“I understand that Arab/ Muslim women have a long, rich history of struggle and resistance, both against patriarchal religious orthodoxy and Western imperialism. In fact, since being in the United States, I consider myself proudly allied to women like Suheir Hammad, Nawal El-Saadawi and others who speak out against imperialism, genocide and racism. But I can’t forget or ignore the racism and imperialism endorsed by many Arab/Muslim women against South Asian women in the Middle-east. Thousands of Sri Lankan, Filipina and Indonesian women work as domestic labour in Arab/ Muslim households, and the realities of sexual assault, abuse and violence are rampant”
South Asian women are constructed by Emirati/Muslim society as sexually wanton, as lazy, as stupid; in fact, they are constructed much in the same way that Black and Latina women have been constructed in subjugation to whiteness in the US. I have seen, and experienced this racism firsthand when I lived in Dubai. In many ways, Emirati/ Muslim society aspires towards whiteness by colluding in the negative racialization of workers from South East Asia; westerners and Emiratis are openly paid three times as much as Asians in Dubai. My aunt worked at HSBC for decades, and when she quit, they hired an Emirati woman at twice my aunt’s salary, and with more benefits.
Take some time out and read this.