A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

How, em, politically correct


This is a print ad the guys over at Room 116 found in a magazine in the Dominican Republic.
I think its amusing, on many different levels.




Road Rage




    But, like, I do. Lol

    How sad is it that this has been our- arab/muslims- contribution to the world’s Pop culture for this past decade?

  2. Nas

    wheew…for a minute there I thought it was a dead Palestinian baby in his mother’s womb.

    my bad!

  3. It is all relative.
    I heard the use of words like (rag-heads, towel-heads,and wetbacks on national radio shows without any repercussions, yet someone uses the word “faggot” and the whole world goes nuts !!!

  4. I don’t think it’s a question of political correctness as much as of semiotics: the symbols/signals used in popular culture (which inevitably raise the question of majority versus minority, or the dominant versus alternatives). I believe political correctness is more about things that people may find offensive. While I personally don’t find anything offensive here, I recognize how ads like this affect social problems. The ad is also an excellent example of how cultural artifacts are driven by stereotypes and in turn help perpetuate those stereotypes.

    And that is precisely where the problem is, the use of stereotypes: here, the imagery of the turbaned and bearded terrorist. Security forces at American airports and other public places still tend to look out for the generic profile of a terrorist, and yet almost none of the 9/11 hijackers had beards, or wore turbans, or were dressed in ‘Middle-Eastern’ clothing.

    But let’s also return to the question of dominant versus alternative. While this ad may appeal to a majority of consumers, I for one am not so likely to buy this product, because I don’t find the ad funny. There’s nothing funny about a suicide bomber — who indiscriminately kills innocent civilians, and him(/her)self. I would also be curious to know whether relatives/victims of attacks find this funny.

  5. btw Quipe is Dominican for Kibbe which has become a staple of Dominican cuisine.

    Quipe Crudo means Kibbe Nayyeh.

  6. I don’t find it amusing at all,
    this is a serious delicate matter. And if they’ve addressed the illustration to be Bin Laden, then I wouldn’t disagree. But unfortunately, we’re witnessing another forms of sterotyping.

  7. Guwa,

    I don’t think this stereotypical image of Arabs/Muslims is a result of any terror act. This has been their perception of us since forever.

    I think it is a mix of ignorance and hate on both parts. Islam is being hijacked by terrorists, and the rest of us are being apologetic to the point of becoming a sellout.
    And BTW excuse me for failing to find any amusement in this ad.

  8. Anonymous

    Arafat, I agree that suicide bombing is tragic, painful, senseless, and insane to say the least. That’s the absolute reality of suicide bombings. However, that doesn’t mean one should not try to look for humor even in worst aspects of our humanity. Not tasteless humor but wity humor.

    Some times humor helps accentuate the absurdity present in reality. I think this ad does a good job of that.

    To those who says this is stereotyping Arabs, please take a closer look at the guy in the picture. He may look and/or dress like a regular Arab male but there is one key that differentiates the guy in picture – the dynamite belt wrapped around his waist.

    That makes him a terrorist, agreed an Arab terrorist but a terrorist nonetheless. I see this pic as a gag on terrorists not on Arab males.

    How many normal Arab males do you see walking around with bomb belts? None! So why do you think this guy represents them?

    If the guy in the picture didn’t have bomb belt on him, then I would’ve found this ad to be racist and tasteless because then it would’ve implied any Arab male is menace to your stomach and you should use Pepto Bismol. Instead the way I interpret this ad is that any terrorist is menace to your stomach, use Pepto Bismol.


  9. Anonymous

    Roba, you mentioned in your post that you found this “amusing on many different levels.” Would you be kind to elaborate?

    I am curious to know you liked/disliked about this pic.



  10. Raj,
    I think the reference to Lebanese food is quite enough to hint it’s by some means related to Arabs.


  11. Raj, you can ask how many Arab males walking around with bomb belts, but just because you (or I, for that matter) haven’t seen any doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. The point is, rather, how many non-Arab terrorists have you heard of in the past 5 years? Of course there are non-Arab terrorists, but the statistics aren’t in your favor. As Arabian Anon mentioned, “Islam [and Arab culturalism] is being hijacked by terrorists”; rather than becoming enfuriated by ads and propaganda that paints Arabs in a negative (terroristic) light, perhaps more attention should be focused on those who are internally and constantly giving Arabs a bad name?

  12. Raj, I understand the distinction you are making between portrayals of the average Arab male and the terrorist. I didn’t say that the ad is just stereotyping Arabs. The ad is loaded with stereotypes on multiple levels. What is the problem with stereotypes? They over-generalize. In matters of terrorism and security, you cannot afford to generalize.

    This ad, for example, shows how the popular mind associates certain markers/signals with the terrorist (i.e. turban, beard, white garbs). It’s a tendency to see the generic type/profile of terrorists. Why is that problematic? Because there’s the danger that the real terrorists will slip your attention. And that’s why I mentioned the 9/11 hijackers — who weren’t dressed or looked anything like Bin Laden.

    The other aspect of this problem is racial profiling (In this respect I’m mainly speaking as someone who lives in the US). Just about 2 months ago I was in NYC, and I saw a Sikh taxi driver being pulled over in the middle of Times Square by about a dozen cops. I was really amazed and stood by to watch what was happening. There were at least 3 to 4 police cars surrounding the taxi, and as I said, about a dozen cops. They asked the passenger to leave, while they brought out the taxi driver and did whatever they did. I had to leave at this point, but I kept wondering what could’ve happened. Was this a simple case of traffic violation? But then why a dozen cops? Clearly, the external markers (beard/turban) had some significance. But this guy wasn’t even remotely Muslim! He was Sikh. Did the cops know that? Maybe some of them did, but most likely not. Did the hundreds of people who flock the streets of Times Square know? Most likely not. They watched with curiosity, registering in their mind how the physical appearence of this guy matched the generic profile of the likes of Muslim terrorist.

    We need to move beyond these archaic tribalistic tendencies such as generalizing/profiling the different other. In the old days, it was easy to identify people in terms of their clothing, language, and other superficial cultural traits. Fortunately or unfortunately, that’s no longer possible in a highly globalized world marked by a significant degree of cultural cross-pollination.

  13. 3aBBaS

    Hey Guys..ba3ed eznek Ruba.. can you check this link:


  14. Uchuck the Tuchuck

    In response to Raj’s comment at 4:54:

    I’m a white guy from Alabama. A stereotypical big dumb farm boy. Back in the 1990s, while I was in college at Auburn, I got pulled over by three police cars (a total of five cops), and was cuffed and searched before they even told me what it was all about. What had I done? I was supposed to meet a friend of mine over at his house and had sat in his driveway on a motorcycle for 20 or 30 minutes while I waited on him to get home. I didn’t know it, but while I sat there some of his neighbors called the police to report a suspicious-looking, sinster biker hanging around and obviously up to no good. When he didn’t show, I cranked up and took off, only to get pulled over by fully 40% of the Auburn Police Department’s day shift.

    Like you, I don’t know why the Sikh cabbie got pinched, but it is not an uncommon police tactic to use an overwhelming presence when that presence is available. Unlike you, I wasn’t there and didn’t see how the police treated the cabbie, so I can’t say “you’re just getting excited over nothing” with this incident. But it is possible that the NYPD had the assets available and vectored as many units as possible. They may have just been trying to prevent a person in a car from trying to run (a police pursuit in New York seems to me to be a sack of lawsuits waiting to happen). Then again, they could have been over-reacting because the guy was wearing a turban.

  15. Uchuck the Tuchuck

    Whoops! I’m sorry, I attributed the comment to which I responded to Raj, when it was in fact posted by Arafat. My apologies for not reading closer

  16. I love this, its hilarious. Can you imagine the think tank that put this together

    How did this pass, I am sure they figgured no arabs would see it.

    But oh yea there are a whole bunch of arabs going to Medical school in the Dominican!

  17. Don Cox

    The best jokes are about serious subjects such as death, sex, war or religion. And really, when you think about it, suicide bombers _are_ the most stupid and absurd people around. Naturally stupidity often damages other people.

  18. lol!! what can i say? a pic says a thousand words!!

  19. James M

    I don’t know what Quipe Crudo / Kibbe Nayyeh is, but I’m pretty sure that I don’t want any.

  20. Killer Bee Bop

    Quipe Crudo=dead rare meat
    Suicide bomber=dead rare meat

    is all …


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