Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Who You Calling "Arab"? - Considering today's New York Times story about Arabs. I mean, Muslims. No, brownish people from the Middle East. Or possibly Sout

Excellent points - Who You Calling "Arab"? - Considering today's New York Times story about Arabs. I mean, Muslims. No, brownish people from the Middle East. Or possibly South Asia.


When reading the abovementioned article in NYT today, I had a similar level of confusion. Slate's Today's papers also had a brief reference to the confusion. Perhaps we can assume that for most Americans the Arab-Americans *are* a relatively monolithic block and so the paper is justified in bundling their political contributions into one article serving as an overview. However, should NYT really be playing to the lowest common denominator of ignorance that would put all of these people together as "those Arabs"?

The article honestly alludes to the fact that these "arab" donors are as diverse a group as "americans" are. Some are first-generation immigrants and many are not. Some are Arabic and Muslim, some are Arabic and non-Muslim, some are Muslim and not Arabic, and some are merely from countries that are Muslim. As an example, if an Egyptian Copt family donated money to the Bush campaign they would also be included in the article by virtue of being from Egypt. The proper name for the article should thus be, "non-Jewish people with origins in the Middle East donate to Bush's campaign" ... I guess that would be a lot less exciting as a headline.

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