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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27 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.

      • It has noting to do with Muslims…not all Muslims are Arabs and not all Arabs are Muslims. It’s an Arab issue. If these Arabs were actually living up to Islamic standards they would not be racist or torturers of others or rapists or any of the other negative things mentioned by sister Ibrahim-Zedan. She is right that some Arabs can be hateful against blacks, truly hateful, for no apparent reason other than the color of our skin…but it is not an Islamic thing. It is an Arab issue that we need to deal with within the Muslim community and otherwise. ALLAH(swt) call us to justice even against our closest of kin…so we do need to speak out and not cover it up or hide it but deal with it straight on and pray to ALLAH(swt) that we meet it with HIS(swt) guidance and overcome it to show that Islam is the right way of life because ALLAH(swt) is the greatest and if we don’t stand up against it, ALLAH(swt) says HE will raise up a group of people that will fight for all that HE has taught us in the Qur’an…and that includes racism.

      • Yes, there is a difference. The Arabs after Islam no and admit that there is no GOD but GOD (ALLAH) and that Muhammad is HIS prophet. :) and they know better than to be racist now. They need a recap in faith and Islam or they need to pray for help to rid themselves of racism and racist thoughts and actions. Allahu Akbar

  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.

    • LOL..an ARAB…I love your comment. You are right on point…and quite comical. That is why I said SOME Arabs…because though I have ran into quite a number of Arabs that do not like to see me coming, I know in my heart that frankly I don’t know any Arabs personally and I surely don’t know them all. However, it is true that we do need to work on our race relations within the Muslim community, especially since we’re supposed to be examples of how to treat one another. I think my major offense to racism from Arabs is because it often comes from Muslim Arabs. As a black American woman, I expect racism from white people and others, but as a Muslimah, black or otherwise, I expect to be treated equal to all other Muslims and definitely not worse than a Arab or white person who is not even a believer, simply because I am a black woman.
      But again, thanks for your comment and May ALLAH(swt) bless you to get married to the most beautiful East African you’ll ever see, masha ALLAH(swt) and May HE instill love and compassion in your marriage and your heart and create for you an unbreakable bond and protect that bond from the shaytaan and all evil.

      a salaamu alaykum, wa rahmatuALLAHI wa barakaatu, bro’!

    • well, you have a right to marry a wife of your choosing. However, why deprive yourself of the joys of marriage simply over color. I’m a light to medium skinned black American woman and I used to feel like I would never want a man as light or lighter than me, but I met a lighter skinned black male (probably not based on your color scheme though) and he changed my mid. I love him dearly and we are married and he is actually, HasbiyunALLAH, how I came to know of the Islamic faith. That being said, don’t close your heart. Close your eyes to color differences. You never know if ALLAH(swt) has something wonderful under that color.

  9. Although I feel many cultures are racist as an African American woman I sadly have experienced more racism from Arabs than any other ethnic group. I used to live in Dearborn huge Muslim Arab community. I have experienced horrible service at local Arab owned shopping malls/ stores and places to eat. But when I bring my Arab friend to these same places they treat her completely different. Workers do not been look me in the face and say walaykum salaam. I have been muslim my whole life wear hijab parents muslim 40 years but still asked if I converted. What is truly sad is there is no unity. Either there is an Arab event or black event nothing together. I’ve tried to contact other groups for events and can not even get a return call. Here in Dearborn if you are not arab you are treated like dirt, like you don’t matter. People tell you “you aren’t real muslim” because your not arab. Reminds me of Ralph Ellison invisible man, simply people do not see you.

    • Read the book, love it..by the way, a salaamu alaykum wa rahmatuALLAHI wa barakaatu, sis’!
      You are definitely right. I went to masjid f or juma’a services and (I don’t know if this is cultural or what) but I would be sitting for prayer and the woman would actually walk by as close as possible so that they almost stepped on my hands or so that their skirts would brush near my face or they would purposely walk in front of my prayer as if my salah is not offered to the same GOD we all serve. I have salaam’d some sisters and they give me the once-over like, “how dare you speak to me?!!” It’s like they might as well call me a nigger. My husband told me that many Arabs just don’t consider us real Muslims. They often say that we are not real Muslims or we don’t know real Islam. I don’t know if they assume we are Farakhan followers because we are black or if they just feel that we are inferior because we’re black. But I have met some Arabs that do NOT behave that way. Some of them ask me if I am from America or if I am Muslim, they salaam me and they treat me with kindness. Some even share knowledge with me or give me the head-nod, like, yeah, we’re on the same team, so to speak. Mind you, it’s usually men and not women. However, I notice that men can be the same way, too…but my point is that it’s not ALL Arabs…even though, it IS a problem that needs to be addressed and not covered up because it does cause division and it could easily turn off a possible convert from the most beautiful relationship and acceptance ever and that is with ALLAH(swt), especially since most people look to Arabs as an example of what Islam is.

  10. Salaam! There is no rascism in “Al Islam” and quite simply put,who are these people who hate so much and call themselves muslims but the enemies of “Al Islam” It is the arab muslims who come to America and sell pork,lottery tickets,cigarettes,blunts to the poor or anyone. There is a truer reality “Allah is aware,so be patient good muslims,they will receive all that they have earned. I believe that this repugnant and perspicious behavior will be reward with justice on yaumul qiyyam. They are being watched. They have anerve to criticize everyone but themselves. The othodox Jews are my brothers and I am a muslim,They do not and will not even go near pork. so many arab-muslims disgust me and the chicken Imams accept these scandalous arabs in the ranks at prayer in their mosques. They should be exposed and ostracized. End of story.

    • One more thing! The arab so called muslims have a hatred for darker skinned people especially the poor.Allah loves the poor.All to many times I have been in the masjid,a muslims sanctuary and the arab men will not touch the feet of a man of color in most communities and it is the imams that “see it” and “allow it”.The imams have been approached by many men of color regarding this malady in the veins of most arabs. I personally laugh at them.But the Imams will be raised with all this tied to their necks on judgement day. Who are they really leading.No it is because they are on lavish salaries and they are weak and cowardly. My parents were some of the first muslims in New Jersey and they had to fight the police and against all types of bigotry. Where were the arab brothers? In pizza parlors putting peeperoni on pizzas. Brothers of islam of all Allahs beautiful colors speak out,speak out. Stop accepting this behavior of them.Fight in the cause of “Al Islam with your voice””Oh Allah You are the Creator of Peace and from You comes Peace. Blessed are You our Lord of Glory and Honor. And none can give us what You withold from us.And none can withold from us what You give us. And nothing! deserves to be worhipped but You! Ameen Yaa RabbilAaalamin

      • we should pray for our brothers and sisters and not condemn them. we all fight with sins and diseases and short comings. theirs just happens to be racism and they need prayer like we need prayer. we need to be patient and in the end yes, they will be dealt with justly but in the meantime, let’s pray and bring to light the best way we know how. InshaALLAH we can remedy this witin our own communities and build up what has been broke down so that fellow darker skinned Muslims feel welcome and worthy and those perpetrating racism will see that they are wrong in their actions. May ALLAH help us and forgive us all of our sins and help us as a Ummah

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