An open letter to my white Arab friends: Use your voice.

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We are not Black. We will never know the struggle of being Black. 

We are given a leg up in life just because of the way we were born. By chance.

Just because we do not know the pain and suffering of our Black brothers and sisters, this should not give us an opportunity to sit back and do nothing. 

If you aren’t saying, posting, donating or signing anything … you are part of the problem. If your excuse is you don’t use social media often, take 30 minutes from your day to read up about what’s happening. You don’t have to use social media to spread knowledge. Type up what you’ve learned and send it to your family and friends on WhatsApp. 

Talk about what’s happening

If your mentality is “I wasn’t born or raised in the US so I don’t have a say in this” you’re wrong. This is not an us vs them-problem, this is an everyone problem. 

You are part of that everyone.

You are the ones that can help change the Arab mindset of white equals beauty. Colorism still runs rampant in the white Arab community. 

“She’s pretty for a Black girl”

“Oh that newborn is so dark, not like their beautiful sibling”

 “Your mom must’ve left you cooking for a little too long” 

These are just a few statements that I have heard come out of the mouths of non-Black Arabs. The first time I heard a phrase like this I was shocked. Overtime, I became used to it. Almost desensitised. 

The initial shock of hearing something so racist washed over me and became a norm. 

I remained silent rather than voicing that being Black doesn’t equate to less beauty. 

I remained silent because I didn’t want a verbal altercation.

I remained silent to avoid making myself the center of attention.

I remained silent and I did not use my voice and so, I became part of the problem.

To my Black brothers and sisters, I am sorry. I have failed you and society has failed you. We cannot undo the past, but we can and will change the future. 

To my fellow white Arabs, use your voice

Use your voice if you can translate messages to Arabic better than us born in the West. 

Use your voice if you are part of the Arab communities overseas. 

Use your voice even if it’s “only” at home. 

If you don’t use your voice, your white Arab grandparents will continue to acknowledge Somalis, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Sudani, Nubians, and other Black Arabs as less than them. 

If you don’t use your voice to talk to your families, nothing will change. Change starts at home.

Do not let societal norms of the culture keep you silent. 

The conversations will be uncomfortable. They will be hard. They may even cause rifts in your family and community. Do not allow your voice to be lost in the lull of standard anti-black racism. Be an ally to the Black community even if you don’t live in a western country. Be on the right side of history and help move the world forward in the right direction.  

Use your voice.

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