Are we racist?

Muna Al-Fuzai

Racism often comes in the form of treating some individuals differently – socially and legally – and making distinctions between people on the basis of color or ethnic affiliation. This is the definition that is universally recognized. I think racism is like a disease in some people who have a virus of mental illusions or false ideas of superiority and inferiority among human beings, which justifies differing forms of treatment.

I know that there are many studies and researches published on the Internet about racism and its history, and racism in Arab and Western societies with models, but I would like to focus on racism in the Arab Gulf societies and the duplicity in dealing with the concept of racism, whether by citizens or expatriates.

It is necessary to define a specific concept and why some people think racism is prevalent in Kuwait, for example, but cannot talk about racism when they go to another country or even return to their native countries. I believe in Kuwait there is less racism than many countries I have visited in the West and East that brag about democracy and equality among people, but are extremely racist.
I know from my experience that racism in the world is based on discrimination over two things: Wealth and color. It is common for rich people to enjoy different treatment because they have money, whether the money is earned legally or

illegally.
As for color, it is unfortunate that many girls today are running after the best skin bleaching and whitening creams. The media and commercial advertisements promote whitening products, alluding that being fair is all what you need to get what you want. This does not help to strengthen and empower women in society and life. It is regrettable that skin color and how fair they are is included in the qualities of women in the marriage market! Today, some have formulated recipes for lightening the skin and promote the notion that a “white” girl is the best.

I know that all of us without exception may have similar attitudes that reflect racial discrimination. For example, I consider the curiosity of taxi drivers in the question “which country are you from” to determine the nature of the dialogue or even open a conversation reflects a behavior of racial discrimination by prejudging passengers.

I think racism is apparent in societies because of money and social status. Rich people do not usually mingle with poor ones, despite the beautiful talk about modesty and being humble. I do not see this happening on the ground. We may agree on the importance of living in societies that are free from racism, but it is not easy at a time when the media is not reflecting this attitude.

The reality is that there is only one human race and we inhabit one planet, and unless the media runs new anti-racism programs and new laws that reject bad behaviors are enforced, nothing may change. We should have one motto that we are not racist and do not accept racism.

By Muna Al-Fuzai
muna@kuwaittimes.net


This article was published on 08/11/2018