With the Black Lives Matter movement finally taking up more space in the media, a lot more awareness raising is happening around racism. But when the issue of anti-black racism is brought up in a non-black Arab setting, it is often disregarded and coined to be a “western” problem. Here, we’ve created a list of 5 things to consider on how to non-black Arabs can be better allies to their Afro-Arab brothers and sisters.
- Using anti-black language is not acceptable, by you or other people. Using words like “3abeed”, even if it’s in a non-derogatory context, is not okay anymore.
- We need to unlearn the Eurocentric beauty standards that have been engrained in us. We need to stop using words like “samra” or “aswad” to indicate lesser beauty, and let go of the colourism stigma attached.
- We need to start portraying black Arabs in positive and beautiful ways/roles. Representation matters. We need to stop portraying black Arabs in inferior ways.
- Nonblack Arabs, especially white passing Arabs, have racial privilege. Understand you can be Arab and have racial privilege, and make sure to use it positively and create awareness about those less privileged.
- You need to have those conversations, question and raise awareness with families and communities that exhibit anti-blackness ideologies or behaviours. Social change takes time, but we all need to do our part to contribute.
These tips should help you gain better context of your privilege and the relative privilege of the different people around you, understand the power of language and representation, beauty standards that have been heavily influenced by slavery and colonization, and finally understand non-black Arabs can be better allies and have uncomfortable conversations for the sake of equality and positive social change.