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M ANY F ACES

THE

OF

H ATE :

D ISTINCT F ORMS OF A NTI -A RAB
B IGOTRY AND V IOLENCE
Khaled A. Beydoun

White Paper Series, No. 1 | April 2015

www.takeonhate.org

TABLE OF CONTENTS
I.

Introduction

2

II.

Arab Americans: A Snapshot

4

III.

Forms of Discrimination Endured By Arab Americans

6

1. Arab American and Poor: Discrimination at the Bottom

7

2. Hating Newcomers: Arab Immigrant Communities

9

3. Black and Arab: Racism Within and Without

11

4. Religion: When Anti-Arab Bigotry and Islamophobia
Intersect

13

5. When Racism and Gender-Based Hate Intersect

15

Conclusion

17

IV.

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“It is not our differences that divide us.
It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
-

Audre Lourde

PART I | INTRODUCTION
___________________________________
Discrimination toward Arab Americans is still rising. Nearly fourteen years
after the September 11th terrorist attacks, which ushered in a rising tide of anti-Arab
and anti-Muslim animus, state-sponsored and society bigotry toward Arab
Americans is reaching even higher proportions. Although Arabs have been part of
the American milieu since the mid-nineteenth Century, state policy and embedded
stereotypes have jointly perpetuated an understanding of Arabs as un-American,
inassimilable, and justifiable targets of violence.
Anti-Arab sentiment and stereotypes that drive modern hate are anything but
novel. In fact, centuries old misrepresentations of Arab culture and identity seed the
discrimination and violence rising today.1 The old tropes that caricature Arabs as
“violent” and “savage,” “primitive” and “foreign,” permeate popular film and news
media,2 were endorsed by longstanding immigration laws,3 and re-deployed with
prevailing domestic and foreign policy.4 Indeed, anti-Arab animus and violence is
hardly a new phenomenon. But rather, a still live, dynamic and exacerbating phobia

Edward Said, ORIENTALISM (1979).
Jack Shaheen, REEL BAD ARABS: HOW HOLLYWOOD VILIFIES A PEOPLE (2001)
3 Khaled A. Beydoun, Between Muslim and White: The Legal Construction of Arab
American Identity, NYU ANNUAL SURVEY OF AMERICAN LAW (2014), available at
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2529506.
4 Leti Volpp, The Citizen and the Terrorist, CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW (2002), available at
http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1514&context=facpubs.
1
2

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that is deeply connected with long-entrenched tropes and stereotypes, and actively
bolstered through modern law and policy.
Recent tragedies highlight the surge in anti-Arab hate. The attack on the
Islamic School of Rhode Island,5 the targeted arson of a mosque in Houston,6 and
most notably, the execution of three Arab American students in Chapel Hill,7 point
to an alarming growth in anti-Arab bigotry and violence. These incidents also point
to the conflation of Arab with Muslim identity – blending anti-Arab bigotry with
Islamophobia8 – making anyone and everyone associated with either classification
vulnerable to discrimination and violence.
In fact, during a one-week span in mid-February, there were seven separate
violent incidents targeting Arab and/or Muslim victims in North America.
Indicating that hate crimes, or (racially or religiously motivated) violent acts,
targeting Arabs and/or Muslims are not aberrational. But rather, symptomatic of
entrenched and still rising anti-Arab psychosis and Islamophobia.9
Grassroots and organizational vigilance against anti-Arab bigotry developed
after 9/11 to counter the spike in state-sponsored discrimination and societal

Jennifer Bogdan, Islamic School of Rhode Island Vandalized, PROVIDENCE JOURNAL,
February 15, 2015, available at
http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20150215/News/150219457.
6 Wilson Dizard, Arson Eyed in Houston-Area Mosque Fire, AL-JAZEERA AMERICA,
February 13, 2015, available at http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/2/13/arsoneyed-in-houston-area-mosque-torching.html.
7 Terrence McCoy, Chapel Hill Killings: Why Hate Crimes Are So Hard to Prove,
WASHINGTON POST, Feburary 12, 2015, available at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/12/chapel-hillmurders-why-hate-crimes-are-so-hard-to-prove/.
8 Wajahat Ali et al., Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America, CENTER
FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS (2011), available at http://www.americanprogress.org/wpcontent/uploads/issues/2011/08/pdf/islamophobia.pdf
9 Mehdi Semati, Islamophobia, Culture and Race in the Age of Empire, CULTURAL STUDIES
JOURNAL (2010), available at
http://www.mehdisemati.com/Dr._Mehdi_Semati_website/Research_files/Islamophobia,
%20Culture%20and%20Race%20in%20the%20Age%20of%20Empire.pdf.
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animus. 10

The Campaign to Take On Hate extends this vigilance beyond the

immediate alarm of the post-9/11 moment, as the U.S. transitions toward a
subsequent phase where anti-Arab bigotry and Islamophobia is not declining, but
rather, intensifying.
This paper highlights the resurgence in anti-Arab bigotry. 11

But more

notably, it deconstructs the myth that anti-Arab discrimination is monolithic. In line
with the reality that Arab America is diverse along a number of tracks,
discrimination is thus experienced differently and disparately along these stratified
tracks.

Therefore, anti-Arab bigotry takes on a range of forms – and hate, as

evidenced through recent and past tragedies, has many faces. This paper aims to
provide a snapshot of the most prominent ways anti-Arab discrimination and
violence is experienced in America; and second, launch a series of subsequent
papers that examine these divergent forms of hate, discrimination and violence
more closely.

PART II | ARAB AMERICANS: A SNAPSHOT
___________________________________
Arab Americans have been defined as citizens who derive their ancestry from
the (region known as the) “Arab World.” 12 Immigration from the Arab World
commenced in the mid-nineteenth century. The vast majority of immigrants from
the Arab World, before racially restrictive immigration laws were lifted in 1965,

Susan M. Akram & Kevin R. Johnson, Race, Civil Rights, and Immigration Law After
September 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims, NYU ANNUAL SURVEY OF AMERICAN
LAW (2002), available at
http://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1150&context=law_fac_pubs.
11 Nancy Leong, The Rights Cast: The Legal Construction of Arab-American Identity
(interview with Khaled A. Beydoun), February 19, 2015, available at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T0Sj9kD7A4#t=486.
12 Randa A. Kayyali, THE ARAB AMERICANS 49 (2006).
10

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were overwhelmingly Christian and Levantine.

However, racially neutral

immigration laws spurred the entry of Arabs immigrants from throughout the
region, and facilitated the entry of more Arab Muslim newcomers.
A shifting racial and political construction, the emergence of Pan-Arabism in
the mid-twentieth Century shaped the contemporary contours of both Arab and
Arab American identity.13 Pan-Arabism was a political ideology formed in Syria
during the early 1930’s, while the Ottoman province was under French rule. PanArabism framed a new brand of Arab identity along linguistic, cultural, political,
and economic lines. Today, Pan-Arabism still ranks as a salient baseline of Arab
American identity, in addition to shared language, culture, history, and perhaps
most critically, a kindred experience within America.
The U.S. Census places the population of Arab Americans today at 3,665,789 –
a figure believed to be much smaller than the actual number of citizens of Arab
heritage living in the U.S. today. 14 Although stereotypically understood to be a
Muslim-majority community, 63% of Arab Americans today identify as Christians.15
In fact, since the first immigrant waves from the region came to the U.S. in the midnineteenth century, Christians have always been a considerable majority of the Arab
American population.
Arab Muslims, on the other hand, began to migrate to the U.S. in large
numbers after 1965, and perpetually held the position of minority of the Arab
American population.
13

Today, immigration from Muslim-majority Arab states

HASAN KAYALI, ARABS AND YOUNG TURKS: OTTOMANISM, ARABISM, AND ISLAMISM

IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE, 1908-1918 (1997).

National Arab American Demographics, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOUNDATION
(2012), available at http://b.3cdn.net/aai/44b17815d8b386bf16_v0m6iv4b5.pdf. “The
population who identified as having Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census grew by
more than 72% between 2000 and 2010.”
15 Arab Americans: An Integral Part of American Society, ARAB AMERICAN NATIONAL
MUSEUM (2012), available at
http://www.arabamericanmuseum.org/umages/pdfs/resource_booklets/AANMArabAmericansBooklet-web.pdf.
14

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including Iraq, Egypt and Morocco, is further diversifying the religious, phenotypic,
and cultural makeup of Arab American.

In short, Arab America is hardly a

homogenous population, but a richly diverse and eclectic tapestry tied by culture,
language, and history.
The broadening diversity of Arab America – along a range of existential lines
– is, in turn, broadening the types of hate targeting the population. The following
section addresses prominent forms of discrimination endured by Arab Americans,
which provides a foundation – not an exhaustive typology – for better
understanding, and subsequently shaping, more responsive and comprehensive
advocacy strategies for addressing hate.

PART III | FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION ENDURED BY ARAB
AMERICANS
___________________________________
Arab America is not a monolith. As highlighted above, the population is
diverse along nationality, phenotypic, socioeconomic, and generational lines. This
heterogeneity, therefore, disparately situates Arab American individuals and
communities.

In turn, since Arab Americans are situated differently, that also

means that discrimination is also experienced differently across distinct
circumstances.
The recent onslaught on Arab and Muslim Americans illustrates that hate is
not only rising, but also takes many forms. The murder of the three young students
in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on February 10, 2015, highlighted the urgency of
anti-Arab discrimination and violence.16 In addition, the subsequent attacks on a

Nadia Tonova and Khaled A. Beydoun, Why Muslim Lives Don’t Matter, ALJAZEERA ENGLISH, February 12, 2015, available at
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/02/muslim-lives-don-matter150212052018920.html.
16

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Houston, Texas mosque, the Islamic Academy of Rhode Island, and a Dearborn,
Michigan father illustrate that the Chapel Hill executions were by no means an
isolated incident.17 But rather, another tragedy stemming from a rising underbelly
of anti-Arab bigotry and Islamophobia. Anti-Arab bigotry and Islamophobia must
be understood as a system that permeates every sphere of society and hall of power.

1. ARAB AMERICAN AND POOR: DISCRIMINATION AT THE BOTTOM
 Poverty exacerbates discrimination endured by indigent Arab Americans.
 Surveillance of Arabs and Muslims centers on concentrated, working class communities.
 Working class Arab Americans concerned with adequate housing, employment
opportunities and better schooling for children.

____________________________
Considerable segments of the aggregate Arab American population are either
poor or working class. One study held that 17% of Arab Americans were at or
below the poverty line – 5% more than the number of the total population.18 The
numbers for recent immigrants are higher – including the Iraqi American
community, which stands at 25% at or below the poverty line.

Furthermore,

communities concentrated in cities, including Detroit, New York City, Chicago,
Minneapolis, and the Bay Area, are disparately indigent and working class.

In

addition to hosting sizeable indigent and working class communities, these cities are

Niraj Warikoo, Dearborn Woman: I Saw Muslim Man Attacked at Kroger, DETROIT
FREE PRESS, Feburary 13, 2015, available at
http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2015/02/13/dearbornmuslim-attack/23388379/.
18 Angela Brittinham and G. Patricia de la Cruz, We the People of Arab Ancestry in the
United States, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (2005).
17

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also sites for Arab chain migration.
spaces

that

provide cultural

In short, attracting immigrants to familiar

comfort,

community,

and

readily

available

employment.
Indigent and working-class Arab Americans must also face the principal
challenges confronted by other communities within their socioeconomic strata.
Adequate housing, for instance, becomes less accessible when discriminatory
landlords refuse to rent property to Arab Americans.

This brand of racial

discrimination also extends into the workspace, where employers may refuse hiring
a skilled or competent Arab American on account of race or ethnicity. The inability
to procure adequate housing, or employment, perpetuates the cycle of poverty for
indigent Arab Americans – making discrimination endured along these intersecting
tracks acutely debilitating.
Indigent and working class Arab Americans also face an under-examined
form of employment discrimination. During the post-9/11 period, scholars and
practitioners have focused on employment discrimination suffered by professional
and educated, middle class and affluent Arab and Muslim Americans.19 However,
scarce attention was dedicated to the plight of indigent and working class Arab
Americans.

Particularly

discrimination faced by

medium-wage

workers,

undocumented Arab residents, Arab American men and women with felonies, and
blue-collar workers.

Federal laws, like Title VII, functionally extend lesser

protection to low-skill workers; and arguably, no protection to workers paid under
the table.

Therefore, placing indigent and working-class Arab American

communities with narrower forms of redress against discrimination at the
workplace.

Sahar F. Aziz, Sticks and Stones, The Words That Hurt: Entrenched Stereotypes Eight
Years After 9/11, NEW YORK CITY LAW REVIEW (2009) available at
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1648306.
19

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Government Counter-Extremism efforts disparately center on concentrated,
working class Arab and Muslim American communities. 20 Indeed, enclaves and
cities with sizable Arab and Muslim-American presences are demographical
hotspots for federal government surveillance and monitoring, Suspicious Activity
Reporting (SAR Program), 21 and conventional street profiling.

The alignment of

robust federal and local policing programming descending on Arab and Muslim
American communities, like Dearborn, Michigan or Brooklyn, New York, endanger
poor and working-class Arab Americans to enhanced threat. 22 And in many
instances, collateral and collective guilt.23
Arab Americans are stereotyped as a socioeconomically, similarly situated
population. This further obfuscates the distinct experiences of poor and workingclass Arab American communities, which are underserved by advocacy
organizations, and under-examined by scholars and practitioners. As a result, the
distinct forms of discrimination they experience are also neglected – and an area of
primary concern for the Campaign to Take On Hate.

A February 2015 summit convened by the White House addressed counterextremism, popularly referred to as “CVE,” or countering violent extremism; White House
Press Release, February 18, 2015, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-pressoffice/2015/02/18/remarks-president-closing-summit-countering-violent-extremism.
21 The SAR Program falls under the auspices of the Department of Homeland
Security (http://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something).
22 Dearborn, MI and New York City have the most people on the federal terrorism
watch-list – Khaled A. Beydoun, US’ Top Terror Cities: Old Practice, New Discourse, ALJAZEERA ENGLISH, August 18, 2014, available at
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/us-top-terror-cities-old-practi201481875322766485.html.
23 Unlike middle-class or affluent Arab Americans, poor and working class Arab
Americans generally cannot access adequate legal counsel.
20

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2. HATING NEWCOMERS: ARAB IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES
 Recent Arab immigrants and non-citizens are targets of greater governmental
surveillance.
 Recent Arab immigrants endure pronounced xenophobia and nativism.
 Government policies may restrict recent immigrants from sending remittances to families
in native countries.

____________________________
Arab America is a fluid and dynamic community. While the first generation
of Arab American immigrants generally hailed from the Levant, new communities
are being pushed and pulled to the U.S. from various sections of the Arab World. In
addition to diversifying, Arab America is also a rapidly growing segment of the
broader American milieu. According to an Arab American Institute Foundation study,
“The population who identified as having Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S.
Census Bureau grew by more than 72% between 2000 and 2010.”24
Fluid and rising immigration from the Arab World is the primary catalyst of
the growing Arab American population. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the
largest numbers of new Arab immigrants hail from Iraq, Egypt, and Lebanon. 25
However, sizeable Diasporas also come from Morocco, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and
other nations stricken by war. As a result, an Arab American population once
dominated by an overwhelming Levantine presence is rapidly shifting into a far
more eclectic and representative sampling of the entire Arab World.
Arab identity is frequently linked to foreignness, outsider, and alien status.
This is true for longstanding residents and citizens. However, these tropes are
24
25

Arab-American Demographics, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOUNDATION (2012).
2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (2010).

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inextricably linked to newcomers. Therefore, Arab newcomers must contend with
anti-Arab racism, in addition to xenophobic attitudes and violence inflicted on
recent immigrants. It is important to note that xenophobia, like others forms of
animus, molds according to the subject.
Arab-specific xenophobia, unlike forms targeting Latino or Asian Americans
for instance, links foreignness directly to terrorist affiliation and threat. As a result,
Arab newcomers face a more pronounced presumption of terrorist involvement
based on not only race or ethnicity, but also legal status. This invites a barrage of
discrimination within colleges and university spaces, places of employment, ports of
travel, and on the street. Indeed, this distinct brand of hate is of particular concern
because the vast majority of Arab newcomers are not citizens, and thus, not afforded
the constitutional protections (generally) extended to Arab American citizens.
Furthermore, as highlighted by the recent remittances crisis faced by Somalis
in America, many immigrant communities in the U.S. for temporary employment
purposes are prohibited from sending resources back to their families.

OxFam

America, combined with Somali American organizations, has highlighted the dire
impact remittances restrictions has on newcomers.26 But most direly, the impact
these prohibitions have on their families back home. This crisis vividly reveals an
issue acutely experienced by newcomers, which deserves greater awareness.
Indeed, as immigrants from the Arab World are continually pushed and
pulled from their native states, the forms of discrimination faced by this
demographic will continue to broaden and grow more acute. Immigration status is
also intimately tied with generational divisions, which differentiates how Arab
Americans identify politically, ethnically and existentially; which, in turn, effects
their experiences with discrimination.
Manuel Orozco and Julia Yansura, Keeping the Lifeline Open: Remittances and
Markets in Somalia, OXFAM AMERICA (2013), available at
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/somalia-remittance-report-web.pdf.
26

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3. BLACK OR ARAB: RACISM WITHIN AND WITHOUT
 Black men and women from Arab states simultaneously face anti-Black and anti-Arab
racism.
 State policies that profile Black and Arab Americans target Arab Americans that identify
as both Arab and Black.
 Black Arab communities face intra-racism and marginalization.

____________________________
Black and Arab identity, in America, are standalone racial constructions.
Thus, they are seldom – if ever- integrated by law, policy, or even public discourse.
However, a segment of the Arab American population identify as both Black and
Arab. This is particularly true for individuals from North and Sub-Saharan African
states including Egypt, Sudan and Somalia,27 and also, communities in the Levant
and Gulf regions of the Arab World.28
Americans that identify as both Black and Arab are subject to both broad
societal racism, as well as intra-racism. With regard to the former, Arab and BlackAmericans face state-sponsored and societal forms of racism targeting both
dimensions of their identity. In addition, this demographic also faces acute antiBlack racism from within the broader Arab American community. In turn, exposing
this strand of the Arab American milieu to compounded racism that marginalizes

Take on Hate’s mother organization, the National Network for Arab American
Communities, includes several Somali-American organizations, including: the Somali
Family Service of San Diego (http://www.somalifamilyservice.org/); and the Somali Acton
Alliance Education Fund of Minnesota (http://saaef.org/).
28 Khaled A. Beydoun, Color Me Bad: An Indigenous and Pluralist Reclamation of ArabAmerican Identity (2008), available at http://works.bepress.com/khaled_beydoun/1/.
27

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from within and without. The Muslim Anti-Racism Collective (Muslim ARC),29 an
organization allied with Take On Hate, has been a leading voice on issues linked to
intra-Muslim and Arab American racism.
It is crucial to note that the first Muslims in the U.S. were Black. Enslaved
African Muslims comprised 15% to 20% of the aggregate slave population the
Antebellum South. 30 Furthermore, nearly one-fourth of the Muslim American
population is Black, with a non-negligible segment of this population claiming both
Arab and Black identity.31 However, despite both presence and prominence within
both Arab and Muslim America, a recent killing of a Somali Canadian highlights the
marginalization of Black lives within, and without Arab American boundaries:
“While #MuslimLivesMatter trended for Deah, Yusor and Razan, there were
sporadic tweets linked to [Mustafa] Mattan's story, and few questions as to why
Mattan's death received little attention. The Chapel Hill shootings have inspired a
broad, diverse and lurid chorus of support and solidarity; Mattan's name, however,
has been met with relative silence.”32

Addressing the parallel, and oft intersecting, racism experienced by
Americans that doubly identify as Arab and Black is a neglected brand of
(compounded) racism Take On Hate ranks high.
In line with this commitment, Take On Hate convened two simultaneous
events in Detroit and New York City in December 2014, seeking to address the
divides and prospective coalition between the emergent Black Lives Matter Movement
and Arab American civil rights efforts. The two events brought together hundreds

Muslim ARC’s website: http://www.muslimarc.org/.
Khaled A. Beydoun, Antebellum Islam, HOWARD LAW JOURNAL (2015), available at
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2536258.
31 A Portrait of Muslim Americans, PEW RESEARCH CENTER (2011).
32 Margari Hill and Khaled A. Beydoun, The Colour of Muslim Mourning, AL-JAZEERA
ENGLISH, January 15, 2015, available at
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/02/colour-muslim-mourning150215065825362.html.
29
30

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of participants from the Arab and African American communities, setting a key
precedent for prospective bridge-building, candid communication, and for
Americans that identify as both Arab and Black, an invaluable space.

4. RELIGION: WHEN ISLAMOPHOBIA AND ANTI-ARAB BIGOTRY INTERSECT
 Arab and Muslim identity are conflated, and viewed as one in the same
 Rising Islamophobia endangers both Arab American Muslims and Christians
 Islamophobia is carried forward by state policy and civil society actors

____________________________
Discrimination oftentimes overlaps with others forms of animus, and
therefore, intensifies the hate experienced by the target. This is especially true
today, as rising Islamophobia is reaching unparalleled and frightening degrees.
As discussed above, Arab and Muslim identity are pervasively conflated and
viewed synonymously. Although there are more Arab American Christians than
there are Muslims, embedded tropes assigned to Arab identity are identical to those
ascribed to Muslim identity.

Therefore, anti-Arab bigotry threatens non-Arab

Muslim communities, while Islamophobia indiscriminately exposes non-Muslim
Arabs to religious-based hate. Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry, in short, are
two sides of the same discriminatory coin.
While anti-Arab bigotry and Islamophobia are part and parcel of the same
hate, Arab Americans that conspicuously express Muslim identity are exposed to
greater violence. The headscarf, most notably, identifies Arab American Muslim
women as not only Muslims, but also individuals with strong ties to a faith tied to
terrorism and threat. In turn, attracted an integrated mode of race and religiousbased violence. Law scholar Sahar Aziz observes:

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“In the post-9/11 era, Muslim [and Arab] women donning a headscarf in America
find themselves caught at the intersection of bias against Islam, the racialized
Muslim, and women. In contrast to their male counterparts, Muslim [and Arab]
women face unique forms of discrimination not adequately addressed by Muslim
civil rights advocacy organizations, women's rights organizations, or civil liberties
advocates.”33

Arab American men who don beards, traditional attire, or visible markers
associated with Islamic piety are also targets of a combined brand of religious and
race-based hate. Expressions of religious observance and piety, in the U.S. today,
signal prima face evidence of “radicalization” of Muslim-Americans, according to
state actors.34 The nexus between Islamic identity and threat, both domestically and
internationally, drives the infliction of violence on Arab and/or Muslim-American
bodies.
Indeed, the gravity of this violence in America is alarming, leading Take On
Hate representatives Nadia El-Zein Tonova and Khaled A. Beydoun to comment:
“Between media misrepresentation and neglect, and systematic state surveillance
and suppression of Muslims, the facts in the US lead to the undeniable conclusion
that Muslim lives don't matter.”35 Without question, the conflation of Arab with
Muslim identity makes both strands of discrimination nearly identical, particularly
with regard to motive.
The alarming spike in Islamophobia, therefore, will concomitantly ignite antiArab bigotry. Consequently, making this brand of hate, and its ancillary forms, a
leading concern for Take On Hate programming, interventions, and advocacy. Take
Sahar F. Aziz, From the Oppressed to the Terrorist: Muslim American Women in the
Crosshairs of Intersectionality, HASTINGS RACE & POVERTY LAW JOURNAL (2012), available at
file:///Users/KhaledBey/Downloads/SSRN-id1981777.pdf.
34 Amna Akbar, Policing “Radicalization,” UC IRVINE LAW REVIEW (2013), available at
http://www.law.uci.edu/lawreview/vol3/no4/Akbar.pdf.
35 Nadia El-Zein Tonova and Khaled A. Beydoun, Why Muslim Lives Don’t Matter,
AL-JAZEERA ENGLISH, February 12, 2015, available at
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/02/muslim-lives-don-matter150212052018920.html.
33

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On Hate works with leading religious organizations, a coalitional strategy vital for
combating Islamophobia and anti-Arab animus.

5. WHEN RACISM AND GENDER-BASED HATE INTERSECT
 Intersecting racial and gender discrimination victimize Arab American women.
 Arab American Muslim women who don the headscarf are most common targets of
Islamophobic violence.
 Anti-discrimination strategies must be framed to address the distinct forms of hate
endured by Arab American women.

____________________________
Arab American women face intersecting discrimination along racial and
gender lines. Indeed, stereotypes attached to Arab American women spur distinct
forms of gender-based discrimination and violence. Which, in turn, makes Arab
American women vulnerable to forms of discrimination exclusively set aside for this
demographic.
An

“intersectional

analysis,”

which

closely

considers

how

racial

marginalization combined with gender-based discrimination places women in a
more vulnerable position than men, is in order.36 As discussed above with regard to
conspicuous expression of Muslim identity, women who wear the headscarf are
exposed to a distinct brand of hate that not only targets race and religion, but also
gender. This animus comes from private citizens, as illustrated by the Chapel Hill
executions. In addition, it also manifests itself in workplace discrimination, as
illustrated in the recent Abercrombie & Fitch case (involving a young lady donning

Kimberle Crenshaw, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and
Violence Against Women of Color, STANFORD LAW REVIEW (1991), available at
http://socialdifference.columbia.edu/files/socialdiff/projects/Article__Mapping_the_Mar
gins_by_Kimblere_Crenshaw.pdf).
36

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a headscarf).37 Labor participation and exclusion of Arab American women is also
sharper across religious lines: “In contrast to men, the labor force participation rate
among women aged 16 and older was lower for Arabs than for the total population
(46% compared with 58%).”38
In addition to the gendered dimensions of religious expression, Arab
American women also face pronounced sexism and patriarchy. Gender suppression
and misogyny arise from both broad societal sources, but also distinct Arab
American norms. With regard to the former, Arab American women face lower
glass ceilings with regard to employment opportunities and professional upward
mobility; and oftentimes within their families and communities, relatively less
opportunity than their male counterparts.

Moreover, assessing the impact of

patriarchy and sexism within the broader context of anti-Arab bigotry and
Islamophobia is a critical first step toward framing responsive advocacy and
organizing strategies.
In addition to addressing the distinct forms of Arab American female
victimhood, Take On Hate also keys on empowerment strategies. Empowerment of
young Arab American women, single mothers, indigent women, and other
marginalized strands of the Arab American female population, is an essential means
toward preventing and redressing victimhood. Take On Hate’s public awareness and
education efforts will center on empowering Arab American girls and women, and
additionally, advocacy efforts that bring the distinct forms of hate experienced by
Arab American women to the fore.

Mark Sherman, Supreme Court Justices Appear to Favor Muslim Woman Denied Job at
Abercrombie and Fitch, HUFFINGTON POST, February 25, 2015, available at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/25/supreme-court-muslimabercrombie_n_6752938.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000051.
38 Angela Brittinham and G. Patricia de la Cruz, We the People of Arab Ancestry in the
United States, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (2005).
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PART IV | CONCLUSION
"Progress lies not in enhancing what is –
But in advancing toward what will be."
- Khalil Gibran

___________________________________
Anti-Arab sentiment in America is a centuries’ old phenomenon. It emanates
from a system of misrepresentation and misunderstanding that predates the creation
of the U.S. Commencing before racially restrictive immigration laws, and stretching
to the state-sponsored and societal forms of hate prevailing today – discrimination
toward Arab Americans is not only embedded, but also, fluidly developing and
mutating. Today in America, anti-Arab bigotry – and its ancillary forms of animus –
is rising.
Anti-Arab hate, which overlaps with Islamophobia, manifests itself in a range
of forms. Therefore, it is also experienced in a range of ways – as highlighted in this
paper. Furthermore, it is essential to understand that anti-Arab bigotry enforced by
government agencies is not wholly separate from the hate carried forth by civil
society actors and private actors. There is a symbiotic relationship between the
public and private spheres that legitimizes foundational stereotypes, which then fuel
nefarious policies that endorse and embolden on-the-ground violence.
This “rage shared by law” evidences that anti-Arab bigotry is neither
monolithic nor static.39 But rather, a complex system that inflicts Arabs and Arab
Americans in a myriad of hateful ways. Developing an understanding of the range
of faces, and intimate spaces, harmed by anti-Arab bigotry will enhance organizing
Muneer I. Ahmed, A Rage Shared By Law: Post-September 11 Racial Violence as Crimes
of Passion, CALIFORNIA LAW REVIEW (2004), available at
http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1321&context=californial
awreview.
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and advocacy strategies against systems that perpetuate the hate.

This is

particularly true amid a landscape that formally considers Arab Americans as white
by law, but “other” by practice.

Arab Americans are not only white without

privilege, but othered by state policy and societal animus.40
Take On Hate is committed to educating the broader public about the several
forms of hate endured by Arab Americans, as an essential step toward combating
and curbing it. The many faces of anti-Arab hate and violence must be met with a
myriad of awareness and advocacy strategies.

Many Faces of Hate: The Distinct Forms of Anti-Arab Bigotry and Violence

www.takeonhate.org

Hisham Aidi, Middle Eastern Americans Push For Census Change, AL-AJAZEERA
AMERICA, February 2, 2015, available at
http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/2/middle-eastern-americans-push-censuschange.html.
40

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Khaled A. Beydoun – a Professor of Law and native of
Detroit, Michigan – authored this report. The
Campaign to Take On Hate provided the resources
vital for completion of this report. Professor Beydoun
serves as a consultant for the Campaign, and sits on
its Leadership Council.
Any questions about the report can be directed to
info@takeonhate.org.

NATIONAL NETWORK FOR ARAB AMERICAN COMMUNITIES (NNAAC) | © 2015

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