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Racism and Social Prejudice Reflection Paper

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1444 words Published: 19th Jun 2018

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Racism refers to social prejudice against someone based on their skin color. It is a belief that members of a particular race possess certain qualities, characteristics and abilities in order to distinguish them as either superior or inferior to other races. I was born in Southern Kuwaiti. I was raised up in the slums in the outskirts of the city. I did not attend school. I spent much of my life on the looking up to the passers-by for food and other necessities. It was during this period as I strolled up and down the streets when I heard someone refer to me as a “bidoon”.

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I barely understood what this meant. Each day I would not comprehend the reason my parents could not own and possess the land. I also noticed that majority of my neighbors had the same cultural practices like us, they dressed like me. Moreover, the majority of the children in the neighborhood did not attend school like me. We spent most of our days and time in the streets borrowing food and money from the strangers.

The term “bidoon” became more and more familiar to my ears each day. At 16, I had grown sick and tired of other kids laughing and giggling at me in the streets. While we remained stranded and misplaced in the streets, they seemed to be in a better position, always smiling and more comfortable than me. The curiosity to ask my parents why I did not attend school grew each day. Besides, I always wondered why I did not have the privilege to dress up smartly like the rest of the kids and grown ups on the streets. Furthermore, I realized each day that there was a big disparity between me and them. I realized that there existed none of the Arabian people in my neighborhood. Majority of us were all not of Arabian origin. Besides, I did not know why addressed me differently. Each day, something different was always coming up.

Also, I realized that we were residing on the less privileged side of the city. Food was a problem, I had no access to clean water and sanitation. At the age of 20, life here had become more and more compelling. My parents were growing older each day and providing for my siblings and I was becoming more cumbersome. I felt compelled to move to the streets in search of a job opportunity. However, my parents would not allow me to. With persistence, he later explained to me that since we were not Arabs, life here was becoming more and more unfavourable. I realized that my parents had still not obtained their identification documents. It had become difficult for them to acquire Kuwait citizenship. This is because, we were not Arabians. I realized that only people of the Arabian origin were more privileged to be legal Kuwait citizens.

Besides, it came to my attention that only those who acquired citizenship had more legal rights. They could access education, better health care, and better living conditions unlike me. I now realized why I had spent my entire childhood roaming around the streets. This had all been because we were not legally recognized as Kuwaiti citizens. Besides, majority of the people who enjoyed better civil rights were the Arabians. Living with this form of ethnical discrimination each day now fully dawned onto me. Again, I found that the traditional word I had heard,”bidoon” referred to me, the non-Arabian. It was used to mean I was stateless. That is why I lived in the outskirts of the city. In the slums where housing, sanitation and even food were a problem. My human rights were violated.

Despite my parents’ restrictions, at the age of 22, I persistently went out to the streets. My key interest was on following up why all this prejudice on ethnicity and race was being carried on. It later came to my attention that, according to the Kuwaiti constitution, the nationality act, put in place various classes of citizens. I realised that there was a class of those referred to as “ancient Kuwaitis”(Walcott345-370) and others as naturalized citizens. “Ancient Kuwaitis” were definitely the Arabs, or those of Arabic origin. These were the ones who had full political rights. The naturalized Kuwaitis were I and the rest of us who were not of Arabian origin despite having grown up in Kuwaiti for the longest period.

Living with this traumatising prejudice each day was difficult. It got worse when I discovered it was constitutionally stated. Each day of being a “bidoon” was a reality. It was distinctly clear that the human rights of the Bidoons like I were being violated and it was constitutionally acceptable. Moreover, I could frequently hear people identifying themselves as either “Article-1-citizens,””Article-3-citizens”(Walcott,450-500) and many others. I later became curious on why it was not legal for me to participate in the democratic process.I was left out. This is because I could only enjoy the privilege of voting after thirty years. This is because I was not an original Kuwaiti citizen since I was an alien in the land. Besides, neither was I descendant of an original Kuwaiti by blood (Welbon,345-400). I was simply an alien. I had to live with the pain of my rights being violated for the longest period possible. Besides, I realized that it was also constitutionally acceptable that the Nationality Act gave preferential consideration to people of Arab origin to “bidoons.”Bidoons acquired citizenship through naturalization. I realized that despite the fact that this is legal as per the Kuwaiti constitution, it is a violation of the Kuwait’s treaty duties.

I later on sought to discover the origin of statelessness in the country. I discovered that this resulted from the fact that many had failed to acquire citizenship at independence hence could not be identified as Kuwait citizens after independence(Welbon,345-400). I however realised that the situation worsened over time because, rules guiding citizenship had become more vigilant overtime. I clearly understood why I had not attended school. I was a child to the bidoons (Welbon,345-400).

I also realised that my parents could not have secured employed anywhere because of the strict rules that had been enforced to govern the “bidoons”.moreover, throughout I had had no access to medical care because I was the child of a”bidoon”.The worse got to worst in the 1990s, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The “bidoons” had to forcefully join the army. If not so, imprisonment or death sentence. I lived under the threat and fear of imprisonment. I had to join the Iraq military(Welbon,345-400) to avoid facing any of the above threats, However this was viewed as a betrayal by Kuwait government. Hence upon liberation in 1991, the other “bidoons” and I were persecuted. Besides, the rest of my colleagues who had somehow managed to secure jobs were dismissed and denied pay. I had to live with the anger and agony of this prejudice each day ever since.

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What seems more sympathetic is the fact that each day, the state of prejudice against the non-Arabs worsened. I could not have access to necessary documents such as birth, death or marriage certificates (Wen and Tarn, 100-134). I still remain without any identification documents to this day. Travels across the border have become difficult. I am faced with the option of leaving the country if only never to come back. As the 21st century dawned, there was hope for legal action putting into concern our grievances; however, there is no political will. Instead, I have to live with the fear of eviction. This involves signing affidavits that I am a foreigner. This grants me a residence permit of five years.

I have had to bribe the authorities for simple favours such as traveling across the borders. Entire life seems to be limited in a cocoon of things that revolve around insecurity. The fear of eviction from the state you have been at for many years and lack of access to essential facilities such as medical care was more than enough for me to bear (Wen and Tarn,100-134). The state of insecurity and persecution was incredible; this is all I have had to live with. Racism and ethnicity have been key in deterring fundamental progress in my life.


Pechenizkiy, Mykola. “Racism in Arabian Countries.” (2006): 1–26. Print.

Ravi, Jayashree, Zhifeng Yu, and Weisong Shi. “A Survey Racism and Ethinicity in Kuwait .” (2009): 943–960. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.

Spruyt, Charline. “Changing Concepts of Racism in Arabian countries .” (2011): 1–129. Print.

Welbon, By Guy. “IN.” 31–38. Print.

Wen, H Joseph, and Jyh-horng Michael Tarn. “racism” ,1998,USA,print


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