I Feel Discriminated for Being An Arab

01 June, 2020
Q I'm half Romanian and half Arab. I have not talked in Arabic for a very long time since I came back home in Bucharest.

Now I'm in grade 12 in a Romanian high school, and my Christian female class mate made fun of me by saying random words in Arabic.

I stopped understanding Arabic because of not using it anymore, and she expected me to respond back to her in Arabic and I did not understand so, I answered her: "dude! Speak in Romanian!"

She told me in a loud voice in front of others a bad word and then “You said you're Arab?!"

I feel discriminated and bullied.

I started to even hate what origin I have. So, how should I deal with such people?

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Usually, the best course of action is to either ignore the person or to briefly tell them you have not used the Arabic language in a long time and are not fluent.

If you must respond, just be polite (I know it’s hard) because the last thing a provocateur wants is a polite response.

If she continues to bully you, brother, please inform someone at the school or at home of the situation. You deserve to learn in a peaceful non-threatening environment.

You are Romanian and Arab. Be proud of both your heritage.


As salamu alaykum brother,

Thank you for writing to us. I am sorry to hear what you went through, brother. People can be so cruel. What you described can be classified as a mild form of bullying.

The classmate who challenged you appeared to feel a sense of entitlement and power. It was an illusion. She tried to make you look foolish but what your classmate did, was made herself look ridiculous, not you.

Culture and Expectations

Just because a person is of a certain ethnicity/race/culture does not mean they must know the language. There are a lot of people whose parents are from other countries and speak different languages. Their children, however, are not always fluent in both languages and that is okay.

I Feel Discriminated for Being An Arab - About Islam

You are Romanian and Arab. Be proud of both your heritage. There is no need for you to speak fluent Arabic to prove your ethnicity. The important thing is that you can speak Romanian because that is where you live now.

You do not have to prove anything to anyone. When situations like this arise, it hurts. We do not truly know the motive of the one who is doing the bullying. Usually, the best course of action is to either ignore the person or to briefly tell them you have not used the Arabic language in a long time and are not fluent.

However, it is really none of their business. You do not have to prove anything to anyone.

Discrimination & Bullying

What more than likely happened was the girl was just trying to intimidate you to make you feel bad. Who knows, perhaps she was jealous of your dual ethnicity and wished she was of two different unique cultures.

Brother, try not to take it to heart. Chances are, when you go back, it will be all forgotten about. Her response was rude, indeed, but in situations like this, it is best not to respond as it just feeds into the situation.

If you must respond, just be polite (I know it’s hard) because the last thing a provocateur wants is a polite response. They are eagerly looking for you to get upset and lash out. This feeds into and escalates the situation. When you respond in a way that closes the situation (yes, your right, you have a good point, thank you for your concern), the person usually stops as there is no argument to defend.


Check out this counseling video:


The only exception is if there is ever a physical confrontation. In this case, you have every right to defend yourself and you should. This situation, however, seems like some very childish behavior from her part and insha’Allah it will be forgotten about when you go back.

If she continues to harass and bully you, brother, please do inform someone at the school or at home of the situation. You deserve to learn in a peaceful non-threatening environment.

We wish you the best.

Salam,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.