Grow Up Tag Free

Once You Go Black: Racism in Jordan

In Culture Arabia, Jordan on February 4, 2008 at 10:28 am

I have an African-American friend who spent a year in Amman studying Arabic. When I first got to know him, he gave me a list of all the things he hated about Jordan. The most prominent item on his list was racism.

I used to think that Jordanians are generally not racist, that we accept people regardless of their skin color, and that we do not discriminate based on that. But my friend’s list was an eye-opener to me, because it showed me what a black person actually felt while being in Jordan. You can’t know these things unless you are in someone’s shoes like that, as a non-Black person you are not sensitive to them because you simply don’t have to face them.

My friend told me he had never been so conscious of his skin color, of being “black,” as much as when he was in Jordan. He told me stories about random guys calling him “Abu Samra” and laughing, about people’s insistence that he was not from the U.S.A but from somewhere else “originally.” No really, originally, where are you from? — that’s what they used to ask him.

I was really shocked, especially when he mentioned that most Jordanians counter-attacked any critique of their country with a “but America brought blacks from Africa and made them slaves!.” I can imagine that it was as if my friend’s being black was the be-all and end-all of his humanity. That was how people defined him.

I find black people beautiful. My best friends in kindergarten were black orphans. Their names were Ward (boy) and Gulnar (girl). Perhaps because I interacted with black people at such an early age that I have developed a profound liking for them.

When I was younger, I kept telling my mother that I want to marry a black man. She usually dismissed the idea, like she did with plenty of my unusual whims. But at one point, it got serious and she got serious. She found it unacceptable that I would even think it possible for me to be with a black man.

My father joined my mother’s side, and I just could not understand why they had that attitude. So I kept harassing them with religious quotes and whatnot about equality, but they weren’t very affected. I knew I would not end up with a black man (because, how many black men are there in Jordan? 5?), but the idea so outraged me that I mentioned my fantasy to them whenever I got the chance just to prove they did not act out what they believed.

I think the situation in Jordan is similar. You have people telling you they do not discriminate, but their behaviors show the opposite. Read the following excerpts from an article about adoption in Jordan in Al Rai:

واشارت ان هناك فئات من الاطفال لا تقبل الاسر الاردنية على احتضانهم ويكونون بالعادة يعانون من امراض معينة تحتاج لعلاج او اعاقات معينة نتيجة الظروف التي وضعوا فيها اضافة الى الاطفال ذوي البشرة السوداء الذين ان لم تحتضنهم الاسر - غير العربية - فانهم سيبقون طوال عمرهم بالمؤسسات .

وهؤلاء الاطفال الذين لم يتم احتضانهم سيبقون في مؤسسات الرعاية الاجتماعية طوال عمرهم ، اذ ان الاسر العربية تميل الى احتضان الاطفال حديثي الولادة والذين لا يعانون من اية مشاكل إضافة إلى اختيارهم الأطفال ذوي البشرة البيضاء .

If you can’t read Arabic, the quotes say that Arab families that want to adopt Jordanian babies refrain from adopting black children and prefer to adopt whites. On the contrary, foreign families do not mind adopting black Jordanian children, or those with “problems.”

If that is not racism, I don’t know what is! I was heartbroken just by reading that. The irony in the situation is that these families probably cannot have children of their own, and YET they discriminate against children based on their skin color. These families would rather wait than readily adopt a black child. If not lucky enough to be picked up by foreign families, black children remain in government-operated, impersonal foster homes until they reach adulthood.

I just wonder who could be so evil, so low, as to be racist to a child. Now I ask you: How could people who so desperately want to love a child be picky about skin color? How could they break a child’s heart? No wonder Ward and Gulnar were orphans. Do you think they didn’t know why they were not adopted?

  1. Jordanians are not racist.
    Choosing someone to be adopted based on skin color, height, good looks, health, intelligence does not indicate racism.</p>
    <p>I am betting that most families select children who are healthy, and not because they are racist against the sick.</p>
    <p>I would tell your friend that he is looking at our world through his glasses. And they appear to be tainted.</p>
    <p>PS: Interesting title.</p>
    <p></p>

  2. "I used to think that Jordanians are generally not racist"<br /><br />I really do not know what to say. Arabs, and Jordanians are no different, are of the most racist people I have ever met in my life. Well, I am not white nor black, I am what Jordanians call حنطي. But still, I faced a lot of looks her in the states from Arabs. Also, towards Blacks and Latinos, Arabs are really no angels. Then, if some one <span style="font-style: italic;">hints </span>at a negativity of the Arab background, its as if a bomb was dropped.<br />

  3. funny thing is that adoption is illegal from what i understand under law, so maybe using the taken children under there care would me more appropriate. <br />As for the racism it never crosses a racist mind that he is racist when everyone around him paints the picture using the same color. <br />try explaining to people that you aren’t mobbed at gun point every day just because your room mate is black … <br />Also just to note, i am liking the last string of posts although you reiterated that you are taking a break, so please take more breaks if thats your definition of a break :D<br />

  4. With all respect Tololy.. but maybe your friend was hanging with bad guys. or maybe he was in the wrong enviorment. cause honestly..i have black friends also.. and i dont remember that they got trashed by anyone :) <br />Thanks :) <br />Ps : say hello to your friend :)<br />

  5. It’s white color preference, but i don’t exactly see it as racism. Only because in racism a person’s racially distinctive appearance is a negative package of stereotypes. Arab have very superficial beauty standards and consider whiteness as a sign of beauty. I’m really dark and had to grow up with all the negativity towards "Abu samra". I don’t think Arabs consider blacks to be stupid, evil or criminal (unless by US influance) just not pretty and that’s all they care about.

  6. It’s hard to generalize but lemme do a local generalization here which
    should only applies to Jordanian black skin people or Ghoraniyeh.
    Calling a black skin person <q>Abu Samra</q> isn’t racism unless he’s over sensitive which never happened.
    I have had lots of black friends, we used to call them <q>Abu
    Samra</q>, <q>Abu Sharkas</q>,
    <q>Shogle6a</q> etc.. and they were very satisfied and most
    of those Jordanian black friends uses <q>Abu Samra</q> in
    their signature and they even prefer to be called in that name rather
    than their real names.One final thought, I’m sure that your Black American friend were offended by those names because it took him back to the history of racism in his country, The United States of America and this because he doesn’t understand the cultural or the history of Jordan.

  7. I think that people in Jordan can be somewhat ignorant when it comes to such issues, but I don’t think anything was actually racist, its just that your American friend is applying American standards of political correctness to conversation that are taking place in Jordan were people tend not to take issues of race (race as in skin colour) as seriously as they do in the states, mainly because we are such a mixed population, just take the residents of your average Ammani street and you will find that the range in shade (sometimes within the same family) from nearly blond to nearly black - with hardly any being completely either. So yes while I do agree that there is still a traditional preference for lighter skin, and against darker skin I suspect that is more to do with the connection people make between lighter skin colour and wealth in society, and not because of ‘racist’ discrimination in the same way it would occur in like the US for example. In any case alot of these mistaken concepts people in Jordan may have about Black Americans are picked up, in many cases, with the best intentions from the American media, just like many American’s image of Arabs is defined by the media, I mean how many times have I had to convince people that my sister does not have to cover her hair when she goes back to Jordan, or even that although i am light skinned (i.e. probably appear white to their eyes) but I am Jordanian and Arab? Its just the same - its not really racism, its simple ignorance and the oversimplification of complicated issues.&nbsp;

  8. Technically, Arabs are NOT WHITE!!! We are considered "colored" people!! Not black, but not white either… We are brown people!

  9. thank you very much for this post,I found your comments are true and has validity to it,Jordanian are racist whether we like or not,every time I discuss this subject with family or friends ,the first thing they describe black person as عبد أو عبيد,in English these words slave or slaves,I challenge every body if they had the chance to chose for&nbsp;their daughters or sisters &nbsp;pride or groom they will tell you ,they prefer whit or "light skin",racism has been enforced on us by hollywood and white man perception of "black" or&nbsp;"dark" skin person.&nbsp;

  10. I got asked so many times by African-British or African-Carribean-People and even Somalians whether there’s racism against Black people in Jordan, and how do we call them (3beddeh? Blacks? Zunooj?) and I really felt embarassed and try to explain to them what my own circle of friends think and how we don’t discriminate, yet my parents are really a huge problem. Even I once remember my nephews, when they were 5 or 6 they were complaining about a black boy in their classroom. I scolded them, one by one, it was VERY irritating. <br /><br />I blame families, they should make sure when they bring up their kids to make them understand that all are equal. I was blessed with living in London, since it’s possibly one of the most diverse places on earth!<br /><br />But wait, some people from Ghor have African origins, no? I think like the ones that immigrated to Palestine.<br />

  11. I recently got engaged, and my fiance is Pakistani. When I went to Jordan last summer, one of the common reactions of my relatives to his pictures was.."oh he’s not that dark! that’s great, he even looks a little Arab!". I tried to not be offended because I’m used to hearing things in Jordan that I brush off, but I would be very taken back and offended if I heard them here in the US. It will be interesting to see how he’s treated when we visit Jordan together. <br />I would’ve probably had the same reaction you did to what happened to your friend, but I think the commentators are right in that this type of "reaction" he received in Jordan is not the same kind of "racism" as that displayed here in the US. <br />

  12. just a another small addition to all the guys that say jordanians aren’t racist against blacks and we don’t share the history of discrimination as the US does. Slavery existed in the arab world till around the 1920’s, and to drive it a bit closer do u remember the sika bob commercials ? do you think that was innocent fun, or plain redicule of a person based on his skin that made the commercial so popular?<br />

  13. Hello, everyone. I am Tololy’s African-American friend in question.&nbsp;
    And since so many people have indicated their interest in this post, I
    feel obligated to speak for myself.&nbsp; Hope you don’t mind, Tol.<br /><br />
    To everyone that suggests that my American biases exaggerated my
    perceptions of racism: I would counter that that is only true to a
    limited extent.&nbsp; I am willing to admit that my American sense of
    political correctness left me utterly aghast for the first several
    times that strangers called me "Abu Samra;" however, this horror was
    mitigated when I realized that this name was not necessarily malicious,
    thanks to conversations with several Jordanian friends on the issue.&nbsp;
    Still, even after this realization, I can fairly say that there were
    several occasions on which I was called this name in what was <span style="font-style: italic;">clearly</span> a deragatory tone.&nbsp; But this is just the tip of the overly race-conscious / racist iceberg in Jordan.<br /><br />
    What can account for the fact that <span style="font-style: italic;">all </span>of
    the white people I studied in Jordan with, without exception, have told
    me stories of Jordanians who asked or said things to them that were
    explicitly racist?&nbsp; Such colorful examples include: "Blacks cause all
    the problems in America, right?" "I think that black American people
    are more criminal because they are from Africa, where they have a tough
    existence."<br /><br />
    What can account for the vast differences between the automatic respect
    and warm cordiality afforded my white American counterparts and the
    coldness and suspicion with which I was regarded, even when I was in
    their company?&nbsp; On several occasions, this made them feel just as
    awkward as I did.&nbsp; What can account for the fact that when I tried to
    enter Tche Tche (next to the Applebees) I was told I would need a
    reservation (and this happened <span style="font-weight: bold;">three time</span>, at different times of day)?&nbsp;
    Imagine how embarrassed I was when I later entered the same place on a
    very crowded afternoon with my white friends, unmoleested.&nbsp; <br /><br />
    Moreover, and somewhat ironically, the disparities in how I was treated
    versus my white friends grew worse the more proficient I became in
    Arabic (and I know Arabic very well).&nbsp; After running several social
    experiments, I concluded that at any time I was in a situation that
    required service–at banks, restaurants, wherever–it behooved me to
    speak my native language.&nbsp; Because if I used Arabic, the service would
    likely be resentful and inefficient, whereas using English was met with
    a degree of cordiality.&nbsp; Again, comparing my experience with my white
    friends, service providers were always ecstatic at their attempting to
    use their broke-ass Arabic.&nbsp; I realize that race is only tangential to
    this issue, but I believe it plays a discernable role.

    And on the issue of "origin":
    again, I realize this issue has more to do with ignorance than
    malicious racism.&nbsp; But I ask all of you to think of how upsetting it
    would be to be confronted with the fact that others refuse to see you
    for what you are (an American, in my case).&nbsp; Imagine how upsetting it
    would be to be confronted daily with the historical reality that your
    ancestors were stripped of their identity when they were forcibly
    shipped across an ocean and sold, rendering you unable to answer the
    question of where you’re "originally" from.&nbsp; <br /><br />
    And to correct Tololy’s recollection of our conversation, people
    usually countered my litany of complaints about Jordan with the
    contention "But there’s racism in America!&nbsp; We don’t have that here."&nbsp;
    In fact, most people in Jordan I spoke to were largely ignorant of
    slavery in America, and even ignorant of the realities of the harsh
    slave trade in the Arab world.<br /><br />
    Anyway…I could go on and on and on, but I’m cutting myself short
    because this comment of mine is long enough already.&nbsp; Feel free to send
    me an email at austinbranion@gmail.com if you want even more detail.<br />

  14. I refrained until Austin commented, and I hope you will forgive me for saying so, but I see racism as a deeply ingrained thing in Arab culture. It’s so close it isnt’ seen, it’s as much xenophobia as racism. <br /><br />Ditto Bambam, the slave mentality is very much alive and well. I think not many Arabs know how deeply their ancestors were involved in the Western slave trade.&nbsp; I think this is the root issue with the horrible abuse suffered by domestic workers - they are considered property, bought and paid for. Indentured servitude. <br /><br />We have Sudanese friends here who have terrible stories of their treatment by Jordanians. A long time ago, there was an African American man who learned the language so quickly he was preaching in church in Arabic after only six months. Granted, he was allowed to preach, but the reason was sort of a sideshow: "Come see&nbsp; the e3beed speak, we had no idea black people could learn anything!"<br /><br />We have at least six photos in an album of mixed race marriages, and those photos always provoke a comment that it was a shame that bride/groom couldn’t find anyone better of their own race…what had they done to lower themselves? We have even more friends who have adopted black and hispanic babies, and these photos are viewed with the same contempt.<br /><br />I had a British Indian friend, married to an American. If we went shopping, the clerk would try and give her my purchases to carry (so I always insisted on carryignnher bags, just to freak them out). Her family was in Mac D’s eating, and a Jordanian woman approached her and acused her of ’stealing the madames’ husband’.&nbsp; She had been slapped by a taxi driver, pushed down a flight of stairs by a group of boys, they finally left&nbsp; because her husband couldn’t stand to see her&nbsp; treated that way.<br /><br />Racism, by any culture’s definition, is alive and well in Jordan. When people can weep with sorrow over Austin’s story, rather than denying it, they will be on the road to getting rid of it.. <br />

  15. This is not exactly a reply to anyone, just thoughts on the issue.</p>
    <p>As a Jordanian who’s lived in Amman for 20 years, and now a current resident of the States who’s been here for 8 years. I admitt&nbsp;that I have a problem with&nbsp;African-Americans where I reside. </p>
    <p>Never had I imagined that I would be one of those who would move out of a neighborhood and look for an exclusive community that doesn’t harbor&nbsp;any&nbsp;Black families, but since an African-American teenager was shot near my doorstep due to a gunshot&nbsp; wound by another African-American, I couldn’t imagine raising my son in that subdivision, my son was unable to go out and play like a normal kid because of fear&nbsp;for his safety. Next to that the theft of my neighbors’ cars on a weekly basis-which turned out to be by African-Americans-kept us frightened to park our cars outside even in broad daylight. In the same neighborhood, the cameras caught a group of Black kids vandalizing the pool and throwing the chairs in the water because they were denied access (since they’re not residents of the community they can’t use the pool we pay for monthly.)</p>
    <p>I’m always getting into altercations with African-Americans while driving or parking and I swear to God I NEVER initiate. There’s cutting in line at the supermarket or restaurants, blasting the stereo in the car/apartment/house and disturbing the peace without any regard for other people. </p>
    <p>This is my personal experience, what I came across and lived through. Had these incidents&nbsp;been with&nbsp;Mexicans, Norwegians or Cypriots, I would have a problem with them as well, it is not a grudge against Black individuals.</p>
    <p>I’ve concluded that African-Americans have an inferiority complex due to their history in the United States, they feel entitled to cut in line and get their hands in others’ cookie jars (theft, vandalism..etc) because they were slaves and treated inhumanely, that’s their excuse. They claim the&nbsp;cops are after them because they’re Black, not because they’re speeding or have had criminal&nbsp;records.&nbsp;They won’t acknowledge that THEY TOO ARE RACIST toward Caucasians, Mexicans, Indians, Pakistanis and Arabs!</p>
    <p>Growing up in Jordan with dark Jordanians, Palestinians, Iraqis and Egyptians, color was not an issue, it isn’t to me, it’s human behavior and mannerisms. The law of Decency applies to all races, religions and ethnicities.</p>
    <p></p>

  16. Austin,,I would like to apologize to you for the racism that you have encountered in Jordan while visiting,off course my apology would not compensate you for what you had go through, racism do exist in Jordan even between people from the south or north ,that how ugly things are in Jordan let alone,the discrimination against palestinians,we had to change a lot of minds and attitudes and it’s going to take sometimes to erase and abolish&nbsp;racism in my country ,again Toloy thank you for bringing this subject to blogsepher.&nbsp;&nbsp;

  17. I also studied in Jordan; I’m blond, so I didn’t face any particular race-related problems (there was a barrage of catcalls, of course, but that’s another issue).&nbsp; However, I heard reports of racism from all sorts of "brown" students, and not just the relatively few black students I was studying with.&nbsp; Those of East Asian descent had "ching chang chong" shouted at them on the street; those of South Asian descent were often assumed to be servants.&nbsp; Yes, American conceptions of political correctness can account for some of the offense that was taken, but not all the students I knew who felt oppressed by this behavior were American or had even visited America.

  18. Actually you are not aware of racism that is based on skin color because in Jordan there are a few people who are black. But I bet you are aware of racism that is based on religion, or sexuality or on nationality… i.e. Jordanian, Iraqi, Palestinian, Egyptian…
    <p></p></font></span></p>
    <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; LINE-HEIGHT: normal"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;">
    <p><font color="#000000">&nbsp;</font></p></span></p>
    <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; LINE-HEIGHT: normal"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><font color="#000000">Of course Jordanians are racist…. As <span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</span>a matter of fact the problem is that racism is
    <p></p></font></span></p>
    <p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; LINE-HEIGHT: normal"><span style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; FONT-FAMILY: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><font color="#000000">embedded and condoned in the culture.
    <p></p></font></span></p></div><!– http://madas.jordanplanet.org/ –><!–/footer–>

  19. kinzi: many thanks for your comment!&nbsp; Since I counted among those with a supposedly pitiable skin color, I was not privy to hear such comments myself.&nbsp; However, as I said before, all of my white friends in Jordan can recount such tales of&nbsp; flabbergasting race-based commentary.&nbsp; Thank you for corroborating this aspect of my argument.&nbsp; And you’re right: ending the denial is the first step toward correcting the problem.<br /><br />And as a quick aside, I also want to say that I am definitely inclined to believe that this phenomenon is widespread in Arab culture(s): my brother, who lived in Cairo for four months, has stories similar to my own.&nbsp; My supervisor at an internship I had, who was Lebanese, told me that he never <span style="font-style: italic;">really</span> realized how racist Arabs were until he went back home (to Tripoli) with his four year old daughter, who happens to be very dark-skinned, and saw how she was treated even as a child.&nbsp; I myself spent several weeks in Yemen this past summer, and the treatment I recieved there was absolutely maddening: I made the decision after my first two weeks there that I should never go out to eat alone or only in the company of other blacks, because there was a good chance that I wouldn’t be served.&nbsp; I could give many, many anecdotes on such treatment in Sana’a.&nbsp; Ironically enough, these experiences pushed me to play the part of "the angry black man" that I have avoided all my life in order to simply be <span style="font-style: italic;">seen</span>, and which Haneen has apparently found intolerable in America.<br /><br />It’s just like Tololy recounted: even though I’m from Georgia, a state with a long, horrible legacy of racism and segregation, I can honestly that I have <span style="font-style: italic;">never</span> been as conscious of my blackness the way I was in Jordan.<br /><br /><br />Sarah: thanks for pointing out that this <span style="font-style: italic;">definitely</span> doesn’t begin and end with blacks and American sensitivities!&nbsp; As heartbreaking as my experience was, my Asian / Asian-American friends <span style="font-style: italic;">certainly </span>had an even worse time than I did.&nbsp; I myself witnessed such gross disrespect towards them (and don’t even get my started on how people treat their servants…), including random jerks shouting "ching chang chong" as though it’s funny or clever.<br /><br />By the way, when were you in Jordan?&nbsp; I was there the 2005-06 school year.<br /><br />Alurdunialhurr: thanks for the sentiment.&nbsp; I also applaud you for raising the issue again on your own blog.&nbsp; Usually, as has been witnessed in some above comments, my protestations against racism in Jordan were met with denial or lame excuses, as though innocuous racism is somehow not a problem compared to the explicitly malignant kind: while it may be less offense superficially, it’s still a problem in the hearts and minds of people who are so race-conscious to begin with.&nbsp; <br /><br />Haneen: while your comment is off the subject of racism in Jordan, I think it warrants being addressed.&nbsp; I’m sorry that your experience with blacks in America has been so overwhelmingly negative up until this point, and I understand how someone who doesn’t think of themselves as racist can suddenly find themselves contending with the seemingly objective standards that their eyes and experience present them: trust me, I have that same struggle with Arabs sometimes.<br /><br />I myself am embarrassed by the often-times unnecessarily abrasive mannerisms of my fellow black people.&nbsp; We, particularly black youth, have a lot of cultural problems–anti-intellectualism, glorified gangsterism–that aren’t typically dealt with honestly.&nbsp; But I think you’re <span style="font-style: italic;">definitely</span> on to something with your theory that there’s a widespread, subconscious inferiority complex at work amongst many of us.&nbsp; As with many historically oppressed groups–blacks, homosexuals, Muslim Americans, women–some people feel engage in what I feel is an attempt at <span style="font-style: italic;">over</span>compensation, whereby the aggresively assert an identity that only ends up turning people off even more.&nbsp; Allow me to suggest two great books on issues of African-American sociology (although I can’t remember the authors’ names and am too lazy to google): <span style="font-style: italic;">"Why Do All The Black Kids Sit Together In The Cafeteria?" And Other Conversations About Race&nbsp; </span>and <span style="font-style: italic;">Losing the Race</span>.<br />

  20. I’ve concluded that African-Americans have an inferiority complex due to their history in the United States, they feel entitled to cut in line and get their hands in others’ cookie jars (theft, vandalism..etc) because they were slaves and treated inhumanely, that’s their excuse. They claim the&nbsp;cops are after them because they’re Black, not because they’re speeding or have had criminal&nbsp;records.&nbsp;They won’t acknowledge that THEY TOO ARE RACIST toward Caucasians, Mexicans, Indians, Pakistanis and Arabs!"</p>
    <p>&nbsp;Haneen,,,your occlusion at least it seems to me is based on very biased and racist&nbsp;opinion and not scientifically based&nbsp;facts and findings.&nbsp;</p>

  21. i believe you, austin.  and sarah, all those catcalls and propositions we get because we are blonde and fair?  that is just another form of racism combined with a healthy dose of sexism.  we wouldn’t get as many of them if we were able to fit in better.
    i’ve lived all over the world, and i don’t say this to be mean, but i’ve never before or since experienced the daily, sometimes hourly, reminders of my “differentness.”  and i really grew to resent the overall vibe that, somehow because i’m fair, i’m sexually available at all times to whomever makes a pass.  not nice.  sometimes these offenses took place in front of the jordanian police, who only smiled at my predicament and acted like the were getting a kick out of it.
     

  22. This article is right on point.

    I just landed from Jordan. Yesterday was first time there - and my last (if I can help it). I can assure you I will never willingly go back to that land of evil for the rest of my life.

    I have a successful consulting career, six figure annual salary (US Dollars) and have travelled to many countries in this world interacting with many different types of people - Asia Europe, Middle East, Africa, etc etc..

    Never before have I experienced such ballant in-your-face racism like I did in Jordan.

    The hostility starts at right on arrival - at Immigration (by government officials) and follows you all through till you leave. Never have I felt so alone and hated on this planet.

    What did I do? Who did I hurt? What’s my sin? Whose air am I breating? Whose space did I wrongfully occupy by being born?

    Yup, One night. Thats all it took for me. Your friend must have a heart of steel.

    Anyway, I am glad I was staying at the Intercontinental - the staff were multicultural and I could hold on to that for much needed sanity. I managed to keep my cool and engage the racists in some verbal/humorous battle of wits (unfortunately such people don’t tend to be very smart).

    I am sad that Arabs - the very people who claim to be targets of racism nowadays, can turn into such monsters given the slightest opportunity.

    Anyway, I am not angry any more. I forgive them and will continue to pray for them.

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