Arabs, let me ask you, do you also hate the Prophet Mohammed pbuh? At the end of the day he was also an Arab.

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