By Bader Oulamine
By Bader Oulamine
Morocco World News
Rabat, December 22, 2011
Despite some recent positive changes in the way Americans view Arabs, most Americans still do not understand or refuse to understand Arabs as normal and peaceful people. This misunderstanding is not just a body of thoughts that exists in the accepted culture or a matter of a lack of knowledge but it is has both deep historic and religious roots.
Arab Americans, who have for many years, been dynamic in struggling not only for a better understanding of the Arab experience, but for Arab American rights as well, can testify that this stereotypical discourse affects their domestic well-being. For many years, Arab Americans who were defending Palestinian rights were seen within the US community as supporters of terrorism.
Their children were afraid to acknowledge their Arab backgrounds and even those who were lucky and became active as Arab Americans, were on many occasions excluded from U.S. matters because the American cultural, educational, economic, political and social system is based upon exclusion and racism towards them.
In the face of this long history of stereotyping and discriminating against Arab Americans, some positive changes have taken place. At the present time, Arab Americans are seen by some as partners in peace. They have been recognized as peacemakers and allies. They have broken through and been heard.
There have been some small but significant penetrations of positive attitudes towards Arabs in U.S. opinion. Arab Americans have been given unprecedented recognition in recent years. President Clinton and Vice-President Gore were the first President and Vice President to address Arab American audiences, and the Eids- Islamic holy days- are now regularly recognized and celebrated by the White House and State Department.
At the present time, challenges facing Arab Americans are much harder than before because reaching the position they hold is not harder than maintaining it. This is why Arab Americans should build stronger relationships with people all over the United States and continue playing a role as a connecting community between the US and the Middle East.
Bader Oulamine is Morocco World News’ correspondent in Morocco.
Editing by Benjamin Villanti