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Working with Arab Americans. Stereotypes. Arab Americans are descended from Nomadic Desert Tribes They Come from Oil-Rich Middle Eastern Countries They May Have Terrorist Connections They May be Members of a Violent Islamic Fundamentalist Religion. Stereotypes.

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stereotypes
Stereotypes
  • Arab Americans are descended from Nomadic Desert Tribes
  • They Come from Oil-Rich Middle Eastern Countries
  • They May Have Terrorist Connections
  • They May be Members of a Violent Islamic Fundamentalist Religion
stereotypes1
Stereotypes
  • Arab American Women Are Subservient to the Men
  • Arab Americans Look Different
past connections
Past Connections
  • First Wave
    • 1875 to 1920
    • Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine
    • Primarily farmers or village artisans
  • Second Wave
    • From late 1940’s
    • Immigrated from many countries
    • Wanted to escape civil wars, famine & hardship after WWII
    • Primarilyeducated, bilingual, & politicized
current profile
Current Profile
  • 1% of U.S. Population
  • Geographical Aspects
    • 90% are urban dwellers
    • Northeast - Arab Americans most likely found
    • Midwest - Detroit-Dearborn, Cleveland, Chicago, Toledo
    • South - Southern Federation of Syria-Lebanon Clubs
    • West - So. California & San Francisco Bay Area
current profile1
Current Profile
  • Demographics
    • Young and growing population
    • Twice as many Arab Americans earn advanced degrees
    • Self-employed, managerial & professional jobs
    • Have the highest mean income of any U.S. group
    • Family Size – depends on length of time in U.S.
common threads of arab cultures
Common Threads of ArabCultures
  • Arabic Language
    • Most unifying factor in Arab culture
    • Poetic, spiritual, emotional & sensuous
  • World Views
    • In Muslim homeland – Allah’s will
    • Arab American identity is a compromise between two cultures
common threads of arab cultures religions
Common Threads of Arab Cultures - Religions
  • Muslim 23% - Christian 77%
  • Muslims
    • More difficult to integrate due to differences in religious beliefs that affect social practices
    • Integration of church & state
    • Non-Arab Muslims
    • The Quran and Five Pillars of Islam
  • Religious Education
    • Maintains social rules & expected behavior
common threads of arab cultures family values customs
Common Threads of ArabCultures Family Values & Customs
  • Family is more important than individual
  • Families are patriarchal & extended
  • Family name is guarded by all members
    • Female modesty & chastity reflect on honor of men, family, and community
  • Members of an extended family help each other to immigrate
  • Arabs do not make casual friendships
common threads of arab cultures1
Common Threads of Arab Cultures
  • Gender Issues
    • Vary by country of origin, rural or urban area, and length of time in U.S.

Muslim Households

    • Dramatically different sexual standards for males & females
    • Males acquire more material objects than girls and have much more freedom
    • Marriages are arranged in home countries and recent immigrants tend to follow suit
common threads of arab cultures muslim social customs
Common Threads of Arab Cultures -Muslim Social Customs
  • Physical Space – Closest physical proximity
  • Handshaking - Religious Reasons
    • Men may not touch or make direct eye contact with any non family female
    • Remaining untouched near prayer time
  • Body Covering
    • Not universally observed - varies by region & class
  • Food- Muslims do not eat pork
leadership challenges opportunities
Leadership Challenges & Opportunities
  • Don’t assume they’re Arab or Middle East Experts
  • Give Stereotyping Protection
  • Get to know them as individuals
  • Recognize their personal strengths and potentials
    • Independent, well educated, productive
  • Capitalize on their networking skills
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