Colorful Friends

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

There are times when political correctness really chaps my craw. Whenever I mention certain races of people, others are always correcting my vernacular. Specifically I am talking about Orientals and black people.

First of all, when I talk about people from the Far East (a.k.a. the Orient) in general, I generally refer to them as Orientals. My politically correct friends continually correct my usage of terms, stating that the correct term is “Asians”, and that Oriental is a food. My problem with the term “Asian” is this: I live in Asia! Yes folks, Asia is a pretty big place, and not everyone who lives there looks the same. By classifying someone from the Far East as simply Asian, you would by technically correct, but you would be making an broad assumption about an entire continent.

Even worse is the completely idiotic classification of “African American”. You won’t hear much about this here in Asia, but in the United States it’s a big deal. In America, if a white person labels a black person as anything other than “African American”, there could be some real trouble. The problem is that every time you label a black person as African American, you’re making at least two assumptions about that person:
  1. That the person is American. What kind of idiot doesn’t realize that black people live all over the planet, even in non-African countries such as France and Great Britain.
  2. That the person is from Africa. It would be inconceivable to think that black people could come from any other location, such as India, Haiti, Australia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago or Dominican Republic. Not to mention that a quarter of African countries are populated by Arabs, and at least one African country is full of white people.
From now on, I’m just going to label my friends based on color: my brown friends, black friends, yellow friends, white friends, etc. It’s just easier.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude ur an idiot, stop wasting your time writing these meaningless/pointelss blogs

10/05/2006 10:47 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

How convenient it must be to anonymously post a poorly spelled, badly punctuated and grammatically challenged insult.

10/05/2006 10:59 AM  
Anonymous D said...

Here is a correctly spelled, finely punctuated, and grammatically sound comment: your posts are simplistic and offensive.

You depict exactly what is wrong about some American conceptions of race, multiculturalism, and cultural interactions. You talk about other cultures and peoples in derogatory ways and the problem is that you do not even realize how and why you are being offensive.

Other people are not simply “colors” which are to be measured against or through your “white” paradigms. The “Far East” is not simply the “Orient” and food that you consume in “ethnic” restaurants in the US is not just “Oriental” food.

In regards to your question about which idiot would not know that blacks live everywhere in the world, I refer you to the words of the American President himself who, while talking to the former Brazilian President, asked: “Do you have blacks in Brazil?”

I understand that it might be extremely taxing for your time and energies to have to use the “politically correct”, two-syllable description of “African American” when describing someone who is black and who lives in America and who traces their historical lineage back to Africa and to a shameful American colonialist history of slavery and a more contemporary American history of institutionalized racism and discrimination.

Would it help if you used some kind of acronym to describe some of your “colorful friends”?

For Arabs, for example, I suggest you use DA or SA (Dirty Arab or Stinky Arab. Since, apparently, a lot of the Arabs you meet are smelly and are in need of imported deodorant as your last post so kindly informed us).

These kinds of acronyms may be useful because, as a white, privileged American who can live anywhere in the world s/he may choose, nothing should have to “[chap] your straw” and nothing certainly includes not having to be politically correct or sensitive.

10/05/2006 3:51 PM  
Blogger Dave said...


It's "chaps my craw", not "straw". And I only know one Arab who is rather pungent and in desperate need of a bath.

10/05/2006 4:50 PM  
Anonymous d said...

Thanks for correcting my English, Dave. Perhaps a desperately needed bath would cleanse my sin against your "craw."

10/05/2006 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

d, you are a nasty-spirited person

10/07/2006 3:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I ever mentioned that I find it hard to swallow the dogmatized, self-righteous & unappreciative-of-others -can’t help but stress- "American" sense of pride you usually exhibit in your posts & commentary throughout the Jordanian blogsphere.

I lived most of my life in fairly racially-consistent societies, mostly Arabs that is, so there was no need for racial political correctness and how different people must be referred to differently.

Now, having lived in the west for a couple of years, where at least there are 7 fields of races you can pick from during filling up the general consensuses questionnaire, I do share with you some of the hesitance towards the oversensitivity that usually engulf political correctness, but with the lack of sincerity and true acceptance of others and oozing stereotyping and generalizing along with a shameful history, I find it hard to envisage how would western (also read: American) societies do without some restrictive guidelines.

Ideally, it doesn’t matter what term you use to refer to any race, as long as you're good hearted and will-intentioned. Even at the time of the prophet Moh'd –pbuh- who levitated pagan & slave-trading racist Arabs into the most accepting & embracing of others, even among his close companions, one of them couldn’t stop himself from referring to another black companion from what would be the equivalent of the contemporary use of the term "Nigger", and the prophet –pbuh- reiterated that "you're a man with a pagan trait, they are your brothers".

10/09/2006 11:40 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Basem, just so we're fair, I don't agree with all of your opinions that you post on your blog. Obviously, both of us suffer from the fact that our opinions are largely influenced by the culture in which we were reared.

That said, when I talk about catagorizing my friends by color, I am jesting, of course. I believe that everyone should be proud of their racial heritage and therefore, their color. I don't go around harping to everyone that I am Norwegian American, even though I am proud of the fact. I also don't get offended if someone calls me "that white guy".

Don't take my posts too seriously. If you find yourself getting too worked up over what I write, you may want to stop reading.

10/09/2006 9:23 PM  
Blogger Moey said...

dude, call me racist.. I just don't like colored people, I'm sorry!

10/11/2006 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Ranzi said...

Moey.. YOU ARE A RACIST (which is not a title you should take lightly - shame on you)..and just a bit of info to you.. you ARE coloured. Dave, I might not agree with you, but I understand where you are coming from, and you have every right to say what you want as long as you, or anyone else for that matter ( including me )do not judge others on the basis of their origin, as I have personally fell victim to such mass generalizations. Dave, i would like to urge you to remove Moey's post as it has deeply offended me, and others I am sure. Free speach is a right so long as you do not abuse it. Our friend Moey here has definately abused his. Thank you for giving me the chance to comment on your blog. I think your insights are meaningful, and helpful. Thank you for sharing them with us.

10/13/2006 7:13 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Ranzi, thanks for your comments. I am glad that you appreciate the tongue-in-cheek style of this post. Obviously I'm not racist; if I were, I would not be living in Jordan. I love people of all origins and cultures. I just get a laugh out of the politically correct terms that we assign to people groups, especially when the terms are extremely broad in their descriptions.

I understand your concern with Moey's post, but I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is joking in his own wierd way.

10/13/2006 5:58 PM  
Anonymous constance walker-carter said...

i think the planet is a ghetto and that 3 billion homo sapien sapiens' are colour struck! Do your friends have names? Maybe them and forget references them as colours! I'll be in Amman soon. Will you still be there?

10/17/2006 6:56 AM  

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