Kuwait; racists who can’t hide

More often than not, when mentioning to people from the Middle East that my husband is from Kuwait, I’m told that GCC Arabs are seen as arrogant, prejudice, and pretty much viewed as the armpit of the region. I’m aware of this reputation and I can even understand it to a degree. However, regardless of how they’re viewed, it’s a form of racism. And, well, that’s just nasty.

Even worse than ‘local racism’ are the Westerners who move to places such as Kuwait and take on that mentality. For the most part I like to believe Westerners are raised in a world where racism is only practiced by the less intelligent, not formally educated, culture lacking cretins. Anyone with a sense of self respect is above and beyond disrespecting someone based upon the color of their skin or their nationality.

So what changes? Why do some of the white faced expats move to Kuwait and adopt their entitlement attitude? Well, for the most part they become obsessed with a lifestyle some locals pretend to be living; large villas, expensive cars, and meals at the finest restaurants every day. For the Westerners who grew up thinking Toyotas were luxury cars and Dairy Queen was a quality meal, you can see how the less fortunate could get starry eyed.

But does this also include becoming a shallow racist? It doesn’t have to.

Insecure people have a tendency to treat others in a disrespectful manner as a way of making themselves feel better. It doesn’t make them better people and it really highlights their own flaws. So, when the less fortunate Americans move to places such as Kuwait and realize they too can be racist assholes, it makes them feel better about their real existence.

Recently, in a facebook group I was asked a question about my husband. The other member was incorrect in their assumption but their question was incredibly racist and reminded me of why my husband and I have distanced ourselves from that lifestyle for so many years. We focus on offering support to the less fortunate, rescuing animals in need, and respecting people just because they’re people. We don’t judge people on the color of their skin, where they’re from, or how much money they make. We live a life that we find to be emotionally fulfilling. We don’t compare ourselves to others or attempt to compete. We want to see others be the best they can be and if we can play a role in that then we’re all for it. (sidenote: the woman in the facebook group is divorced, has a number of children, stuck in Kuwait, and is bitter towards others — not just us).

So while Kuwait is viewed as a country full of arrogant jerks, it’s really a misconception. While living there I surrounded myself with some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met in my life. Many of who are still my best friends. My husband is from Kuwait and he’s generous, kind, compassionate, and hard working. He’s not dishonest or disloyal, nor would he divorce me with a half dozen kids and offer no financial support. So while it’s always easy to point fingers and make assumptions, rarely are they accurate, and often they only reveal who you really are.

Diversity and the open mind.

Growing up in a military town I was surrounded by people from all over America. My peers came in every color, shape, and size yet no one ever seemed to notice. I didn’t identify my friends according to their ethnic background or color of their skin. As a matter of fact, my parents would have been mortified if I had. I was taught that prejudice is tacky and outright classless. As I’ve aged and become wiser I happen to agree with that sentiment.

Upon moving abroad, especially the Middle East, racism seemed to run rampant. People exhibited signs of xenophobia on every level. Yet as often as I witnessed it I never became comfortable being around people who outwardly judged others based on their nationality, religion, family name, or job title. I even found myself openly speaking out, to complete strangers, when witnessing such negativity. Sadly, even some Westerners took on the ‘I’m better than you’ mentality when it came to service workers and would often treat them horribly. Surely a sign of poor upbringing, no class, and insecurity.

One of the first things that attracted me to my husband was his open mind. And though he comes from a comfortable lifestyle he is very humble. His circle of friends consists of people from all different backgrounds yet he only sees their heart. He treats the Tea Boy the same as he would an owner of a large corporation. He has never once indicated he thinks he’s better than anyone. To me that’s the definition of intelligence, cultured, and classy.

Unfortunately racism is still alive and well among some. We really don’t experience it and if we do neither of us have noticed. Perhaps we just have zero interest in what others think to the point we’re happily unaware of the negativity which may attempt to creep in? 

Surely I won’t be alive to see the day when everyone is judged from the inside. But I have faith that day will come.