Alice Saidawi, San Francisco, CA. Often times when I tell people I am Arab or Palestinian, they often immediately assume that I am Muslim as well; there is a huge differentiation. I’ve encountered many experiences where the person I was talking to seriously did not understand the difference. I’ve had to clarify this difference to […]
George Nalbandian, San Francisco, CA. I look like a typical white boy, but my culture and family traditions are nothing like that of a white male/ or an American. My ethnicity is Armenian, and my skin tone is pale, but there are a lot of darker skinned Armenians too. A lot of us look Middle […]
Ryan Lewandowski, Tustin, CA. I may look white, but I am 1/4 Lebanese (Middle Eastern) and 3/4th European (Irish, Polish, and Finnish)… So I don’t eat traditional American foods and I don’t feel entitled because I look white… I am a third generation immigrant! CBU-HIS311
JD, Canada. Being located in Eastern Europe, there is a common misconception that Romania comes from slavic lineage, when historically, and factually we are Latin people. Most Romanians have many Middle Eastern features as well and many people associate Romanians with being gypsies. Western European countries are quite negative and borderline racist when it comes […]
Diana Martinez, Chicago, IL. I’m both Hispanic and Middle Eastern, but I guess my skin tone never did quite match up to people’s expectations.
Reem Totonchi, Madison, WI. The guesses are almost never correct, unless they come from a fellow Middle-Easterner. “Where are you from?” they ask, eyes smiling and already knowing. “I’m half-Iraqi and half-Irish,” I say with a smile back. I never mind the question when it’s like this; less accusatory and exotifying than usual. In a […]
Tiffany Compton, Colorado Springs, CO. I always thought I was like everyone else until a kid in my 6th grade class asked me this question. After 9/11 my Middle Eastern background has been stereotyped and my life hasn’t been the same.
Ilana New York, NY I grew up in Israel to a father born in Germany and a mother born in the United States. Yet every time I tick the “white” box I feel uncomfortable. The culture I grew up in was considered “white” but the Middle East is ethnically diverse. Everyone was a “mixed breed” […]
Abigail Curtis Belfast, ME I am an American mutt! Dominican, middle eastern, white. I don’t think these words are said with hostility, but they always make me stop and think.
Maren Robinson Chicago, IL I watched how my American-born half-Iranian husband went from being perceived as white (Iranians are Caucasian) to being perceived as vaguely “middle eastern” (eliciting double takes on trains and extra searches at airports) after September 11th. He is an actor, so I have also watched him play characters who are Caucasian, […]
Afra Sumeir-Zmolek Grand Prairie, TX People see me without a head scarf, holding my American husband hand and my “white” son, normally people address my white 6 foot tall husband, or if I’m with my son only, they do small talk addressing my son! Immediately people try to put me in a pigeon hole when […]
Lauren Mooney Elk Grove, CA As children, my mother always referred to us as Lebanese Leprechauns. She was first generation American, of hard-working Lebanese immigrants. My father was of Scots-Irish decent; his family having immigrated several generations earlier. American first and foremost, both parents also made sure we knew about the cultures of our ancestors. […]
Rom Barkhordar Chicago, IL This was a brief exchange with someone I just met who, to his defense, had a few beers and was feeling rather boisterous. I explained to him that I am an actor in Chicago, doing a theatrical production where I play a middle-eastern character. He is also an actor, but found […]
Essa Batarseh Orlando, FL
Tod Carey Laguna Woods, CA In my 66 years,.. I don’t recall seeing an Hispanic couple with their adopted Black baby in the baby carriage. I can’t recall ever seeing an Asian couple walking down the street hand in hand with their adopted White child. For the life of me,… I don’t remember ever seeing […]
Saranaz Barforoush College Park, MD