Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Discrimination’ Category

Alright, I know many would squirm  at this topic, but it is; nevertheless, an issue that we have to discuss. Now, I would like to start by saying that this post is based on my own observations and, well, common sense.

Many times throughout my life I have been hearing the same phrase, on and on, about this issue. Some people even go through hoops to make it sound more logical. Some say: “Haven’t you noticed how el khwal (Omani Blacks) are dumb and only care about their traditional singing and dancing?”  I am pretty sure that most Omani’s can relate to this quote. We all hear it at some point of our lives.

Now, there is a twist. Obviously all of these observations by some of these Omanis do not come out of nowhere. Yes, as many of you have observed: The number of successful black Omanis are less than those of “brown – light skinned” Omanis. Someone described a scene to me once of busses loaded with blacks coming towards a “black-less” village to attend a wedding where a black singer was performing. Of course, the description was full of racist and sarcastic comments.

Anyway, in short.. the general idea is that Omani blacks have lower education, lower business successes, lower aspirations, and are mainly good for man labor. Sounds familiar?

Young Omani kids attending school

Now, lets examine this a bit further. Slavery was only abolished in Oman in 1970. Ex-slaves, though not treated as bad as slaves in the United States (in 19th century), were illiterate and their main profession was “man labor”. Oman’s ex-slaves living condition has progressed in the past 40 years. Though racism remains present in the society, the government does not favor or differentiate between races when it comes to education and jobs.

However, we need to remember that these ex-slaves are only two generations behind. Many are well and alive, and they teach their children and grandchildren the values that they grew up with, which are to serve your masters. Also, since many of these “masters” are also well and alive, they encourage these values and teach their kids and grandkids that these ex-slaves will always remain servants rather than equal contributors to society.

Though I consider this to be a major problem in the society, I do think we are living in the “transitional” point. Racism and this sense of belonging are fading (slowly) as these values contradict global emphasis on human integrity and equality.

So back to the point: Are Black Omanis dumb?

Well, in 1994, Richard Hernsterin and Charles Murray, in their book “The Bell Curve,” argued that blacks were inferior in intelligence to whites.  In other words, they argued that for blacks to become intelligent, they had to marry whites. The whiter you are the more intelligent you become. However, it is very difficult for me and many others to accept the idea that the skin’s production of melanin is connected to the brain’s function (intelligence).  Of course, Hernsterin and Murray were proven wrong, but I guess this message did not reach our Omani friends yet.

Here, we should not look at intelligence and success through skin color. Though these “brown-lighter skinned” Omani’s observations of success are somewhat correct, their reasoning is totally screwed up. The fact that some black Omani’s are unsuccessful  is not because the mere fact that they are black. No. It is because of their role in the Omani society as black people. Hence, when we look at this question again, we should not talk about black vs. white people’s intelligence only. Rather, we should look at the quality of the world that these black Omani’s vs. “brown-lighter” Omani’s have lived in.

It is only after that that we can come to the conclusion that the gap in Black Omani’s success vs. “lighter” Omani’s is becoming smaller as newer generations emerge. Their quality of life (from slaves to ex-slaves to a generation of ex-slave parents..etc) is growing better as they become equal contributors to society and compete for a better life.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Its been a while since I blogged about stuff here in Oman, but there has been some certain things that I see that annoy the hell out of me. As you see from the title, its about people showing off their slaves in Oman…Yes, slavery is abolished.. but apparently this tradition is still alive and well..

A few weeks ago I went to an engagement party “Malka” for someone in the family. The male was a cousin of mine and we were going to see his bride to be. So, we walk in to the living room, sit down.. and I see all these older black women. At first, I thought they were part of their family. I think I was hopeful or being wishful that these people intermarry with Omanis of various ethnic background. Well, I was wrong.

There were many of of these women sitting, then they started serving us food. Going around to give us coffee and sweets. I didn’t think much of it then.

On the way back home, I asked a relative of mine if those women were their relatives, and the answer was “NO!”. They were their “khedaam”, meaning slaves. “Huh,” I said, “we don’t have khedaam in Oman!”, well.. apparently, they were their slaves at one point in time, before slavery was abolished. The “bride to be” family apparently used to own many slaves and whenever they have an occasion they invite their ex-slaves to come and serve the guests. They do pay them though, but the idea was to show off how many slaves they had in order to impress us.

Some people do that in many occasions, such as funerals, weddings, eids, and large gatherings. It gives them a sense of power and importance because back in the day, you only had slaves if you were wealthy and an important person within your tribe.


Read Full Post »

Today, at work, a co-worker approached my desk and started asking some inappropriate questions.

He wanted to know, he went:

You have two options, which one will you choose?

1- a guy with a high-school education, a good guy, small salary, and a good family, or
2-a guy with a masters or a PhD, a good guy too, larger salary, and a good family, but they are either Baluchi or Zedgali.

I replied immediatly and without hesitation: “the second option”… thinking, its just natural selection. We all want to select the best for our off-springs based on our own standards.

So, of course the guy was offended.. “he was option one :-p”. After I blurted out my response, it was obvious to me that I just opened an unwelcomed door for debate. “What about your family? you should think of them,” he said. “My dad sees all people equal, thank god!”, I replied. “But what about your kids, think about them. No one will want to marry them when they grow up”, he continued thinking he will persuade me from being such a “selfish” human being. “Okay,” he said, “what if it was a khaal (black)?” I looked at him with disgust and said, “are you serious?”. I think he was trying to find a common ground between us, but struggling somewhat. I told him my response is the same. I won’t reject someone based on color.

Then, some of the most ignorant words started coming out of his mouth. “What do you mean its okay? why would you marry a black guy? and what will happen? are you okay having a mixture of color within your family?” I think I was surprised because he was so frank and comfortable with his replies. Then, he continued… “A story from the prophet Noah, that Noah had three men. One black, one white, and one brown. The brown one’s private parts became visible. The black guy didn’t do anything. The white guy covered the brown man’s stuff. So, God made the black guy slave to the others. See God’s knowledge. He knows that black people are not as good”… First, I never heard of this story before though I read the stories of all prophets, second of all…. I became furious. I said, “You are saying that the whiter people are the better they are? Then you are telling me that Europeans and all Americans are better than us. Should be, because they are lighter!”

“No no no,” he went on, “those are red people! they are not white”… Uhuh!!
“No” I said, “they are WHITE, some are even like these white walls. Not red.”

“You guys run after lighter skinned girls, the whiter the better, and you are telling me about mixing colors?! Just because black people are two tones darker than us, then that means they are less?! You know what, I prefer not to talk about this because we come from two totally different ideologies and thoughts.”

The End …

Read Full Post »

Let me give you all an intro about myself for you all to understand why I’m writing this entry. I come from a family that is considered middle to high class in Oman. My fortune made me be one of the “Orbis” that I talked about before. My parents taught me that everyone is equal. However, the rest of my family are the social climbers. They think that they are better than everyone else, and try soooo hard to distinguish themselves from the “those” who are “lower” than them. Its annoying..

Anyway, in the last couple of weeks, I have been getting these lame comments from them.

Don’t dress like this you look like a Baluchi girl.

Don’t act like this you sound like a Zanzibari girl.

Even with nail polish, I can’t put it because they don’t want me to look like the “others”..

All I do is give them a WHATEVER attitude. So what I look like a Baluchi girl. Everyone knows that Baluchi girls are cuter than original Omani girls! This whole culture is built on gossip. They are all afraid that other people will say something bad about them. They all want to look perfect and act perfect Omanis so that they intermarry with the best of the best…I’m talking about blood line not merit.. focus people!

I don’t mind people saying.. “I don’t want to marry from this culture because I’m not into it” or “it does not suit my needs”, but don’t make it sound like you will be stained if you did. Everyone is equal… equality is a word that has a vague meaning in this region!

They also try to control everyone’s fate in their family. People always talk about the positives of having a close extended family but no one talks about the negatives.. If someone from the family wants to marry someone that is not from their “baseless and stupid” bloodline status, they gossip about that person to no end. They also become involved in their affairs and try hard to stop the marriage. Not for fear that the person is not suitable or anything that has the merit of “good intentions”, another vague phrase here, no. It is because they fear of what other “social climbers” might say about them, and that their honor might be stained.

My comments… Give me a break! The world has advanced in soooooooo many ways and you guys have a mentality that is stuck in 600 BC!

Read Full Post »

Today I passed by Sablat Oman (Arabic version) and found this discussion on marriage.
It was titled: “Single because of my family, discussion”

I started reading it, and to be honest… I’m furious!

The United Nation: International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination stated on 2006:

The Committee takes note of the discrepancy between the State party’s assertion that Omani society is ethnically homogeneous, and information that the population includes various ethnic groups, including Balochi, Swahili-speaking Omanis born in Zanzibar and other regions of East Africa, Liwatiyah and Jibalis, as well as a large number of migrant workers from the Indian subcontinent, the Philippines and other Asian countries.

Omani society is not ethnically homogeneous. People don’t act as such either! If you read my posts on racial classes in Oman you will understand what I’m talking about!
At least 70% of all Omanis are racists! its a fact! Racial discrimination is widely practiced. The problem is that when foreigners visit the country, they are met with this colorful fake facade that every one in Oman is equal. No matter what your background is… Guess what!!! THEY ARE LYING!
Yes, I’m pissed…

Let me tell you about this post that pushed my buttons:

A girl was complaining that her family is disapproving many good proposals for her marriage because there is something wrong in the guy’s lineage. The usual excuses the family gives is that: “We don’t know these people”, “They are not well known”, and “Not from our status”. It doesn’t matter whether the girl desires the guy or not! what matters is their honor does not get scratched by good men!
Then she complains that a guy from her family proposed. He is not suitable for her as a husband, but the family says yes because “At least we know him” or “He is from the family”!

STUPID… thats all I have to say!

I’ll give you some responses this girl got:

The thing is, you can’t change a guy’s lineage history, but you can change his attitude and make him become a better person.

First of all, that’s stupid. You don’t toss a poor girl on a bad guy hoping she would change him. Second of all, you people have too much faith in these men! None of my male relatives changed “for the better” after marriage. They still screw prostitutes and drive drunk..etc.

Of course lineage history is important. If people intermarry without precautions, you would end up with a generation of pictures like those of black and while.

What is more racist than this! Seriously!

And what’s with this response:

Girls, you need not to force marriage. You will get married when its written for you.

My comment: A city was flooded. A boat came by a man’s house and asked him to hop on, he said “no, I’m waiting for God, He will save me”. A while later, another boat came by, “no, I’m waiting for God, He will save me”. The third came by and the same response. The man died and when he faced God he said: “You didn’t rescue me”, God replied: “What are you talking about, I sent you three boats”….

Last, I just want to say I am very proud of those girls and “small percentage of guys” that responded against these thoughts. It certainly gives me hope that things will change for the better!

Discussion in Sablat Oman: http://www.omania2.net/avb/showthread.php?t=412551

Read Full Post »

When I wrote about the racial classes in Oman, I didn’t realize that there was an open discussion on Sablat Oman about this issue. I started reading it, but I couldn’t help being pissed off!

The story is a scenario, I think. It is about a girl in Suhar who was abused by her stepmother. Her black friend introduced her to her brother. They started talking, fell in love, then wanted to get married. The guy proposed and the father said no. The girl sacrificed her life and went to court to get married. They got married and she lived with him. Her family, of course, disowned her.
The story goes further into saying that: The guys family dislike her because they feel she is different. The girl faces a lot of gossip from people who look down on her wherever she goes. She feels guilty because the husband and she got kicked out of her sister’s wedding. The husband faces a lot of criticism from his friends for running away with a girl…

The person who started this discussion asked for everyone’s input and thoughts on the post. Here, I will translate some of the responses for all of you to judge (These are only 10 out of 188 responses):

Response #1:

Their marriage will not last long and he will divorce her after a short time. Just as she abandoned her family, he will abandon her. Their marriage is legitimate with no dust… I, with honesty, do not agree with such kind of marriage or the kind it was done.

Response #2:

They deserve it. No one told them to get married in court. Why would she go against her own father. I’m not racist, but the person’s lineage should be taken into consideration in marriage… so don’t ignore the good heritage. Plus, the disadvantages are more than the advantages because of all the problems she faced for the marriage.

Response #3:

I don’t agree with the girl, but it’s certain that she married the guy because of her own living situation with her step mother.

Response #4:

The girl is wrong, and I would not marry my daughter off to someone who is not from her nationality…

Response #5:

Marriage in court between two people and without them being compatible…

Response #6:

God bless them..

Response #7:

With honesty would you let yourself marry someone:  this way, and pardon me, but from a skin that is different than yours….

Response #8:

First of all, Islam forbade racism.. and that is what should be the majority in the region.

Response #9:

First and last this is our culture and I don’t think it will ever change. The girl that does this deserves to be disowned till the judgment day.

Response #10:

Subhan Allah, people can’t stay put when they find stories like these and you see them stabbing with their knives for this very ugly ugly racism and being artistic on executing these knives over God’s creation, and some forgot that they are the same. Everyone will die one day but superiority, overly proud, and finding the weakest people to smash them stays.

Read Full Post »

Though I did not intend my post on racial classes in Oman to be this long, I thought that it is important to describe it in detail. Omani’s might not realize this, but this is a serious issue! Racism should never be tolerated in Oman (or any country). I think that the government should realize that merely giving fines to people for calling each other names is not enough. That does not stop the issue, it just makes it not public.

People need to be educated. I mean.. For Gods Sake! what is the use of all those Imams we have in the country! decoration!? Since the government mandates and regulates their speeches on Friday prayer (mainly not to piss off Uncle Sam), why not have them talk about this issue?

The truth is, people would say.. we are equal, we believe in that, it is in the Quran. However, the culture does not believe in that and people are not willing to give that up. Racism in Oman is a reality. It is wide spread and practiced. I was told that even in the work place, people would respect you more for who you are rather than for what you have accomplished. People married their daughters off to guys who are not fit to be husbands, but because their family name is well known and respected.

A heart breaking story I heard about was a girl from a well known family (Orbi) who married a Abd. She fought her family to be with him and married him against their will. They “of course” to not be shamed for the rest of their lives disowned their own daughter. And no.. they usually don’t get over it and take her back! This is not the West we are talking about! A year later, the husband gets into an accident and becomes paralyzed.  The sad part about this story is that people thought that the accident was a punishment from God! and that she deserved it! Her family of course will not support her in this crisis and she is on her own. The lesson to other girls.. this is what happens if you marry a Abd!

Also, when you tell people… this is wrong! they sometimes acknowledge it. Just like when Prophet Abraham told his people.. how can you worship these stones.. they can’t talk back, listen, or do you any service.. The people said.. But this is how our fathers did it.. and guess what! that is exactly the answer you would get from these people! As much as the idea is stupid and obviously way outdated, these people won’t change because that’s just how their fathers and ancestors did it!

You would THINK they had functioning brains to think and evaluate for themselves!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »