Arab: It’s the new Black.

11 Mar
Today, I got home, made dinner, and turned the TiVo to last night’s Daily Show; my normal routine. John Stewart announced that Dubai has back out of the ports deal. Well, that’s not what’s happened, but that’s not what shocked me. What shocked me is the audience cheered like they were all at the Superbowl, and all from Pittsburgh.

Isn’t racism great?

*Warning reading past this point may cause doubts about the US and the US government. You may even experience the feeling that the USA is not as advanced as you have been told.*

First, some facts. (No one seems to care about those anymore). Dubai is not buying ports, they are looking at leasing terminals. What’s the difference? Well a port normally has 6-10 terminals. Dubai is looking at one terminal in 6 different ports. These ports were acquired when Dubai purchased Peninsular Oriental Steam Navigation Company, a British company.

80% of the US port terminals are owned by foreign companies, mostly Denmark, Switzerland, Taiwan, China, Germany, France, and Japan. According to the US Commerce Department, in 2004 foreign direct investment in the US totals $1.5 trillion (Arab companies account for $9.3 billion). Foreign-owned companies contributed nearly $500 billion per year to the US gross domestic product. according to the Organization for International Investment, they account for 1/5 of all US exports, and employ more than 5 million US workers, with an average worker salary of $60K. That is 34% above what our own, US companies, pay.

So why the big deal over Dubai? They are Arab… aw hell, call them towel heads. Going to be racist, no need to dance around it, right? And we don’t want any towel heads in charge of the security of our nations border right?

Wrong. US Customs, Coast Guard, and the local port authority are in charge of security. Want to tighten security, get these guys better technology and the means to afford more officers. Do you really think if a US company ran the port they would watch shipments any closer than the law required? Even Google sets aside human rights in the face of China profits.

Has anyone considered Dubai (besides skin and towels)? They run 22 terminals in 15 other countries. They are the 3rd largest holder of DaimlerChrysler stock. They entered a joint venture with General Electric to invest in high technology projects across the Middle East and North Africa. Dubai’s home port is used as a major base of operations right now for the US military in the Mideast. The only fact mentioned against Dubai is that two of the 9/11 hijackers were from United Arab Emirates (UAE), and even that is a weak claim. The UAE is a country made of up 7 states, Dubai is only one of those states and nothing has even been linked directly to Dubai about 9/11.

None of this matters, only skin color counts. Dubai are towel heads, plain and simple. We don’t want their kind in our country. When Idan Ofer, the chairman of Israel’s largest shipping, line urges the US Congress to drop this opposition of an Arab company, you have to wonder how we got this fucked up. Well, you don’t have to wonder much, it’s simple really. Bush’s numbers are down, and the Republican Congressmen are looking an issue to distance themselves. The Democrats feel they finally have an issue they can get voters. A shame they have no problem the issue: racism.

  • Totally agree except that I don’t think it’s racism so much as knee-jerk, flag-waving, ostensibly “patriotic” nationalism. People don’t care that Arabs are brown but that Arab has come to be almost synonymous with terrorist in America. If the French or the Swedish or some other white country had been behind 9/11 and thus was demonized, we’d be just as up in arms, I think. In any case, I completely agree that it’s stupid.

  • I’m not so willing to give the benefit of the doubt. It was the Japanese we put in camps in the 40’s, not the Italians or the Germans. Timothy McVeigh and David Koresh are thought of as madmen, not really terrorists – but they are pretty much the same religious extremists as those from the Mideast.

    In any case, we already hate the French.

  • Ok first, you really … really… ought to proofread. Several of your sentences I had to simply assume I out what you. =P

    Secondly, I’m rather inclined to lean toward a religious-issue argument over Daryl’s generic terrorism suggestion or your racism argument. Specifically for Daryl, if it had been a dozen extremists from Norway we wouldn’t have assumed all of Norway hated us, IMHO. We would have simply assumed a couple nut-cases from Norway had gotten loose. We would have made a big deal out of it, and had Norway scour their streets for signs of more baddies (i.e. funding, etc.), but we wouldn’t have bombed Norway, moved onto Finland then started a pro-democracy campaign for Sweden.

    In the case of Mike’s racism argument, it’s more an issue of religious prosecution over racism. The US has long felt the simmering hatred of the middle-east while not exactly knowing how to deal with it short of all converting to Islam.

  • Of course the religious shtick isn’t a justification on its own and is simply presented as a base in the american mind as a ‘known combattant’. It was just as much to do with political agendas on our end to ensure a re-election (IMHO) and ensuring control over a by-the-short-n-curlies relationship the US has with regard to its dependency on middle-east oil, and finally… sending a message to any would-be assailants.

    As for the disdain for hearing that large percentages of US ports are owned by foreign companies… well… that’s normal. Every country likes to think of itself as doing well and having someone else taking more advantage tna themselves of their own commodities feels demeaning. In the vein of intolerance of external influence, the French come up with their own words for english terms. French government workers can’t use the term “email”. If I’d bother to look it up I could tell you the term they have to use instead.

  • Points well taken. I still feel there is racism at the heart of the matter… no way I could even get a survey on this, but I’d wager when the average “Heart Land American” sees a person of Mideast decent (or looks like one to them), the get the “grab the kids, walk on the other side of the road” feeling.

    Perhaps bigotry is the more accurate label. To me, the difference in racism and bigorty is no more than the difference in liable and slander; a minor technicallity while the intent is the same.

    I suppose the points are moot however, with the abortion issue in center stage, these minor issues won’t be worthy of discussion time.