Black Lives Matter Influences the Arab World for Positive Changes
By: Amana Tashfeen/Arab America Contributing Writer
The events following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the murder of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police have shined a growing light on the injustices of racism. This in turn sparked significant action amongst the Arab community and the rest of the world in the fight to end systemic racism. With the many incidents of violence at the hands of law enforcement and racial discrimination against the Black community, Arabs from across the world have taken a stand to uplift Black voices and move towards liberation and justice during the Black Lives Matter protests.
For many Arab Muslims, this provided a time for them to reflect on the core Islamic values emphasizing the importance of equality and justice amongst all. Rebuilding an evaluation and understanding of this has essentially helped many confront the issue of racism in their own homes and community.
The Role of Social Media
In the past, it has certainly been argued that there has been a lack of effort on the part of the Arab world addressing anti-Blackness. However, in recent years there has been an increase in the representation of support from the Arab community. Most recently, the events following the murder of George Floyd has amplified Arab voices from all around the world through the use of different social media platforms and protests to defund the police.
Twitter has served as an important tool as Arabs have successfully taken advantage of the large and engaging audience to tweet and expose violence against the Black community and highlight the importance of raising awareness of the issue.
Many of the Arab community’s tweets consist of ways to get involved with the movement, such as signing petitions, making donations, and organizing protests. Platforms such as Instagram have grown to become very beneficial as well. Many Arab-born Americans have created flyers and infographics in efforts to create a step-by-step guide on how racism can be addressed in Arab families. Graphics like these have grown to become a trending image on social media sites, engaging the Arab community in unity and has effectively helped in raising awareness and taking action.
There has also been a recent growing awareness of “Afro-Arabs,” the Black minority population of Sub-Saharan African descent. Many tweets have been highlighted to address the issue of racism within this group that may not have received enough attention from the media before. As members of the community continue to share these images, informative posts, and tweets to raise awareness, the support from Arabs for the Black community continues to grow.
Starting the Conversation at Home
In addressing the issue of racism, Arabs have started by recognizing the problem within their own community, which in turn allows them to understand the tremendous hurt their own biases can cause to the Black community. Surely, the injustices of racism is not new, and not just limited to the United States. Racism against Blacks is prominent within our own communities abroad as well, which is why Arabs have put an active effort to undo anti-Blackness, starting at home.
How did they do this? They started by educating themselves first, and their loved ones as well, on recognizing their privilege and centering the voices of Black Arabs in the community. This meant encouraging and supporting Black Arabs to take on more leadership and prominent roles within the workforce, school, and community. Creating a more welcoming environment for minority groups begins the dismantling of racism as a first step. This is an ongoing process and requires an active effort and constantly educating oneself and those around them to work towards an effective change.
The Change in the Arab World
The Black Lives Matter movement has a growing impact on the Arab world, encouraged activism, introduced new information, and ultimately pushed Arabs to amplify their voices on the issue of racism. Arabs have continued to reflect and educate themselves on the limitations and fear amongst the Black community. With the growing power of social media, minority voices are finally heard and being used as a powerful source of information, advocacy, and awareness. Through this, many Arabs across the globe are turning their artistic talent to create graffiti and meaningful artwork representing the “I Can’t Breathe” slogan. In efforts to encourage members of the Arab community to become involved in the movement, Arabs are continuing to create promotional flyers, sharing and contributing to resourceful links for donations, signing petitions in support of the movement, and protest in support of their Black brothers and sisters in the struggle.
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