The Arabs and the Latinos Introduction This paper is an in depth cross cultural analysis between two races and cultures of people that share the bounty of nature and planet earth. As we look at the different groups of people on this planet, we would be surprised to find out sets of commonalities and differences. These factors give us the idea that each group of people must have come from an ethnic orientation before human civilization crept in. It is truly interesting to delve on a study such as this for it led us closer to our nature as human beings and our origin as a people.
The goal of this paper is to illustrate the commonalities and differences between the Arabs and Latinos so that we can draw a positive line whereby both groups of people could work together for the good of humanity in general and their country in particular. This paper is important especially for those who are seeking peace in their land, for those who are thinking of doing business with either side, and for those who are thinking of visiting the place for vacation or job related purposes. It does not claim full authority in describing the cultural differences and commonalities between these groups of people.
However, the simple idea it may share would surely contribute to whatever orientation we may have about them. Included in the topic of discussion are the nature of the Arabs and the Latinos, their commonalities, their differences in the manner they transact business and social relationship. A. The Arabs The Arabs are the people believed to be living in North America and the Middle East, from Western Morocco to Oman, from Turkey in the North to Yemen, and Sudan in the South. These people inhabit an area of 10 million km. There are about 4 million Arabs living in Europe and 2 millions in the
Americas according to the 2008 report of the United Nation Development Project. The Arabic heartland is Hijaz, now western Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Around the year 610 CE, the birth year of Islam, this was a trade area along caravan routes, where the town of Mecca was one of the central towns. People came to Hijaz from Africa, from Mesopotamia, from Phoenicia, and from Egypt. The little evidence we have suggests that the Arabs in this era were not a pure race because intermarriage and the freedom of Arab women to choose their own bed mates created a diverse society.
Arab identity would spread with the advances of Islam. Although Arabs originating from the Arab heartland at some time immigrated into all the new territories which today have a population defined as “Arabs,” these territories were already peopled by a population far larger than the immigrants. For a number of reasons, however, Arab lifestyles, Arab identity and Arabic language would come to replace the original lifestyles, identities and languages. Ethnically, Arabs are mostly dark haired with brown eyes, and medium light skin.
But there are Arabs that are black, and Arabs that are quite blond. These differences are regional, and a result of the process described above. Moreover, the number of ethnically pure Arabs might constitute only a single digit percentage. More than 85% of all Arabs are Sunni Muslims, 10% are Shi’i Muslims found in Yemen, Iraq, Gulf coast, while less than 5% Christians inhabit a portion of land in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, and Israel. An estimated 55% live in urban areas, while 45% live in rural areas.
Today, less than 1% live as nomads, and, of these, many are nomads only in the dry season. Arabs work hard to bring Arab unity. They attempted to bring out the United Arab Republic consisting of Egypt, Syria, and Yemen but in this union Egypt was too dominant and the two other countries felt they had to leave. At present, Arab unity on the level of political leaders has lost much of its credibility. The dream of uniting independent countries is no longer an issue, since the leaders would not agree who would give up his position as president or king.
There is also a problem on where the capital should lie. However, in the hearts of many Arabs, Arab unity is a reality, often manifested in matters concerning political or religious differences between Arab countries and Western countries. On the other hand, an important dividing force today is the anger many feel concerning the differences between Arabs living in poor countries compared to those living in rich oil countries of the Gulf. B. The Latinos The Latinos are the people originated from Latin America.
Latin America refers only to those territories in the Americas where the Spanish or Portuguese languages prevail such as Mexico, most of Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Therefore, it can be said that Latin America is those parts of the Americas that were once part of the Spanish and Portuguese empire. The United States has also shaped the cultures of the Latinos, especially those of Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico, which is a United States territory.
In addition, the United States held a territory in a parcel of land in Panama over the 20-mile-long Panama Canal from 1903 which at that time the canal opened to transoceanic freight traffic in 1914 to 1979 before the U. S. government agreed to give the territory back to Panama. Latin America achieved its independence by 1825. However, Europe and the United States continued to play major roles. The independence of Latinos countries rendered many of the older colonial power structures of no use and helped create a new, self-consciously “Latin American” ruling class and intelligentsia.
It should be noted, however, that during the first century after independence, elites looked towards European, Catholic models like France for a new Latino culture, and even if they at times avoided Spanish and Portuguese models, they did not seek input from the indigenous peoples. In many cases this restructuring of economic and political realities resulted in a sizable gap between rich and poor, with landed elites controlling the vast majority of land and resources. In Brazil in 1910, for instance, 85% of the land belonged to 1% of the population.
Gold mining and fruit growing, in particular, were monopolized by these wealthy landowners. These ‘Great Owners’ totally controlled the local activity and furthermore were the principal employers and the main source of revenue. This led to a society of peasants with little connection to larger political realities that remained engaged to farming and mining magnates. C. Comparisons between the Arabs and the Latinos The Latinos and the Arabs are two groups of races having their own ancestral roots and origins.
The term Latinos specifically refers to “Spanish culture or origin,” although some definitions may include them or Brazilians in general. Furthermore, Latino origin is, like race, a matter of self-identification. The term Arabs, according to Habib Hassan Touma, who defines an Arab “in the modern sense of the word”, as “one who is a national of an Arab state, has command of the Arabic language, and possesses a fundamental knowledge of Arab tradition, that is, of the manners, customs, and political and social systems of the culture” (Jankowski, 1995, 244 – 245).
Both groups posses’ cultural pride and maintain the traditions of their race in many aspects of life. One of which is the manner they handle negotiations. The commonalities between Arabs and Latinos It is very difficult to simply point out words and gestures then conclude immediately that both groups have commonality. In many ways, the commonality between these people is present on the way they honor and respect their cultural heritage. Aside from experiencing racial discriminations in the United States of America, some Latinos and Arabs still seek greener pasture in the land of stripes and banner.
Young generations of Latinos and Arabs are dreaming to attend US based universities and colleges and gain advanced higher learning. The more liberal Latinos and Arabs have already imbibed western manners in the way they clothed themselves and inter-act with people around them. Generally, Latinos and Arabs remain peace loving people always trying to resolve conflicts in amicable settlements or negotiations. Both believe in the power of words to ease out differences and bridge communication gaps. Spanish and Arabic as the major spoken languages are believed to have soothing effect and can tame bursting emotion within a person.
They believe that their languages are often enough to settle disputes not through the use of war weapons but by the power of counter-acting arguments as they presented them for discussion or debate. However, it was not perfectly observed as how it was expected. Modernization and cultural influences brought to their shores by other race through inter marriages and immigrations somehow affected the long cherished hope of the power of their language. Both groups are now preparing for more vigilant stance in order to defend their race and country.
The Latinos and the Arabs are both religious people. Latinos are predominantly Catholics and espousing liberation theology. Liberation theology in Latin America is a religious practice that assails the rights of the poor and the weak against the power of wealthy people and greedy politicians. This practice rise and defends the plight of the marginalized in the society. The Arabs have the same practice to look after the needs of the poor and the weak in their society. Both races are imbued with the religious conviction that God created all human beings equal.
Finally, both groups approached the negotiation table to resolve problems that pertain to business, management, contracts, and other legal matters. The process of negotiation is essential to proclaim distributive justice that pertains to giving each one what they deserve. D. The differences between the two cultures 1. Cultural and sub-cultural differences ? Eye Contact The Arabs look directly to the eye as they talk to their counter part. They seek the sincerity of the one whom is talking. Arabs are more passionate when it comes to eye to eye contact because they believe that the eye is the window of the soul.
Latinos are different. They searched the truth not looking directly to the eye but in the opening of the mouth and the movements of the lips of the one speaking ? Personal Space & Touch The Arabs love to engage in conversation and there is no level of spaces between people when it comes to a dialogue. Everybody is treated gladly on their intimate zone. The Latinos have circle of friends, relatives, and associates. Only the very close individuals are invited to enter into their inner circle. All the rest remain outside their comfort zone ? Time, information, and power Arabs are not time conscious.
They believe that humans should not be slave of time. Latinos are time conscious. The use the word “Pronto” which means “immediately” as opposed to the Arabs “slowly” are one main difference that often times caused impatient reactions. Latinos are information centered while the Arabs depends on God’s time ( insha-allah) ? Masculinity versus femininity Latinos are more tolerable with women and give those equal rights and benefits, responsibilities, independence, and self-identity. The Arabs remain traditional and conservative in their treatment with woman. Arabs are predominantly male centered than women.
Women are well protected and considered jewels in the Arab context. ? The Basis of the Relationship For the Latinos, the basis of relationship is always the feelings of the heart. They are more passionate in the negotiation table and take everything seriously. The Arabs are more on external manifestations and very selfdom that they express their feelings. 2. Style in business transactions ? The Latinos are pluralistic or collectivist in their business transaction style. They are fond of using the third person plural “we”, whereas the Arabs are individualistic and usually rise on their own to efend themselves. It is often observed that when an Arab sit on the negotiation table he brings alone no one expect himself while a Latino will have his lawyers and supporters. ? Due to their strong faith in God, the Latinos have a high score in uncertainty avoidance. They are proponents of risk management in fact; most of their investments are in casinos and stock markets. The Arabs are quiet different. The Arab countries are low in Hertzberg cultural differences uncertainty avoidance. This is somewhat confusing but one Saudi once said, “There is no need for risk if Allah is your God”. One to one negotiation is not applicable for the Latinos. They negotiate due to unfair labor practices, increase of salaries and benefits, safety in the workplace, and securities of tenure. All of which are done in groups and collective bargaining. For the Arabs, group negotiation is troublesome because everybody wants to take the stand and speak for the entire congregation. Most Arabs favored a one on one negotiation because they believe it is fast, efficient, and clearer. 3. Etiquette ? Greetings for the Latinos are done by shaking hands for men and kissing (beso-beso) for women.
Their way of greetings is a simple touching and smiling sometimes by waving their hands. Latinos are very careful in their manner of introducing a person to another person. The younger person, who is to be introduced to the older one, must make the first move and the older person respond either by bowing his head or shaking hands as a sign of acceptance. The Arabs have different manner of greetings and introducing one Arab to another. The kissing and rubbing of the nose are male gestures extended to people whom they affinity or close ties. No Arabs are allowed to kiss or shake hand with a woman in public places.
It is not allowed for an Arab woman to show her face or hair in public places. All Muslim women should wear ‘abaya” and head scarf whenever they are outside their houses or in public places where men and women inter-act. ? When it comes to smiling and laughing, the Arabs are subdued. The will smile occasionally and laugh only on extreme funny situation. But all throughout the negotiation proper, Arab face remain formal and strong. The Latinos have a different way of expressing themselves, they smile and laugh to every funny situations, words, and actions. Latinos believe that laughter is the best medicine. The Latinos drinks liquor and wine as long as they want but the Arabs have control and discipline in drinking. Arabs know when to stop so that they can carry themselves. In eating, the Arabs are eaters and consume more than other group of people. Most Arabs prefer to handle negotiation while eating which most Latinos would not consider ethical. Latinos believe that eating is a formal affair and everybody should show respect to others during meal time. E. References: Dawisha, Adeed. Arab Nationalism in the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press. 2003, p. 99
Francis Mading Deng, (1995) War of Visions: Conflict of Identities in the Sudan , rookings Institution Press, p. 405, via Google Books (accessed 5/1/2009) Jankowski, James. (1995) “Egypt and Early Arab Nationalism” in Rashid Kakhlidi, ed. , Origins of Arab Nationalism, pp. 244–45 Kjeilen, Tore (2009) “Arabs”, Encyclopedia of the Orient, UAE, Looklex Ltd. Pp. 23 – 24 Rangel, Carlos (1977). The Latin Americans: Their Love-Hate Relationship with the United States. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. pp. 3-5. Skidmore, Thomas E. ; Peter H. Smith (2005). Modern Latin America (6 ed. ). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-10