Friday, March 14, 2014

Attack of the Muslim Storm!

Over the years, I've read more than one article about these certain dust storms that some people call haboobs but some other people refuse to call haboobs because the people in this second group are racists.

phoenix haboob image from flickr user squeaks2569, under a creative commons license
I could maybe understand someone protesting on grounds that haboob is simply a new coinage, at least to most Americans, and changing the term for these sorts of rolling dust monsters seems unnecessary. But this is usually not the case. Don Yonts, quoted in the 2011 New York Times article "'Haboob' Stirs Critics in Arizona," represented the more typical dissenting opinion when he opined, "I am insulted that local TV news crews are now calling this kind of storm a haboob. … How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?" Simply put, it's not just that haboob is a new word, it's also that it's a word from "over there." These are the people this post is concerned with — the ones who feel that Arabic words are objectionable just by virtue of being Arabic words.

I spotted a new haboob outrage story on a Gawker bloglette this morning, and it motivated me to make a list of all the more common words that the anti-haboob crowd should be protesting if they indeed dislike words that come from Arabic. Even the non-racists among us may be surprised to learn how many commonplace things — even downright American things — get their names from Arabic. (That is, no, it's not just assassin, hare, hookah and hummus.)

Racists, say goodbye to the following words:
In summary, OH NO THE ARABS HAVE ALREADY INVADED US! THEY HAVE BEEN SECRETLY ADDING TO OUR LANGUAGE FOR CENTURIES AND NO ONE SAW IT COMING!!!

Also, not the point but still worth mentioning, haboob is a hilarious-sounding word in English, and we are richer for having it. Ha and boob in one word. Come on, people.

1 comment:

  1. "Sugar" comes from Arabic. Which means that sugar-booger does as well.

    ReplyDelete