Black Arab Kuwaitis
The arabian gulf is full of black people from Kuwait, Iraq, United Emirates to Saudi Arabia. Those Black people are often indigenous to the Gulf. There are prominent aboriginal black gulf arabs, in places like United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Even today, many senior members of the Kuwaiti Royal family are black Kuwaitis. If one were to judge, it is possible to view Kuwait as a black country due to the preponderance of black people in the country.
Black Kuwaities in Kuwait often call each others “Khaly”. The word “khal” means an Uncle or a Black man. As such “Khaly” means My Uncle, or my Blackman, in the United States some Black youth would say My NiGGa.
Most black Kuwaitis express a silent type of solidarity towards one another. They identify strongly with each other. For example, in any customer service indusry , you would notice that once a black man approaches, he gets a special treatment and gets called “Khaly” by all the black Kuwaitis employees even if he were the same age or younger than the employee .
It is almost like some secret love bond.
Discrimination and racism
Complains of racism has been heard but this is considered as rare. It is possible to find the one off occassion where racist prejudices are displayed. Some white or lighter skinned Kuwaitis tend to call black Kuwaitis, abd (slave). This is term is considered pejorative by the Black Kuwaitis.
Because Kuwait like the rest of the Gulf is predominantly peopled with ‘black arabs’, it would not make sense that dark people are ‘racist’ against other dark people. Additionally, Islam is a very anti-racist religions and racial prejudices are unacceptable in the public sphere. As such many present day Africans from modern African countries live and thrive in the gulf. There are millions of Somalis and Sudanese and Ethiopians present there.
The discrimination that one sees is not a case of colour but more of class. As in any society with so much emphasis on material acquisition (due to the oil wealth), the poorer classes are generally considered as inferior and unfortunate. Thus lots of prejudiced attitudes are surreptitiously directed at the poor and the working class.
Whereas, many poor Indian, Philipino and other Asian and African immigrant workers complain of being treated as if they were not worth anything of value by the arabs of kuwait, many rich African muslims and traders, and other higher income Asian visitors come to Kuwait and are received like kiths and kins.
Pale Arabized Kuwaitis
Most of the arabian gulf arabs including the Kuwaitis are dark in colour. The arabs that are paler complexioned are arabized people. They consist of Syrians and Lebanese and Jordanians who moved into Kuwait in the Islamic era. They are not seen as the true arabs and many of their ancestors are mixed with ancient Romans and Greeks.
Due to the political agenda of the western world, and the gullibility of the global mass media consumers, the face of the pale arab has come to represent the archetype of today’s arab.
There was even a time (1960s and 1970s) when the social and political circumstances used to favor white Kuwaitis more than black Kuwaitis. Presently the new generation of Kuwaitis are much more educated and opened minded. Color and tribe are no longer major divisive issues between Kuwaitis.
“Being a black Kuwaiti, I remember when I was a kid … some girls teased me and never played with me. But now, most Kuwaitis don’t care about a Kuwaiti person’s color,” noted Dalal, an employee at NBK.
Sheikha Ali, a pale skin Kuwaiti noted that she is against color discrimination. She added that even though this type of discrimination still happens, it is not so common unlike before. “Two of my best friends are dark Kuwaitis,” she added.
The government has an official policy against any kind of discrimination between white and dark Kuwaitis.