Dhofari Gucci just posted about the "Festival of Negroes" in Salalah and it reminded me of a distasteful event from three months ago I had swallowed in disgust, and forgotten about.
Back when I was having my baby, a really nice friend from back home and her BFF came to look after me. As I was busy HAVING the baby, my friend's friend (who is of course my friend now too) was in the waiting room with a bunch of other Omani ladies. She was busy looking after my friend's infant son, when a Dhofari woman came up to her, and demanded she open the window.
My friend's friend doesn't really speak Arabic but she figured this much out.
Her hands already full with the baby and couldn't understand why the woman couldn't open the window herself.
The Dhofari lady was getting awfully flustered and annoyed and kept insisting my kind, visiting guest open it.
My friend just ignored her. It is easy to do when you don't speak fluent Arabic. I do it all the time too.
The Dhofari lady finally gave up and got up to open the window herself, glaring daggers at my girl all the time.
When my friend told MOP about the incident, he instantly got as mad as he was embarrassed on the behalf of decent Omanis everywhere.
See, my friend in the waiting room is of African descent, and the Dhofari lady decided to treat her like a slave. Even if she did mistake our friend for a maid, she wouldn't have been her maid, so she wouldn't have had any right to order her around or speak to her like she was dumb, so this event was just disgusting.
MOP says she likely wouldn't have done so if my friend had been a real Philipino maid.
As disgusting as the 40 rial monthly salary of a real Tanzanian or Ethiopian maid in Oman is to me.
I know slavery has been abolished in Oman, so it is easy for me to forget sometimes, the racism of the Arab world towards skin tone.
I had another friend. She is Asian, married to an Omani from Al Qurum. I remember her telling me about all her husband's female relatives coming to meet the new wife he'd picked up in the West.
When she'd come to the door of her husband's villa to greet them they tossed her their abayas and asked to be taken to "madame" like she were dumb and couldn't understand proper English.
Little did they know the guest of honour they were coming to greet was the maid they'd buried under their overgarments, lol.
I'm sure they didn't make the impression they'd be hoping to make with the lady of the house.