We’re looking at facts about Arab Americans all this week. Recent events in the Middle East—Obama’s Cairo speech, Iranian elections, Israeli consideration of a two-state solution—focus our attention here in the U.S. as much as they focus our attention over there.
The facts come from a scientific survey we did of Arab Americans and the general population living in the greater Detroit metropolitan area. Assessing the impact of 9/11 was an important reason for the survey.
FACT 3: Arab Americans experienced verbal and physical abuse after 9/11 but also acts of support and solidarity from the general population.
About 15% of Arabs in the Detroit region reported having a bad experience right after 9/11. Verbal abuse was the most common bad experience, but some experienced workplace discrimination, vandalism, and even physical or vehicular assault.
During the two years after 9/11, one of four Arab American families reported having bad experiences related to religion, race, or ethnicity.
Over a third of Arab Americans said that someone who was not of Middle Eastern background expressed solidarity and support.
Like other Americans, Arab Americans feel less safe and secure as a result of 9/11. Muslim Arabs, however, are more likely than Christian Arabs to worry about the future of their families in the United States.
Arab Americans are not the only minorities that experience harassment and discrimination and worry about the future of their families. We found, for example, that a higher percentage of African Americans have bad experiences, compared to Arab Americans. (The same may be true for Hispanics, though we don’t have sufficient data to know for sure.)
If you are Arab American, what was your experience after 9/11? Have things changed for the better or the worse in the last few years?
If you are not Arab American, what has your experience been? What have you observed?
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