Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Whats wrong with being an arab american?

The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who was visiting the states for few days. A bathroom moment hit me, and I started to ask. “Dude, how do you folks perceive us?”. After trying to escape the question, he caved in finally. Here are some of the interesting misconceptions…or maybe true conceptions about arab Americans.

This is an interesting thing to hear from a Jordanian dude who belongs to a society that is purly build on show off. A society that names specific clothes items after singers and dancers (as in tannooret ruby…etc) It seems that arab-americans have the tendency to talk so much about the fact that they could own two cars, a home, and enjoy vacations. Talk about the availability of department store, fancy restaurants and much much more. This happens especially when arab Americans travel back to the middle east with their fancy stuff.

This democracy talk
Yeah dude…all you talk about is how you have democracy and you could curse your president in the middle of down town. You brag about it knowing arabs can’t dare to do the same in public. So now you think you know it all? You know all about globalization and it’s effect on developing nations. You know all about primaries and caucuses. Or that fancy term of electoral college. Please…don’t lecture us about such things.

Not in touch with arab realty
You forgot all about your origins and chased a handful of dollars. You consider yourself American while other Americans still look at you as a foreigner. Wake up dude…and smell the hummus.

English language
Oh yessssss…this is the number one thing that gets on our nerves. Do you want to really convince us that you forgot your Arabic language? Stop inserting words like “man” “sure” “ok” in any Arabic sentence. We know that you can speak Arabic, so why this show off?

The funny thing is that I started to buy his views. I see many arab Americans use the above examples for purely show off. I mean some dude have been only few months in the USA, and they display the behavior of “dude…I forgot my Arabic” and other type of behaviors.

Is it true that arab Americans could not get rid of the show off mentality that they brought with them from home? I’ve been an arab American for almost 20 years. I take pride in trying to preserve the morals and values that I was born with. I also take pride in the values that I picked up from the states. I believe in this land’s democracy and wish that we could apply it in our world. A pride that got me into so many arguments with other arabs who focus on the war in iraq and criminalize every American value because of such war.


Batoul A. said...

I wasn't born in the U.S. but i've lived here half my life.. and its funny how I got a taste of both. And I agree with your friend expecially about the "im too cool for arabic" nonsense.
But on the other hand, sometimes its just people have been so adjusted here to the wonderful avilabiliy of everything.. and our beautiful 3arabizi is so overused in our middle Eastern house in America that structuring a full arabic sentence without the use of so & ok could be hard for the first week without giving into a slip. But that even doesnt go to everyone... its complicated to explain but im against anyone that tries to look any "distinct" 3ala asas. I visit family in Syria its like half or even less up to date than Jordan but trying to fit in and basically enjoying it, is all it takes to really enjoy the experience and the atmosphere, blend in, not stick out like an idiot.

Bo3Bo3 said...

Interesting batoula. Sometimes, people overlook the fact that someone born in america, or spent last 20 years there is somehow affected by it. Not for show off, but this is the truth.