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100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans.
November 12, 2002 8:50 AM   Subscribe

100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans. While researching the Middle East conflict, I happened upon this journalist's guide from the Detroit Free Press containing background on Arab-American culture, language, and religion. Many of the questions are simplistic (some might even say moronic) and the answers obvious, but I found I learned a thing or two.
posted by VelvetHellvis (21 comments total)

 
A political scientis friend a week ago asked the following question: If, in 1947, after the UN vote, what is now the state of Israel had decided to call itself Palestine (that is a part of the area that was then known by that name), what would be the results, the aftermath for those Arabs who decided against statehood and instead tried to eliminate Israel. What would they now be known as?
posted by Postroad at 9:35 AM on November 12, 2002


Postroad: Insane muslim terrorists?
posted by dagny at 9:48 AM on November 12, 2002


What is this? A mediocre attempt to jack the thread?
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:22 AM on November 12, 2002


I try to avoid posting in any Middle East related topic here, but there is some good info in the link (I do agree that some of it is a bit simplistic). I especially like the emphasis on diversity in the Arab population; different appearances, religions, and nationalities. It provides more evidence that racial profiling is a bad idea because it doesn't work.
posted by TedW at 10:28 AM on November 12, 2002


Who are some well-known Arab Americans?

They forgot about Dick Dale (the king of surf guitar). Rumour has it he was lebanese.
posted by falameufilho at 10:30 AM on November 12, 2002


37. What are gender roles like for Arab Americans?
These vary tremendously. Some of the variables are country of origin, whether the family came from a rural or urban area and how long the person's family has been in the United States. It is more accurate to ask the subject of the story about his or her own experience than to apply a stereotype.


And that concludes "How to Dodge a Potentialy Embarassing Question 101".
posted by falameufilho at 10:34 AM on November 12, 2002


Here is the paper I tried to find for my earlier post. I think was discussed here some time ago, but I couldn't find the thread.
posted by TedW at 10:40 AM on November 12, 2002


If you know any arabs, falameufilho, you'll know that the answer is as correct as can be. Urban Arabs from Palestine, Syria, or Lebanon might be more similar to Italian or Greek gender roles, Gulf Arabs are a completely different story, and North Africans are another. I guess they could have summarized the differences, but then they would have had to get into rural versus urban and other things like that. I have done a lot of research on immigration in America, specifically from the various mediterrenean reigions (where many of America's Arabs come from) and found the guide to be accurate and informative.
posted by cell divide at 10:47 AM on November 12, 2002


The Detroit Free Press: Best. Paper. Ever.

I haven't lived in Detroit since 1999 and I still read the Freep daily (my housemates think it's really amusing, too).

Seriously, though, Detroit has the largest Arab American population in the country, so the Freep is in a great position to provide this sort of information. I believe this guide was published shortly after 9/11.
posted by eilatan at 10:48 AM on November 12, 2002


Dick Dale is Lebanese-American, and still alive and gigging. Catch a show if you can.
posted by teenydreams at 11:25 AM on November 12, 2002


Fascinating photo essays of the middle east - "color photographs from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Egypt, Ladakh, Ceylon, Chapel Hill, and Vermont" (chapel Hill and Vermont !?!?)

...and some wonderful cuisine - yum!
posted by madamjujujive at 11:26 AM on November 12, 2002


I wish more people could read this, especially some of the parts like: Most Arab-Americans are Christians and Muslim and Arab are not synonymous and that Iranians are NOT Arabs... so much information. It may be simple, but frankly Americans for the most part have no clue about the peoples of the middle east be they Muslim, Jew, Christian, Persian, Arab, Turk, whatever and ANY info they can use to educate themselves is fantastic!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:43 PM on November 12, 2002


More famous Arab-Americans.
posted by liam at 2:44 PM on November 12, 2002


I especially like the emphasis on diversity in the Arab population; different appearances, religions, and nationalities. It provides more evidence that racial profiling is a bad idea because it doesn't work.

As a one and only tool, of course it doesn't. But also saying race should be completely ignored is foolish too.
posted by Plunge at 3:42 PM on November 12, 2002


As if Jonah Goldberg in the Wash Times is the voice of reason. May as well Google David Duke's old column for the Arab News while you're at it.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:13 PM on November 12, 2002


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badaa! da! badaa! da!
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leeloooleeeleeeloooleeelooleeeleeeloooloooleeeee!
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2002


Ruling out the "racial" as part of the profile is ridiculous. If used properly, as part of a larger profile, there is nothing wrong with it. The problem comes when it is "the" profile. Saying that because one part of the profile didn't fit in a certain case so therefore using that in any part of the profile is ridiculous. It would be like saying you should now throw out the "white" "30ish" part of a profile when trying to find a serial killer just because the recent snipers didn't fit the part. It was wrong in one case, still right in most others.
posted by Plunge at 6:01 PM on November 12, 2002


Thanks for defending my point, dschlong. Plunge, you might want to take a look at the second link I posted. It demonstrates fairly rigorously that profiling will not work because the elements of the profile can be worked out at least roughly by terrorists/criminals by testing the system. The profile can then be avoided with a higher likelihood of success than if one were trying to avoid random searches. The use of profiles to catch criminals after the fact is different and may or may not be useful.
posted by TedW at 7:04 PM on November 12, 2002


sing along damn you !
sing !
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:08 AM on November 13, 2002


Well, obviously ignorance about the middle east is not restricted to this side of the Atlantic.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:14 AM on November 13, 2002


shhhhh.....come play air guitar with me....
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:28 PM on November 15, 2002


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