Thursday, May 03, 2007

Stereotype

I bet this post will piss off a few people and will raise loud voices...
The definition of the word stereotype you find here.
I don't know where to start so I start by going a few years back in my live.
I was in a very multi-cultural school. Around 40% of the students where foreigners. Nationalities or religious believes never mattered among us.
Till ... the war in former Yugoslavia! All of a sudden people where fighting on the school yard because they where not Yugo's anymore but Croats and Bosnians and Serbs... they blamed each other for invading the other ones country... people that where long time friends!
This was my first encounter with prejudice and stereotype.
I hated it and swore never to be as stupid as those guys...
Now I got older... and things changed!
It's not a war that is causing me to stereotype... no ... it's my own personal experience which I made within the last 3.5 years. Some of you know that this is the time frame I stayed in Kuwait...
So here is how I stereotype Arabs:
  1. Arabs need to show off with expensive stuff... but check their loans... (the average loan of a Kuwaiti is by far more then the average of a German)
  2. Arabs date the other genders just like we do... but in secrecy...
  3. Arabs act very conservative in public... but wait till they are at home or outside the country...
  4. Arabs promise everything... but wait till they need to keep their promise...

Those are just a few things that all of you experienced, I am sure!
Recent developments in my life make me think worse then what I just mentioned above. I truly believe that Arabs are the "best liars" there are on this planet! Why you ask... I tell you:
Kuwaiti society and lifestyle doesn't match AT ALL!!! The reputation of Kuwaitis is by far more important then being honest to one another! Kuwaitis learn to keep things in secret from the day they are born. There are too many things they do that could spoil their reputation and need to be kept secret. So ... they start living a "double life". One for the public and one for them.
There are many many examples I could place here... I just take one:

I was flying back to Germany for a vacation and at the airport two girls wearing Abaya and Niqab where checking in in front of me. Their family was with them at the counter but it was only the two girls flying. The behaved very conservative and I was very surprised that they fly alone without their family. Them and me crossed the border. Family still watching them... so they still behaving according to plan. We bored the plane ... still no change in their behavior. Then I noticed that they where checking on who's flying with them... The plane took off ... the fasten your seat belt sign went off ... they got up ... went to the bathroom with their carry on ... came back in short skirt with lots of make-up, belly free and so on ... !!!
This is just one out of a million examples on living a 'double life' and hiding things and in the consequence lie to the people around you.

Stereotyping is really a bad thing to do... but it seems to happen automatically thru the experiences you make with certain groups or nationalities.

I get stereotyped as well and I hate it! People throw things at me like:

  1. "Oh! You are German! Hitler was a great leader and you must love him for what he tried to do!" ... Damn!! He is responsible for several million deaths!! He ruined my country! And the few Nazis that we still have left are absolute outsiders and are not respected at all in Germany!
  2. "How can you survive as a German in Kuwait?!? There is no alcohol!!!" ... well ... there is! But... I don't drink!! I never did! NEVER!

Now before you get mad at me, let me finish my post.

YES! I stereotype (not only Arabs)!
BUT!!!
I know that there is good and bad everywhere...
and each person is different...
and everyone deserves a chance...

I just hope I will give this chance to the people I meet and I get proven wrong with my thinking.

9 comments:

The Ponderer said...

Damn,

you must be in a very pissy mood right now. What's wrong with you?

All the things you listed are well known by foreigners like you and me.

In fact you missed out how ignorant Kuwaitis are, not even recognizing that Adolf Hitler was a Austrian and NOT a German.

Anyway, you will not change them, like nobody wil change you.

Just try not to get assimilated.

Live long and prosper.

U.E. said...

Awwww... can't beleive I missed that you are back!! So excited to see your link from Facebook. I gave up on this blog months ago. :p

Stereotypes. I know your LEAST favorite! That people think because you speak English, are light skinned and educated that you are AMERICAN. lol... I love that one.

Mwah! Missed you. :)

Happy Wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Happy Wolf said...

What you call as stereo type some might call anti semetism,
First you have answerd the puzzle yourself, just like people should not blame germans for Nazi crimes likewise it is absolutely wrong to categorize all arabs in to liars . It happens everywhere in Kuwait , people get pissed at work or with a kuwaiti sponserer then start name calling the whole country and the people .
Am i pissed at your blog ? i don't care cz i am Hindi , and you will change your entier blog if you were in my shoes !
Point is i am here by a choice , a choice that i made, no one pushed me to be here, like wise if i don't like it here i will shake the dirt of my shoes and leave. Meanwhile when i am here i will make the best out of it

Now Shoot me !

Extinct Dodo said...

i thought you were blond with piercing blue eyes.. does that make me bad? :P

but i do agree with you on how you classified arabs, i couldnt agree with you more.

i want to add to what the ponderer said... the things you listed are not only well known amongst foreigners, but amongst ourselves too. we all know our brothers and sisters and friends and family and everyone around us is putting up a show, and that we dont really KNOW who the people we think we know are.

living in denial? not really, we'd just prefer to not know these things about each other and turn a blind eye, for fear that what we dont know might shock us. does that make sense?

we see ourselves in other people and it scares us i guess.. no one wants to admit that they're "inferior"


im guessing you didnt do so well at poker, right? :P

The Ponderer said...

I read extinct dodo's comment a couple of times now, yesterday, today...

and this comment makes me sad; and no it doesn't make sense to me.

The thing is probably that I want to know to whom I'm talking and who the person is I'm dealing with.

I'm really proud that I never cathegorized the people around me, waether the are rich or not, weather the reached a super-unatural level in life or they have been heros of the days in a newspaper or whatever.

In fact I would probably more shocked to find out that somebody was hiding himself behind a million masks for years. Not for being somebody else than he pretended, but for the knowledge that this person was lying to me over a long time-frame.

Anyway, I wouldn't say the only the "Arabs" are like that. I think in today's world, with such a demanding society everywhere, a lot of people turn there priorities in life towards status symbols and want to leep up in the race for them at least with the next door neighbour or family members and this is actually a gruesome conclusion.

Live long and prosper

Evil Knievel said...

the ponderer:
YES! I am in a very pissy mood...
Matters of the heart...

U.E.:
Come back here! I want to give you a hug!

Happy Wolf:
You are right. I have the choice to stay or leave... for now I stay. And it was not work or some sponsor issues...

Extinct Dodo:
My poker play was in fact excellent! :)
But like the ponderer is commenting on your post... don't you think this is more then just sad!?

the ponderer #2:
yes / yes / yes /yes / ...
I do resist the assimilation!

Anonymous said...

Hm.. all said but you could talk about any other country in the world. Do you think it is better in Germany in the rich people society... only the rich will be the rich friends. Isn't hour societies reputation the same.We all have a double life because sometimes we do not have a choice Do you think kids are different in any other country...when there partens let them go they will try how far they can push it...

Anonymous said...

Well I guess it always takes two to tangle so your opinion about Kuwait and Kuwaities maybe they have the same opinion about you. Friendship and trust is something that you have to earn and it is not growing over night. I made some relationships here...i would not call them friends...to early for that...but you never know what the future will bring...and I am glad I had the chance to meet them. But this would go for any other country as well...so cheer up..you always have a choice...your choice