Monday, April 19, 2010

Recap on Racism and The Khawaga Complex

By definition, if you are discriminated against because of your race: that's racism.
Does it happen in Egypt?
Just read one of the replies to my first post  about racism , a reply by a foreigner living in Egypt,  and you will get the picture.

What I find striking is the fact that we agree that there is prejudice, yet we disagree on who the Egyptians discriminate against. People from the Far East? Yep. Black? Definitely...

But when it comes to Europeans and 'white' North Americans I beg to differ. Being white IS considered superior in Egypt. The locals here think themselves inferior to the white 'master'. Being blonde can get you a job as a teacher--even if you make spelling mistakes writing in your own native tongue. While a highly qualified African-American college graduate gets repeated rejections!

The 'khawaga complex' (khawaga: is a term slightly similar to 'agnaby .ie. foreigner' but carries a positive connotation, and is usually reserved for whites) is an inferiority complex, no doubt about that. Does that make the Khawaga happy?  Definitely not. I am not suggesting that; I understand that no one wants to be labeled, and treated on the basis of their skin color.
And this is really the essence of a tolerant, modern society. A society that does not discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, race, or color.
But we are a long way from that whether in Egypt, or in the even-less-tolerant Arab world!
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