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The Scary White Dishdasha

The Scary White Dishdasha

Kipp’s does think there is an unjustified fear UAE residents have for anyone dressed in a dishdasha. Do you agree?

April 3, 2011 4:03 by

Over the weekend Kipp read a rather unfortunate story regarding an Iranian and a Pakistani who impersonated Dubai officials to steal money from a Chinese employee whom they also sexually assaulted. Although the two have been found and are being tried at the Dubai Courts, the story does highlight a rather troubling and dangerous racial stereotype amongst residents in the UAE.

Kipp’s referring to the stereotype that anyone who wears a dishdasha, A) must be local and B) must be in a position of power that cannot be verified or challenged.

Consider the following comment of one of the visitors who was present when the two men came to the company: “I asked him to show his identity. He did not respond. However, since they were wearing UAE national dress I did not insist and believed him and he pursued searching the company. ”

Is it true that all government officials are locals, maybe yes; but does it follow that all locals are government officials? Certainly not. There is an inbuilt tendency among UAE expats to assume the latter; and these kind of assumptions does lead to an unjustified fear towards anyone dressed in a dishdasha. On the one hand this does mean compromised security for expatriates operating under such assumptions, but alternatively it does also place an unbridgeable divide between locals and expatriates, and consequently any attempts at integration.

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