"To the impartial eye, the world not only seems an unlikely one-off phenomenon, but a constant strain on reason. If reason exists, that is, if a neutral reason exists. So speaks the voice from within. So speaks Joker's voice." - Jostein Gaarder

Friday, August 12, 2005

Really Racism?!! or maybe just Phobia?

A lot of posts talked about the racism against Arabs in dictionaries, I'd like to mention
Sinan, Roba, Omar, Eman, MMM

I did feel fishy about all the Racism in Dictioneries posts... so I tried looking up the word "Jew" in 2 of those dicts.

one of em is the most famous Websters

...comber, booly; globegirdler, globetrotter; vagrant, hobo, night walker, sleep
walker; noctambulist, runabout, straphanger, swagman, swagsman; trecker,
trekker, zingano, zingaro

almost the same as Arab.. which rules out the Racism factor...

The American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition:

1.To bargain shrewdly or unfairly with. Often used with down.
2.To haggle so
as to reduce (a price). Often used with down.

I guess that rules out WATA's arguments..??!

I rest my case...

[this wasn't a thorough search... a very quick and shallow one that lead to THESE results...]
I honestly this that this topic is over-rated...!!!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree that it's an overrated issue. we, people of this region in the world, tend to believe a lot of conspiracy theories and to feel we are always the victims of some foreign evil plot, or discrimination. while we on the other hand, are the most people on earth who discriminate against others or even against ourselves. we'd better get out of this victim mentality and look at our selves for who we really are.

August 12, 2005 10:54 AM

Blogger Sinan said...

No offence man but honestly your point is totally irrelevant cause having a hostile definition about Jews doesn't justify them to do the same with the Arabs. What we and other bloggers are afraid of or mad at is how they always pictures the Arabs whether it was in there dictionaries or in their TV with long beards, huge bellies sitting in a harem full with half naked chicks.
And dear anonymous I do agree with all you said with the fact that most ppl in our region heavily believe in conspiracy theories, but dear has any of us really linked to it or even hint it?? Just cool down will you.

August 12, 2005 11:39 AM

Blogger Yazan said...

ya Sinan the point here, is that these offensive definitions are not only set against Arabs... I don't think they're set AGAINST anybody... they're just trying to be more real... if "Arab" was used once upon a time in the meaning of "hobo"... well I guess it's fair enough to put it as "hobo"... they're saying these are synonyms in a particular context... while they gave a full scale definition of an Arab before that... that's real enough to me.. I don't consider it disturbing or offending!!

August 12, 2005 7:25 PM

Blogger Sinan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 12, 2005 9:39 PM

Blogger Sinan said...

Man just pay some attention to what I am saying, I don't know about other bloggers but I am talking about myself now, when I talked about this topic in the first place it's because I mad about the picture they always give about us, now if some kid was hearing some BS about Arabs or watching an Indiana movie where Arabs are greedy bastards, or Team America which was very disgusting movie too, now if the kid was a bit curious the first thing he would do is ask his father or look it up himself in the dictionary. Would the kid understand that these words are just old synonyms as you said?? And by the way if they are really Obselete or Archaic they usually put in italic before the defination.

August 12, 2005 9:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the kid in the west that u're talking about, sinan doen't need to ask his father or look up the dictionary to know what an arab is.he's bombarded everyday with pics of terrorists and fanatics who happened to be arabs or muslims and they usually fit the stereotype: long beards, big bellies, and curved noses. so don't get all upset and mad about it and start admit that this might be somewhat true. and I do think that the conspiracy theroy thing is totally relevant in that most of the people who tend think that way refuse to see the other side of the story and blame it all on the west and their racisim in this matter. and don't worry my friend I'm cooling down

August 13, 2005 2:02 AM

Blogger Sinan said...

Oh really my dear anonymous well you haven't lived in the west but I did and I know what I am talking about, and this who they raized us in schools if there is something you don't understand go look it up in the dic each kid has his own dictionary from the second grade.... that's a thing and dear if you feel comfortable with being associated with terrorist then be my guest, but as long as I can make a slight difference I'll gladly make it and I will also appreciate it empty headed ppl stood by and watch me do it.

August 13, 2005 4:41 AM

Blogger Ihsan said...

Media gives more efficient pictures than dictionaries do!

Sinan, why do they do that? Giving us the picture that annoys u I mean!

August 13, 2005 6:23 AM

Blogger Sinan said...

I am sure they don't do to spite me, and I also know they have their reasons I mean some of us didn't do their best in providing a nice picture but that shouldn't stop of protecting our image, whoever give them a reason to picture us this way are a minority, that's a thing and there other thing even thought we all condemn this minority ‘s work as much as the west do, that doesn't mean we tilt our heads and wait to be punished, I mean if we were to judge Jews based on Israel government and Americans based on Bush well I think we should all hate them but do we?? No I don't think so, so what all I am asking to be treated the same and I guess that's fair enough.

August 13, 2005 7:21 AM

Blogger Ayman said...

I disagree with you, Front Bumper. When you label a race or an ethnic group as "hobos" you are not being "more real", you are just being RACIST. Even if some Arabs were really hobos, terrorists, blood-thirsty, etc... this does not justify generalizing and offending the whole race they belong to.. We have negative/false sterotypes about the West too... take for example the way we dispise the sexual freedoms in the West... how we associate this with the lack of moral values and honor. I am not discussing whether this view is right or not.. but imagine we wanted to be "more real" and used these negative sterotypes to define the word "European" or "American" in our dictionaries...

You would look up the word in Lissan al 3arab or Moukhtar Al Si7a7 and find this:

Oroppi (also spelled Orobbi): Someone with no honor or pride, someone born to unkown parents, pimp, prostitute, whore, dirty, bastard.

Amerkani (also spelled Amreekani and Amreeki): Blood thirsty, Oil thirsty, killer, thief, satan, devil worshipper, Jewish-ass kisser.

What would you call this? Racism or realism?

August 13, 2005 8:05 AM

Blogger Ihsan said...

Sinan, I’m not arguing the fact that we MUST enhance our image and protect it!

I’m trying to see ourselves from an outsider’s point of view

- In the media war, we so lose with credit!
- Our governments are a disgrace; Corruption, dictatorships and bureaucracy!
- We have no modern scientific discoveries whatsoever, even if we do, nobody seems to care to promote for!
- Our ancient heritage is being studied and discovered by the west!
- We stupidly fight for our rights by killing more innocents than soldiers!
- We cheered for the killing of thousands of innocents in USA and Spain!
- We spend millions on prostitution and gambling in Europe per year more than what we spend on education!
- and and and and….

While those may be minorities, and I should not have used the word “we”….but they have the major effect, the louder voice and, with the complete absence of our media, are the only pictures the west is getting through their media!

I’m not justifying any racist action they may be taking or actually taking, NEVER! I’m just highlighting our points of weakness and try to put myself into their shoes!

One last thing, you stated that we do not hate the Jews and the Americans based on Bush or the government of Israel. Well, those who do not generalize the hatred towards the people of these countries are the minorities not the other way around! Go on the streets, talk to people in general and ask em what they think of the American citizens and the Jews around the world! You will be surprised!
Two days ago, I was telling a bunch of highly educated people about a movie I had recently watched “The Pianist” and what the German did with the Polish Jews….One said that Hitler knew how to deal with them, and another said, he wish if he was a leader of a nation, he would have wiped out all the Jews he could find!

It’s off the topic I know and sorry, but that answers your last assertion that we do not hate people based on governments…YES we do, in general but with a lot of exceptions of course!

August 13, 2005 9:01 AM

Blogger Yazan said...

Okay, I was gonna leave the discussion but Ayman's post REALLY OURAGED me again..

Ayman... this is history, they're not making it up.. the word Arab was once used in the sense of HOBO... they have every right to put it there, that's EXACTLY their job... if I ran across the word Arab in some ancient book and didn't figure out that it might mean a HOBO this might change the whole book... this is their job... and I wouldn't expect LESS... they're not calling Arabs HOBOS,, they're just saying that once upon a time this word in the ENGLISH language was used in the sense of HOBO...

and about the "American" or "European" definitions, if they were widely used in that sense, I would feel totally OK if I ran across them in a dictionary, I wouldn't expect less...
YES IT WOULD BE REALISM!!! History is not about courtesy, it's about facts... this word was once used in that sense, so THEY MUST put that meaning... you can't just rule out a whole part of the history of the English language cuz u feel offended by it... those are facts!!! this is one meaning of the word ARAB in ENGLISH...

I would feel offended if someone called me a Hobo now... and I would raise my voice out.. but they're not doing that, they did call us Hobos a decade ago... we should've raised our voices then.. but it happened and it's now HISTORY, it's not for ANYONE to change that...

someone gave an example about the word "Barbarians"... they are Human Beings, there are ppl who are Barbarians [in the sense of Identity], and we do see that word in dictionaries in the senses of "Savage, Uncivilized..." is that wrong.. is it racism!???! NO, cuz the word itself was [and still] used in that sense... that's the exact duty of disctionaries, to give ya every possible meaning of the word [still in-use or NOT]...


August 13, 2005 9:23 AM

Blogger Sinan said...

I am gonna leave this discussion as well, I agree with what you said Ihsan, I can't argue with that and I don't wanna either, we the Arabs have done a lot to screw ourselves I am not trying to blame others, cause if history taught me anything it taught me that's it's in the hand of ppl to enhance or destroy their life, but still that won't stop me ever to try as much as I can to protect my heritage, even thought I believe I am not really contributing something significant to my society by doing so, but I believe in my heritage and that's what it is keeping me a proud man without pride attached to my identity I would definitely not live in Syria or any Arab country for the matter.

August 13, 2005 9:52 AM

Blogger Ayman said...

Front Bumper, don't get very angry at me but even if the word Arab someday meant 'hobo' for Europeans, this does not justify describing Arabs as Hobos in a 21st-century dictionary! Political correctness should prevent you from using any expression that might offend people of other races, nationalities or religions. Some people here call Shiite Muslims "Rawafda" or "Rafdiyeh" (Rejectionists), words that are very offensive to Shiites themselves. Does that mean we can define a Shiite in our dictionary as "Rafdee"? Hell no! You should be politically correct and not offend them by using the expression they hate. Another example.. some people say that Kurds are "rason yabes"... can we define Kurdish in our dictionary as arrogant? There are so many similar examples in our heritage... If there is use some word in a racist sense, we should be ashamed of this and remove it from our language and daily speech, not make it "official" by putting it in our dictionaries!

By the way, there is no race called Barbarians. If you mean the Amazigh, they are called Berbers. I think the word Barbarians was first used to describe tribes of northern Europe invading the south, rather than the Berber of North Africa.

But to answer your question, yes, if the word "Berber" were used to describe savage, violent and aggressive people, we should stop using it and find another word.

August 13, 2005 4:36 PM

Blogger silent witness said...

i did not get your point
??????????? may be ia m stupid in english and have to conc on deuch

August 13, 2005 10:41 PM

Blogger Zena said...

What I am going to say might be alittle irrelevant, and after reading most of ur comments (I got confused & lost),we express discrimination in ourlives everyday, it may not be obvious but it is there. Words are our last worries, parents are teaching their children worse ways and means to discriminate.
I noticed that we do it to our Arab brothers and sisters.
For example, as a female some of us girls see Men from Saudi Arabia as disgustin, that to me is discrimination.
Divorced women are discriminated, raped women, dark skinned women , fat women,women with big noses, women with flat breasts, men with no money, men with no education, men with no cars and sooooo on.
The list is tooo big to mention, what i have to worry about as an Arabic girl is what's happening to my country socially.I think to over come what is happening to us outside the middle east,we should correct ourselves and our intentions, unfortunately we lack purity, we talk the talk but obviously we don't walk the TALK.
We were raised to feel and see the differences, blessed are those who respect the diversity.
I know I might not be making sense, but what is.......

See ya

August 15, 2005 3:40 AM

Blogger Eman said...

Dear Front Pumber, I totally respect your opinion. Allow me to clear up a few things. You think we are simply accusing Webster of racism on shallow and uncertain basis!! the link you provided states clearly that a Jew is: A person belonging to the worldwide group claiming descent from Jacob (or converted to it) and connected by cultural or religious ties.
"Jew" is a name that signifies or is derived from: "same as Judah".
All other definitions were LABELED: first use in popular English literature: sometime before 1258… Jews in Literature… etc.
What I’m trying to say is No, the definition of Jew in the link mentioned is not offensive, and the offensive ones shown were explained and referred to which period of time they came from.
As for the American Heritage ® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, I guess it’s not the issue, we are talking about Racism in a very specific edition of Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Collegiate Thesaurus.
In short,the definition of Arab in that specific edition is offensive and racist, it is not available in any other editions, AND all we ask is a fair treatment, not racism against any other people.
Our protest was based on proof and research by professionals and intellectuals from both the Arab world and the West. There was a clean polite debate between protestors and Webster Staff, and they explained why the offensive definition was there. All we ask is- just like any other race- the reasons and explanations we were told be there clearly stated as a reference… this is the LEAST they can do!
There is racism against Jews, black people and many other people in other dictionaries, and each people are talking for themselves, all except for Arabs. This is what we're trying to do. Anyway, hope things are clear and hope you realize we are not waging a war on Webster, just asking for fair equal treatment :)

August 15, 2005 4:32 AM

Blogger Ahmad said...

I agree with the point Ayman was trying to make. The British Board of education ( I'm not sure if that's what it's called - something similar) was discussing eliminating the term "fail" and replacing it with the term "deferred success" for obvious reasons, so I don't see why they can't modify dictionary entries. However, people who use words such as jew or barbarian to describe certain characteristic or behavior are racist and it does not justify adding every offensive term they come up with to the dictionary.

August 17, 2005 3:52 PM

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