13 August, 2006

How would you interpret this?

Perhaps this is bad form to post from my own blog to the community, but I'm asking a general question on discrimination large and small in Dubai and am interested in folks' takes on such things. So at the risk of offending e-sensibilities...

"So went to a swank Japanese place last nite. Packed with lots of the brown early in the evening, then many of the white start to show. The karaoke is going full tilt and all the brown are chiming in to the words of "Hotel California" (gross). I say to my friend, "why are your brown so white?" [It was mostly his friends and others.] He says to me, "why don't the white mix with the brown?" Fair enough question. [Though rude; never answer a question with a question.] I say to him, "let's find out." There was a group of white dancing right next to us, so I tapped this white girl on her shoulder and she pulled back and gave me this horrified and disgusted look. My friend said to me don’t do that, there's going to be a fight. I didn't push it... "(the rest of the story is here.)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

dude, I see this within my workplace... and i.e. the people I interact with on daily basis. its being an indian, sri lankan, filipino to sum it an asian... you are given the looks, the disgust and what not. though i was born here, grew up here, lived all my life here, i still have problems fitting it - being respected for being me but somehow, its the predefined notion that tarnishes your existence before anything else and sometimes its from your "own kind". this has been a painful subject of mine par the genders. makes me very sad and very alone....and am confident its all over the world - deep down, everyone discriminates. wanted to email but couldnt find your address.

bandicoot said...

bklyn - would've been great if you snapped a photo of that girl frozen in time with that horrified look; could've made interpretation a bit easier! Sadly this is a town of too many layers and faces of racism; institutionalized, in-your-face, discreet, brown vs. white, local vs. expat, clique vs. clique, rich vs. poor, collar vs. overhaul, etc. And honestly, they don't all easily fit the racism criteria (could be just fault lines, lack of readiness to venture outside a natural socio-cultural environment, etc.) On the other hand, what you relate here could be a genuine case of male-female uneasiness of unexpected contact or just classic fear of perfect strangers.

Anonymous said...

What's with the brown-white talk?

Tainted Female said...

I might also add, that as a woman should ANY man I didn’t know, white, brown, black, red or blue, tap me on the shoulder I'd probably respond the same. We're in the emirates and well it's not that easy to socialize with strangers as it may be in other areas.

No. I'm not saying you're wrong and this isn't a racial issue. I'm saying the fact that most women I know would be shocked by a strange man touching them at all, even while in a night club here. So really, what you've described could be pure racism, or the sheer near-freezing temperature of socializing among strangers (especially between genders), or even a combination of them both in the UAE. No?

Tainted Female said...

bandicoot, sorry! I responded before reading that you'd touched on the same note.

bklyn_in_dubai said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bklyn_in_dubai said...

anonymous (1) -- please do email me: syed.f.ali@gmail.com;

anonymous (2) -- brown-white is just tongue in cheek;

bandicoot and tainted -- yeah, it's one of those things that there's no way to tell unless she tells. and it wasn't the time and place to ask her, "so, what was that look about?" actually i wanted to, but my friend wasn't going to let that happen. and tainted, i'm sure you're right about the tapping/touching bit. i figured given that environment, it would be more acceptable than say if i did that in burjuman or certainly more acceptable than on the street. different social rules for different contexts, yeah?

but while it's true that we're in the UAE, is it also the case that in a club -- especially one with a kind of international feel -- different rules cover social interactions, or am i just trying to bring my american way of interacting to bear here, which i thought would be acceptable since she was white and in her homeland the same or similar rule of interaction would apply? just trying to think these things through. as bandicoot pointed out, it's not simple, there's all kinds of overlapping things going on...

Seabee said...

bklyn, you've answered the question yourself...But, she said, girls have to put up with a lot of unwanted touching from guys here. Ok, I get that. But this is a swank place. Does that make a difference?

Why would the place make a difference, swank or not?

about the tapping/touching bit. i figured given that environment, it would be more acceptable than say if i did that in burjuman or certainly more acceptable than on the street. different social rules for different contexts, yeah?

No. You start touching females, you're going to get the look, or a hell of a lot more, like the police called.

Of course there's racism in Dubai, there is everywhere. And of course people tend to stick with their own, they do everywhere.

But this isn't a racism thing I'm sure, colour isn't the problem, it's what you did.

Tainted Female said...

'different social rules for different contexts, yeah?'

Yeah. But I'm a white female here. I'm Canadian. And I've been clubbing in Dubai. And I'd have reacted the same. That's all I'm trying to point out.

marwan said...

Dude, stop touching chicks. You're freaking them out.

khalid bustop said...

lol look at all the whiteys making excuses

Tainted Female said...

lol! Look at the anonymous nut whose so convinced that we're all out to get all the 'brownies' s/he'll hear everything as an excuse rather than put logical thought into action prior to speaking.

You're right suntop. We're all out to get you; not all brown-skinned people (my son is one), but YOU in particular.

bklyn_in_dubai said...

seabee -- i think it would make a difference to tap a woman on her shoulder from naif or deira to a western bar. at least, i thought it did. maybe not as tainted has pointed out.

marwan -- i just tapped her on the shoulder with my fingertip, i didn't grope her with my laptop. but you're right. from now on, don't touch. my white wife made that point also.

bklyn_in_dubai said...

laptop
http://www.7days.ae/2006/08/09/laptop-groper-jailed.html

fellow atheist said...

What makes you think that tapping a girl on the shoulder gives you the right to get an inviting look anyway? Indian or not.. sounds like an idiot.

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