It Unpatriotic to Date an Arab Man?
By J.E. Safa
Q: I think Arab men are hot! They have steely eyes, the black
hair, the severe chin, and the smooth skin. But can a twenty
something get it on with Arabs without being patriotic?
- Loves Arabs
A: Sure you can! The President of the United States has asked
Americans to reach out to Arab Americans. He wants us to show
the world that were fighting a war against terror and not
against Islam or Arabs. Some patriotic Americans have heeded the
Presidents call by visiting mosques; others have patronized
businesses owned by Arab Americans. Personally, I cant think
of a better way to reach out to Arab Americans and help the war
effort. Unpatriotic? Nonsense! Youre answering the call
of your Commander in Chief!
The Village Voice: Hot Spot Savage Love byDan Savage January
After the heinous crimes of September 11, innocent Arab men have
suffered from intense scrutiny and have been subjected to public
humiliation. In the eyes of many Americans the Arab man has become
a symbol of suspicion and possible danger. But has it come to the
point that dating and Arab man could be considered unpatriotic?
According to some Arab men, yes. They have been discriminated against
romantically when it was revealed that they were Arab or of Arab
Sami, a 32-year-old graphic designer, recalls being at a club when
a sultry blonde approached him and asked him his name and where
he was from. When he said Lebanon, she hightailed out of there never
to be seen for the rest of the night. Then there is Amin, a young
Yemeni born and raised in the U.S. who was dating a Puerto Rican
girl for 3 years. After September 11 she broke up with him because
she didnt feel right dating an Arab anymore.
What do American women think of Arab men? Were Sami and Amins
story isolated incidents or were they common occurrences? I interview
20 random women and asked them what they thought of Arab men. Out
of the twenty, two had dated Arab men, three had friends who were
linked romantically to an Arab and the rest had never been with
Angelina, 26, dated an Arab for more than three years. My
relationship was great except for the fact that he made it clear
that we would never marry because his family wanted him to marry
a nice Arab girl. I was OK with it because he was honest from the
beginning. I enjoyed the time we had together. He was very sweet,
caring, and generous in every way. Maria 31, dated an Arab
for a year. She claims to have had the best sex of her life and
the most intense relationship ever. We could have stayed together
for a long time but we were wrapped up in our own lives!
Of the three girls who had friends linked to Arab men, two were
weary of dating them. Monica claimed that Habib used her friend
so he could get his papers and remain in the United States. Jennifer
said her friend had dated an egotistical bully who treated her like
a slave and all Arab men were the same. Heather, on the other hand,
loved her friends husband. They had been married for 4 wonderful
years and she had even been over to Syria with them.
The rest of the women who had never had much contact with Arab
men had interesting answers. Some claimed they didnt feel
right dating an Arab; it seemed like they were betraying their country.
Even though they knew that many Arabs were Americans they just couldnt
do it and would get a lot of slack from their family and friends.
Kathy, 28, claimed she wasnt prejudiced but she wouldnt
allow herself to get into a relationship with an Arab stating too
many cultural differences.
Katie, a 24 year old screamed, Oh my God! Havent you
seen not without my daughter? What if I fell in love with an Arab
and he took me back home and held me hostage! Ive heard too
many stories like that! I proceeded to explain that the man
in the movie was from Iran and he was not Arab and that not all
Arabs were Muslim, but it was all lost on her. Carmen insisted that
an Arab man will only use you for sex and then dump you because
they think American girls are easy.
Many other women claimed that they would definitely date an Arab
man because it wasnt their ethnicity that they were worried
about but them as individuals. As long as the man was a good person
the fact that they were Arab was irrelevant.
I used four pictures of different looking Arab men to help me see
if all Arab men were considered to look the same. The man in the
first picture could have been the cousin of Enrique Iglesias, the
second man looked like the all-American blond next door, the third
looked like the stereotypical Middle Eastern man, and the fourth
had a body that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger jealous. I asked
the four women to identify the Arab from the four. Almost all four
pointed to the stereotypical looking man. I asked them why they
didnt think that the blonde, blue-eyed male was Arab, and
their response was because no Arab had blue eyes.
After the revelation that all the men were Arabs, many of the women
were shocked. They were unaware of the fact Arabs came in all shapes
and sizes and colors, that they are not all dark haired and dark
eyed. Some blamed the media for the ignorance of the public. Lissa
32, said Arabs are in the news these days all the time but
they never look like the man with the beautiful body so it is easy
for one to assume that they all look alike. It is just plain ignorance
and despite all that has happened the pubic is still really ignorant
of who Arabs really are.
Is it considered unpatriotic to marry an Arab man? Some women actually
did believe so. Other women thought the idea was ridiculous. Despite
the media focus on Arabs and the progression to try to understand
Arabs, many people seemed oblivious to the fact that all Arabs were
not the same. They came from different countries, spoke different
dialects, worshipped different Gods and observed different traditions.
Although this little experiment cannot speak for the whole American
public I really believe that most of the women are not prejudiced
towards Arab men and those who would discriminate are not worth
Translated from Arabic by Aramica Newspaper.