Racism in Arab and Iraqi diaspora communities

Opinion Jan 18, 2021 2 min read

In order to eradicate racism, we need to understand its roots. Reproduction of anti-blackness, as formulated through the imposed binaries of white supremacism under American hegemony, creates significant infleunce on how racism is reproduced in Iraq and among Iraqi/Arab diaspora.

What is racism?

Racism is in contrary to popular belief not a product of ethnic difference and exchange, but rather an institutionally reinforced and internalized imaginary worldview of hegemonic power at the level of economy, society, culture, media, religion and international relations.

This worldview generates hierarchies of power and exploitation to the interests of the global superpower ( in this time this is coincidently the USA) on a racial basis. Hegemonic American interests  are key in how racism is expressed within communities. All communities including Arabs are subjected to it.

Racism on an interpersonal level occurs when the discriminated transgresses the institutionally internalized imaginary worldview of racial hierarchy and entitlement of the empowered discriminator. The discriminator then lashes out to enforce the established order and its racism.

Institutional racism

Arabs that do not formulate a critique of institutional racism embedded in US grand-strategy in an attempt to address race within their communities are missing the point. It is not a 'community issue' were you persuade others through dialogue, nor can we vaguely claim that Arab communities are inherently racist, rather there are vested interest to make sure we reproduce racism, (there sufficient historical constructions of Arab history to mobilize it) among us rather than reproducing solidarity with Black Americans and resistance to the US government.

Many Arab/Iraqi diaspora are talking about 'addressing' racism within their community without clearly formulating the root of the problem, ties of racism to US grand strategy that targets Arabs. Anti-racism is solidarity with African-Americans but also resistance to the US government.

Ideas of Whiteness, blackness, stereotypes on all ethnicity are closely interlinked to cultural justifications of military interventions (to guarantee white supremacy and wealth)- , economic exploitation, police brutality - to protect white private property. "Arabs are terrorists, Blacks are thugs, Asians are stoic, feminine etc." are stereotypes institutionally reinforced through films, media, policy, economic exclusion, functioning as oil to make sure that the machine of American global dominance runs smoothly.

It is no coincidence that in 1992, during the LA riots the same army that just came back from Iraq in 1991 was employed to oppress the LA uprising.

Even if we 'talk' our community out of racism, if it is still seen as something vaguely cultural-communal you'll never find something to base your solidarity on and seriously eradicate racism at its root.

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