Friday, June 15, 2007

Family and Misunderstandings

Some of my family members came to visit and see the new baby the other day, and I was again confronted, and still surprised, by the ignorance (and I mean this in the true sense of the word, not being insulting) and bias that they, as well as soooooooooo many other Americans have in regards to Arabs/Muslims.
Their first concern was for my safety in living in Kuwait. I understand that, heck KW has some iffy neighbors, but when I tried to bring up the fact that we are not so secure and safe in the US, they were like, "Whaaaaaaaaaaat, what are you talking about?" (Ok, so I'll bite my tongue and move on...)
"Well what about women, then? Will you be able to drive? Will you have to wear a burqa?!" (Please, I know they did not just ask that! It's not like we haven't had this conversation over the past 14 years countless times, but I guess the more they show their spin on the news, the more I have to answer redundant questions).
"Well what about the kids and you if things go wrong...did you see (no, no, no, please don't say what I think you're going to say...) Not Without My Daughter?"(Damn!, and yes, I did)
And we are not talking about uninformed, uneducated people here. They both graduated from Ivy League schools!
I won't even go into the political discussions, cause they get me tooooo heated. Like how there was some sort of link between Saddam and Osama..."Well, don't you think Saddam was funding Osama?" (What the hay??!!!) Or "The Palestinians weren't even farming their land..." (Count to ten, twenty, thirty......ok, it's not working!!!!)
I love yall, I really do, but next time, let's just talk about the weather.


skunk said...

lol get used to it :P

as an expat myself, we're used to late night calls from worried relatives cos of some lil blurb they saw on their news, sometimes in algeria, sometimes in saudi,...both of which are absolutely miles away.

the equivalent would be like being worried about someone in california everytime a hurricane hits florida :P

then again this is the worlds flashpoint, and geopolitics here change so quickly that the news is the one thing everyone should watch just incase its time to bug out. and the locals will bug out faster than us expats.

Carly said...

Thanks, Skunk. Yes, to many Americans there is a blurred line between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, heck any other Arab country for that matter.
It's funny, I got advice from a senator's office a long time ago about the 'changing geopolitics' in KW. She even referred me to a local ObGyn who had a failed marriage to an Arab of unknown nationality, and who now goes around actively discouraging American women from marrying Arabs!

Stinni said...

My comeback to the "Have you seen Not Without My Daughter?" question was yes, and have you seen The Burning Bed? Then I'd ask if they had read the book (Not Without my Daughter), none of them had, so I explained all of the details in the book that were left out of the movie. After reading the book, I felt the real idiot/villain in the scenario was the wife.

Carly said...

Hey Stinni,
True. And I understand that the husband had a movie made that was similarly titled, but of course, we didn't ever see it here!

skunk said...

lol @ the obgyn!

its really nothing more than basic stereotypes, and i'm pretty sure you'll find the natives here have their own equally stupid stereotypical image of americans, brits, japanese, etc,... just as any other country has.

as with anywhere, stereotypes are based on truth so is a mater of filtering out which ones are stupid and which ones might be usefull as a source of insight and understanding.

Carly said...

so true, skunk!