Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Racial discrimination in the UAE

There's a lively debate going on at the Community Blog, on a posting by SANS headlined Equal Opportunity. It uses an employment advertisement to illustrate the point of discrimination.

Racism and racial discrimination are alive and well in the region. It is an abomination and every step should be taken to remove it from society, but regrettably we have no legislation against the practice.

Unfortunately, SANS chose the wrong advertisement to illustrate a very valid and important point. There are many blatantly discriminatory advertisements every day, any of which would have supported the point much more accurately.

One quick glance through the employment pages of today's Gulf News came up with these examples:

It's a sad reflection of our society isn't it.


Woke said...

It's a sad reflection of our society isn't it.


Keefieboy said...

Well done Seabee - I wudda got more involved in that debate but I've been here too long and my brain doesn't work properly any more.

Seabee said...

Yes keefieboy, I find it hard to keep going too. Most of what one says is misunderstood or deliberately misinterpreted and it's easier to just let it go.

trailingspouse said...

It's been a good debate and you have come up with some much better examples. Let me add this one, also from Gulf News but in the small classifieds -

Executive Secretary - Female, with minimum 2 years experience, fluency in English, self correspondence skills & advance knowledge of MS Office Package; age below 30 years.

At least they didn't add "pretty", although they do request a photo.

I've often been tempted to start a clippings file of some of the worst examples to show to friends back home, but fear I would just be reinforcing negative stereotypes about this part of the world. Not what is needed at the moment. Perhaps I'll save them for my grandkids. Maybe things will have changed by then, insha'allah.

Seabee said...

trailingspouse, the classified ads are full of them every day. From today's Gulf News we have ads specifying religion (Muslim maid wanted), age, gender, nationality (Cook, Filipino, female, age below 28) and not only ethnicity or nationality but even sub-groups of those (Accountant North Indian, Cook Keralite, Housemaid Malayalam).

People complain that the UAE is the problem, but actually the problem is expats bringing their prejudices with them.

Grace F said...

How about this:fromwww. expatriates.com
Description: Seeking an Executive Secretary/Personal Assistant to work for a Company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Preferred: Filipino
1.) Open Minded, fashionable, Sociable & pleasing personality.
2.) Willing to Relocate to Dubai (if your outside the country)
3.) Pro Active & Fast Learner can work well under pressure
4.) High School/Vocational Preferably Colege Degree
5.) Good Communication Skills in English/Computer Literate
6.) Must be at least 5'4" Tall in height proportionate body
1.) Minimum Salary Offer U$850.00 per month
2.) ALLOWANCE: Housing and Trasportation/Car
(If you have an International or UAE Drivers License)
3.) Business Travel Trips with the Director (Europe, USA, & others)
4.) Annual Vacation Leave + Medical Insurance
5.) Other Inscentive maybe dicussed on an online interview.
6.) Visit Visa/Employment Visa Sponsorship
Please send your detailed CV with passport size and Full size body pictures in a corporate, casual attire wearing the following:
-- Corporate attire in a Mini skirt
-- Bikini Swim Wear
-- casual clothes
what's the bikini wear for??

Anonymous said...

I know, its ridiculous... and many foreigners(esp. South Asians) still live in Dubai just because of the higher wages compared to their own countries. I lived in Dubai for 8 years and left for Toronto in 1998 and visited Dubai 4 times since then... I would never consider living or working there. Cant live by the Islamic rules day in and out.

Anonymous said...


Though I am amused by the choice of advts nearly all showing Arab / Asian preference...

The practise is as rampant in westerners.. You will find enough advts asking for British / SA people.

Though they put it guise like prefer Western Educated or British / SA educated...

I have been a victim twice, once I had a huge discussion with a recruitment consultant and she finally agreed that it amounted to rascism but she was bound by the requirements as given by her customer and that she personally didnt subscribe to it...

In the second case, when I applied for a job boasting a salary of 10,000USD per month I was bluntly told that it was for westerners and that as an Indian he would give me half.. although the guy didnt have the courage to put that it advt.. looks like he did not want to give up as a Rascist ..

and then these are the people who talk about being "EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYERS" phew phew...

Anonymous said...

Undoubtedly, there is a cold war between all nationalities in this region especially Dubai. No employee really cares for his employer or Dubai; it is a matter of Destructive Fanatical Patriotism.
A national from XYZ will only employ from XYZ irrespective of their experience or degrees; no wonder there is no accountability in all banks, multinationals in Dubai and the region. Never forget that when Nepotism enters, Accountability exits!!!
It is not a question of being peaceful with each other as much as it is a matter of keeping away from each other because of seething hate for each other.
In fact, there is a palpable sense of racial discrimination and condescension. Very shocking!!!

saffron flower said...

As a non Arab muslim i am very sad to see locals like this. In Islam, there is no discrimination. Where and when did they start this..?

Anonymous said...

Racial discrimination is very rampant here in UAE.I've been here for only 9 months. But i really notice that these locals have attitudes. They look upon themselves highly.And they are very much lazy. One time I saw a local buying something in an Indian store,the local can't even get out of the car. Instead, shouting at the Indian to give him what he wants.

Anonymous said...

Anyway,I'm not an Indian. Just a concerned citizen.

Seabee said...

Anon, buying things from the car parked outside a shop is nothing to do with discrimination. It's not done just by local Emiratis and they're not 'shouting at Indians'.

It's been a way of 'shopping' here for a long time, which I've seen all nationalities doing, Indians and Europeans included. They simply pull up, honk the horn and shout their order to the shop/restaurant staff.

Lbug said...

It's like stepping back in time.

Anonymous said...

As a matter of fact the this country itself a rasist country in disguise. The idea of local arab racism is coming from authority. here by force some people are getting advantage. In the shop, in the line,in restaurent, in job, in salary, in propmotion in every walk of life some people are getting a push from back ...but it is not said or not written. It is in the mind of some to give and to get a racial advantage.

Anonymous said...

From all the 'whiners' who complained about Dubai's Khaleeji arab racism, it seems like Dubai's a much milder, violence free, crime free, rising, booming, developed and prosperous version of immoral and corrupted, hypocritical and homosexual western country.

Marg said...

Discrimination is alive and well in Dubai in all its sordid forms and comes from all races, not just Emirates.

While a guest in a foreign country, as I positioned myself while there, I was embarrassed by expats exploitation of those that 'served' them in their homes, malls, restaurants etc. They know their behaviour would not be tolerated in their own country so why do it in Dubai? If locals have been 'doing' this for years, it does not give us license to act the same, maybe our kindness and gratefulness of being able to live there would go a long way in forging healthier relationships between cultures, I realise this is not just a 'western' attitude!.

As for the version of immoral and corrupted, hypocritical and homosexual western country, you may need to open your eyes to this same behaviour in Dubai!!. There are pros and cons of living in every country, it's your own behaviour you are responsible for no matter where you live, is it not?

Anonymous said...

As an expat currently living and working here in Dubai, myself is experiencing discrimination at work. As an Asian (filipino in particular), I don't believe before that it is happening in our company, because almost half of the employees are my compatriots but then we are not having a fair share of compensation/priviledges compared to our western counterparts. Now my colleague is leaving then I should be the one to replace her, but what our employer said is she prefers a westerner which is really sickening. Yes I am somewhat sourgraping, but this is the sad truth in living here. My employer is not an emirati nor a westerner, and I rather not mention it. I guess everyone of us has a way of discriminating someone in our own ways even if its unintentional.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Imran O Kazmi said...

Very well written and apt, please also see http://growuae.wordpress.com and hope the government opens its eyes to this mess and controls it sooner then later

Anonymous said...

I work for the top British engineering consultancy at their office in UAE and am an Indian national. Most of the managers here are Brits. The racism is very clear. The senior mgmt that is very homogenous makes sure that higher responsibilities, such as project management are not given to non-Brits and they are confined to doing the technical work. The lack of experience then becomes a justification for not giving these responsibilities. However a novice Brit without much experience is brought in and after some teething issues he sails through and so would anybody have, was he given a chance. The fact is that most Europeans would not like to be told by an Asian on how to do their job when the hard fact is that the next century belongs to the emerging economies and will be setting the rules. Its a widely accepted fact that an average Indian or Chinese is much smarter and aware today and is much better prepared to take on the dynamic world economy than an average European or an American. Sooner or later things will change but what is important at this stage that if you're not getting what you deserve because of unjust reasons please be vocal andmake sure that your thoughts are heard by one and all. Do not be too insecure about the job; you cant be fired for being right.

Anonymous said...

I can only say , I haven't seen extreme racism anywhere except here. They all look alike same colour and religion bt still much hatred among themselves.Very conservative and negative , seems to me that people here should get out more.I agree with one of the anony-point of view, the locals do have an attitude not only in their own country but I've seen them behaving badly even outside of UAE. Racism and discrimination almost exists every part of the world but here it is obvious! You would feel it more if you come from a multi-racial country . Most of them are still very uncivilised and rude from what I have noticed.Just like the song goes I like the place but I hate the country- apart from the beautiful scenic places here there is nothing interesting to talk about the people. Sad to say that even some of the immigrants here seem to have been infected with the local bug! Other things that I have noticed, staring & sneering seems to be their national sport! This place is definately not to be listed incase you wish to settle down, unless you wish to remain with the conservative system and rules, plus a bunch of narrow minded people.

Seabee said...

Anon@1.23, just curious about your statement "the locals do have an attitude not only in their own country but I've seen them behaving badly even outside of UAE.

How do you know the people you've seen behaving badly were Emiratis?

Anonymous said...

who said there is a racial separatism in uae have you treated once un fairly in u.a.e ofcource not ... but go to u.s.a and there you will find that discrimination that you are talking about .. ok !!

Anonymous said...

So what is the solution folks? I've heard a lot of chats on the issues. We all know it's rampant, but what the plan of action? or can there ever be one? I live in America. I am a Citizen, but it bothers me that the same folks that go there can act this way... it's humiliating and it's definitely UN-ISLAMIC. There is no place for that in Islam.

Anonymous said...

There is Racial Discrimination in UAE.

Last Sunday at around 10 pm in night I went downstairs to get some water. I hear my dad and my mom talking about something. Both sounded very serious I was behind the door and listening to their conversation. My dad was talking about his job and the racial discrimination present. He was saying that he had given a written complaint to his operational manager about the poor working conditions and the lack of work ethic among the people in the company. The next day the operational manager contacted the team leader both were Arabs and had some discussion. The next day, both came to meet my dad and threatened him that they will terminate his job if he complained about the lack of equipments and poor working condition. Monday morning I asked my dad and he seemed very depressed he told me the entire story. My dad has been working there since 25 years. Every month and every year my dad has complained about the poor quality of equipment , working condition .My dad was going to get the position of senior Maintenance engineer 20 years before but he never got it as a ARAB was given the position. Every day my dad used to help that senior Arab in his work and projects. Even though he was given a higher position he knew my dad was experienced and capable so he asked for my dads help. After 20 years of work with excellent grade my dad was given the position of senior maintenance engineer and that too when my uncle died. I felt like it was a penny given to beggar looking at his worst condition not at his excellence. I said why didn't u complaint he said u were just 2 years old so he didn't take the risk of changing a job. After 25 years of working with the company with an excellent grade my dad complaint and what he got is a warning that he will be terminated. Then there was an American guy young in his twenties, intelligent, hard working having a strong work ethic he wanted to change the condition of the company and increase its production. What he got in return was a Transfer to another branch. I will be going to USA for my masters studies and will surely return to India so that my dad can retire but I will surely tell him to write about all the things the insults, the abusive language, promotion of under qualified people based on race, poor working condition, lack of equipments, with the proofs and evidences of 25 years of the emails my dad had written to officer. While leaving the American said god knows how u work here. I think they work for their families and for their children.

Anonymous said...

I am an Indian female HR Manager wokring in Dubai for last 7 years. I have faced a lot of racial discrimation less from the locals but more from the expat arabs and even my own county people. I mean to say that it does'nt hurt as much when the arabs discriminate but it really hurts when our own country men shock you by discriminating because I am an Indian muslim. Now adays I belive that 70%of the Indian population in the U.A.E. are Hindus from India and again 90% of these Indian are south Indian who are very possessive about their community and they pull only their own community when they are in a position where they are authorized to make the choice. I hope I was a Keralite sometimes when I go for an Interview. They can kill you with their diplomacy.