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Tracy Sadek
English 115 Honors
Professor Lawson
Identity Essay Rough Draft
25 September 2016
Word Count: 1252
Youre What? Lesbian? No, Im Lebanese
Explosions, hijabs, turbans, and thick eyebrows; these things are often the first thing that
comes to a persons mind when he or she thinks of Middle Eastern people. The American society
creates stereotypes of ethnic cultures from past events and how the general majority of people
view a certain group of people. These stereotypes are typically perceived in a negative way. The
Arab community is especially affected by this considering all the many terrorist attacks that have
occurred in the United States. From the way that these stereotypes have been used against me in
my life, it is very difficult for me to believe that All men are created equal just as it states in
the Declaration of Independence (US 1776). I identify myself as a Lebanese American and I am
not ashamed of it either. However, I am ashamed by the fact that I was and still am being insulted
and judged solely because I am Lebanese. Racial stereotypes have negatively affected and
oppressed people with Arabic speaking backgrounds.
Six years ago, when I had just entered middle school, my social life changed
dramatically. I was not too familiar with anyone so I had to attempt to make friends. The other
children at school would always ask me what my ethnicity was. I would nonchalantly say that I
am Lebanese. Confusion would continuously flood the area. It was when one seventh grader
misinterpreted Lebanese as lesbian. It was not long before I was publicly shamed in front of an

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entire group of miniature seventh graders. I felt extremely uncomfortable being thought of as
lesbian so, from then on, I just told my classmates that I speak Arabic. I thought that this method
would end the embarrassment and humiliation, but I was wrong. When the other seventh graders
heard me use the term Arabic, they automatically associated me with terrorists. They would tell
me to not approach them because I might blow them up. Now, do not think that I never made
friends, I did, but I felt excluded from my classmates. My definition of a terrorist is a person who
uses violence and threats to intimidate and scare people. From my memory, I never practiced or
acted upon anything even close to that. Any person who matches this definition can be classified
as a terrorist. Apparently, I was considered a terrorist because an Arab is the first ethnicity to
come to a persons mind when he or she hears that word. Ethnic stereotypes negatively impact
the lives of many minorities by connecting inhumane acts by certain groups to the entire race of
that group and comprehending it as true. The negative impacts of stereotypes did not end here;
they became more visible during my teenage years in high school.
During the summer of my Junior year in high school, I thought it would be a wise idea to
get a job so I could save up money for Senior activities and any college funds. I started off in the
most obvious place to look for a job, at the mall. I searched through the Glendale Galleria mall,
trying to spot any help wanted or now hiring signs. Next thing I know, I stop next to the
childrens play area and notice a chocolate shop called The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
with a help wanted sign. My hyper self quickly walked over and filled out an application. The
employee at the register told me that I would get a call the next day to come in for an interview.
The following day, I received a call to come in that afternoon for an interview. I wore a business
casual outfit, straightened my hair, and covered my unflattering blemishes with make-up. I
walked into the chocolate shop and met the manager. He was small in height, wearing a polo

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shirt with jeans, and had a worn out expression plastered on his face. He welcomed me into his
crammed office, about the size of a walk in closet, where there was only one chair and a desk. He
sat down as I remained standing, and the interview began. Everything was going well, he would
ask questions and I would always give detailed answers, until he asked me about my
background. I told him that I am Middle Eastern, specifically Lebanese, and that I speak Arabic.
It was at that moment when the calm atmosphere turned into great tension. The manager began to
go on and on about disheartening world affairs and specific events which involved groups of
terrorists who happened to be Middle Eastern. The moment when he blurted, Im sure youre
not all like that made me want to explode from internal rage. At the end of the interview, the
manager said that he would let me know whether I got the job or not. I never received a call. It is
incredibly hurtful to be connected to a horrific event caused by a person or a group of people
who is or who are of the same ethnic background. Having this mindset makes it difficult to get
jobs in the workforce solely because of a persons background. People say that racism in job
environments is dead. However, I tend to agree with a famous saying from the musical Avenue
Q, that everyone is a little bit racist (Lopez 2003).
It hurts to say, but stereotypes are found pretty much anywhere, even in Disney movies.
Concerning Middle Eastern people, we can obviously turn and look at Aladdin. While watching
Aladdin, people can see people riding camels, practically every girl in a belly dancer outfit, and
Aladdin portrayed as a poor boy who steals food and breaks the law. Now dont get me wrong, I
love the movie as much as any other Disney fan, but through movies like Aladdin, people can
notice stereotypes being incorporated into them. I have visited Lebanon in the past and girls do
not wear belly dancer outfits as their normal day-to-day outfits. I do not know anything about
belly dancing and don't have a care in the world for it. So much controversy can come even from

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a simple lighthearted Disney movie. The stereotypes portrayed in media have changed the
mindset of many Americans. When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, a great amount of
people expected the bombers to be dark-skinned Arabs. When the public found out that the
bombers were white, confusion and shock struck the American society. Apparently its abnormal
that they were not Arabs. Not all terrorists are Muslim, or any other Arabic speaking race. Media
has turned people to believe otherwise. People need to see that anyone can be a terrorist.
Ultimately, stereotypes stay viewed as funny and humorous, but when they begin to affect
your own life, they can become a burden. Although, my ethnic background has many negative
stereotypes, I would not want to change my identity. Being able to face stereotypes in ones life
and being able to overcome them is the most inspiring thing. The people who may read this even
in the 22nd century could still be facing similar problems. There will never be a perfect world
where we are all equal. There will just be a world with imperfections that we must live with and
accept. As I have grown up in life I have come to still remember the words from Animal Farm,
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others (Orwell 112).

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Works Cited
Lopez, Robert, Jeff Marx, Jeff Whitty, Jennifer Barnhart, Natalie Belcon Venetia., Stephanie
D'Abruzzo, Jordan Gelber, Ann Harada, Rick Lyon, John Tartaglia, and Gary Adler.
Avenue Q the Musical: Original Broadway Cast Recording. RCA Victor, 2003. CD.
Orwell, George. Animal Farm (Signet Classics). New York: Signet Classics, 2004. 112. Print.