Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

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.


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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 …

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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

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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!

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There are three main racial classes in Oman – from highest to lowest: (1) O’rbi “original Omani”, (2) Abd “slave”, and (3) Beesari (no origin).


Now this is the most confusing of all classes that you would ever have to hear about. A Beesari is a person with no origin. Now, why are these lower than the Abeed? Well, it’s because you can’t trace their blood line.. at all. No origin, no ancestors what so ever! The funny thing is that people from the first and second class would not marry someone who is Beesari because unknown blood line might bring “disorders” or “genetic” diseases to who is marrying them. BUT, marrying your cousin is totally fine! No diseases there! Cause that makes total sense!

People have gone so far as to say that Beesari’s ancestors are….. Well, lets rule out the others first!
So, white people in general are pigs.. Jews are monkeys.. who do we have left?? Donkeys!
Why would that be shocking? I mean, it makes sense… totally!

So because O’rbis and Abeed (I think Abeed are just happy at this point to feel superior over someone) don’t know where Beesari’s came from, they just thought about giving them a donkey ancestor. Associating Beesari’s with animal ancestors makes them seem less human, and therefore, it is okay to treat them with no respect. I think we need to have some DNA testing here. I’m sure people would find out that Beesari’s came from…well,  just around the corner!

Physical Characteristics: They are mostly  light skin, but they either have the coarse hair or the flat nose. Now, unlike the Abeed who are generally black, Beesari’s are harder to identify. It takes research to identify this group, and sometimes you can tell by their last name and town. However, many Beesari’s have managed to hide it and marry someone from the Orbi’s class. And once you do that.. Boy, you climbed really high! you are just that good! Beesari’s would show case it and brag about it till the bride’s family finds out and force you to divorce her! Cause God Forbid people found out! How can this girl and her family live with this embarrassment and shame!

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There are three main racial classes in Oman – from highest to lowest: (1) O’rbi “original Omani”, (2) Abd “slave”, and (3) Beesari (no origin).

(2) Abd:

The word Abd means slave. It is used towards ex-slaves in Oman. Is it used in the derogetory way? Well, yes!
These people are different from the Sawahili because those are originally from Zanzibar and they can trace their lineage pretty well. However, people with Sawahili origin do not belong to any of these classes because similar to the Baluchi’s.. They are not really Omani!

Slavery has only been formally abolished in 1970 in Oman. Many Omani’s in their 50’s would remember walking around the slavery markets, and a lot of these second class Abeed -slaves- are actually either “literally” ex-slaves or first and second generation of ex-slaves. The reason they are called Abeed is because they are identified as ex-slaves and not original Omanis. Now, the government has been trying – or may I say… trying, just not so hard! – to punish those mostly O’rbis for calling someone Abd in public, which is of course retarded! I mean, My God! That is just who they ARE! I don’t know if the government understands that the problem is deeper than just Calling someone Abd! The fine “so i’ve heard” is about 500 rial (1200 USD), and now O’rbis giggle in their households thinking this is a stupid law! Especially that the Abeed sometimes provoke O’rbis to call them as such for money! I mean really, they try so hard – poor things suffer so much – to stop their urges, but it’s not THEIR fault if they are provoked!

Physical Identification: Since slaves in Oman were brought in from Africa, usually these people are black, with the coarse hair, and flat noses.  These are enough characteristics for a Orbi to feel superior and act as such. Now, maybe not allare black, but if an Orbi has a Abd ancestor “even if it was a cousin to an ancestor”, then their blood is tainted  Abeed and they do not belong to either class. It is hard for women and men to get married in this situation because they don’t want to go below their class and the O’rbis think their blood is tainted… Which is another reason for O’rbis to justify why they wont marry from the Abd class.. they don’t want their children to suffer! Cause God Forbid.. they can’t change their culture! That’s just how they were raised!

Now, originally in Islam.. God’s message is.. All People are Equal
Well, yeah.. but not really! Allah didn’t mean it in that way. He meant to say that all people are equal to Him, and that He will judge people equally based on how faithful they are to Him. But wait! doesn’t that mean we are all equal? Well, To Him we are, but in the cultural sense.. we are not! Some are just better than others…

So Confused!

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I wanted to start my blog with a post on one of the most sensitive issues (at least to me) in Oman: Racial classes

There are three main racial classes in Oman – from highest to lowest: (1) O’rbi “original Omani”, (2) Abd “slave”, and (3) Beesari (no origin).
Now before I start explaining the differences between them, I want you all to know that these racial classes have nothing to do with skin color, but with your origin or line of blood. Also, I want to make clear that not all people believe in this system, but it is out there.. and wide spread!

This category includes the all well known and may I stress “proud” original Omanis. They are the “above” all in their “well known” line of blood. There are different types of people with this group: First, are those with the famous last names and huge families (or tribes, which ever). And i’m not talking about the Bluchi’s or Zidgali’s (they are not really Omanis!), but i’m talking about those who “proudly” can trace their ancestory lineage to hundreds or even thousands of years back being from Oman. Usually these are called the Sadah; meaning leaders. Second, you have the people with the middle size “tribes” who are still well known, just not as the first category. These are the wannabees or the social climbers. Each mother hopes her daughter would marry from the first type so that they can be even more “proud”. I will call these Awlad Shewkh; meaning sons of Shaiks, cause I think thats how they like to refer to themselves. Third, are those with the “not so well known” last names or “not known at all”. These people belong to the smaller “tribes” or the poor ones. They are either “poor” and “proud” or just poor. For lack of a better word, I’ll call these Masakeen, cause they are.. poor.

All these types of  O’rbi’s share a common thought: we are “proud” and “better” than all of you “fake Omanis”. Here, i’m only identifying them. It is not uncommon in Oman for someone to ask another classmate/ coworker/ friend: What is your last name?
Because in reality, they are asking: What is your status? Sometimes it is just to have a sense of where a person is from because some family names are concentrated in certain regions in Oman. But, in other cases, it is to assess how much “respect” you should give to that person. If the person is from the Sadah, then you darn well should show respect!

Nevertheless, these are the people who like to think they represent Oman in its best.. “not so sure!”
So, they are hospitable to strangers and welcome them in their homes, they give them food, never say no for someone to stay over night with them.. very humble especially towards the Sadah of course or the those who are in the higher category. They are the most likely to be offended by someone somewhere for something.. and of course, they are the most religious “not really! just the most that stick to cultural beliefs and never change!” Thats another thing about these people: the HATE to change, unless of course they climb that social ladder, then they would be happy to get dozens of housemaids.. but God Forbid they change their “cultural beliefs!”

One reason why we still have this stupid “racial classes” in Oman is because these idiots think it will be chaotic to “God Forbid” .. change! and think that other people in Oman who served the country and earned their Omani national are actually “just like them”! OMG! Did I just say it.. We are .. what?!!! Equal! so confused! 

Sorry Barak Obama, I guess your message for change only reaches the US and the rest of the world..

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