Thursday, August 23, 2007


I don't know if anti-Semitism is the correct term for hating Arabs, although they are said to be Semitic. For the purposes of this discussion I will use it to mean hatred of stereotypical Arabs by, especially ignorant American jerks, but my thesis is that much of Jewish hatred for Arabs is indistinguishable from this vulgar, “mountain grown” if you will, racism. This is an old and accepted stereotype in America; I remember seeing a Porky Pig cartoon from the '30's where he defended a foreign legion post under assault by hook-nosed, sneaky Bedouins. This cartoon was drawing on older, probably ancient, views of Arabs as slave-traders and smugglers, and were still current until very recently, even well after such views of Africans and Asians were no longer generally acceptable.

My own view is that a racist is one who expresses any of the dark thoughts that are resident in most, if not all, sane minds; racism as a mild form of Tourettes. I'm sorry to say that I instantly tag everyone I meet by their most obvious characteristics and will instantly align my behaviour and attitude to these tags, very like the inheritance model in programming, where the new object inherits it's properties and methods from it's class (stereotype). I might think “fat slob” when meeting someone overweight and poorly dressed, but I don't say it, if only to avoid being labled with “stupid fool”. I suspect most other people objectify in much the same way, although their tags may be more sophisticated or polite. My own struggle is with my internal Archie Bunker, sorry to say, but it forces me to control my behaviour and modify the object as evidence requires.

It may be that everyone shares the same well of prejudices and is simply able to exempt himself and others like him. I've often wondered why there doesn't seem to be effective epithet for white person. Cracker, red-neck, ofay, even if said with heartfelt hatred, just don't sting (although I've never been called a Republican; that might hurt). I can only assume that I am able to somehow psychologically deny that I am that objectional thing, and I think this works for most people. I once told my friend Hari that Indians seemed to believe they were the best people in the world, and he told me that they indeed think they are superior, contrary to historical evidence, and I would assume Arabs reserve similar sentiments for themselves or at least their tribes. Having been forever under foreign occupation and rule, craftiness, cynicsm and self-interest are primary virtues. I don't think they hate us because we are greedy; that they understand. It's our uncanny success in spite of our laxness and ignorance of history and culture that's got to irritate. They know we can't stick it out.

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