Monday, October 02, 2017

The thing that bugs me when people say "if he's white no one will call this violent act 'terrorism'"

Contrary to popular belief, lots of Middle Easterners have pretty pale skin. "Arab" skin tone has a really wide range. There are Arabic speakers who are as pale as Northern Europeans and as dark as some sub-Saharan Africans. In Syria, I saw blondes who were local Arabs. The crusades and other invasions brought a lot of genetic diversity to the region. Ralph Nader is Lebanese, after all, but people who don't know his background just assume he is of European descent. My theory is years of using Indian actors to play Arabs has muddied the waters for a lot of people. When they imagine an Arab, they often think of a South Asian.

That said, the overall point of people who point out that "white people" will not be described as terrorists. It's just that if people see a middle eastern name, we all decide they are not "white." It is not really about skin tone. It is about cultural assumptions.