82. Should I say Arab, Arabic or Arabian?
Arab is a noun for a person, and is used as an adjective, as in "Arab country." Arabic is the name of the language and generally is not used as an adjective. Arabian is an adjective that refers to Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Peninsula, or as in Arabian horse. When ethnicity or nationality are relevant, it is more precise and accurate to specify the country by using Lebanese, Yemeni or whatever is appropriate. We suggest that you hyphenate when using Arab-American as an adjective, as in Arab-American issues, but do not hyphenate when saying that someone is an Arab American.

83. Is Arab American, or American Arab preferred?
Arab American but, again, if you can be more specific, do so.

84. How should I refer to an Arab-American individual?
Preferably by the country that person is from, for example, "of Lebanese heritage," or "of Jordanian descent," but only if ethnicity is relevant. Remember that Arab Americans come from many places, and you should include the relevant perspective. If the story is about an issue that affects Yemenis, for example, don't treat other Arabic perspectives as interchangeable.

85. What if the story is about Arab Americans whose ethnicity is not relevant to the story?
Then there is no need to identify their ethnicity. It is important to include Arab Americans even when the story is about issues unrelated to heritage or culture. Arab Americans are teachers, lawyers, grocers, executives and students. Their views are important to many stories. If journalists confine Arab Americans to stories about Arab issues, other facets of their experience are ignored and the overall portrayal is one-dimensional.

86. What does Mohammedanism mean?
Do not use Mohammedan and its derivatives. Instead, use Islam for the religion, Muslim for a follower of the religion and derivatives of these words.

87. Is it Muslim or Moslem?

88. Who is a sheik?
A sheik can be the leader of a family, a village, a tribe or a mosque. Press accounts popularized the term "oil-rich sheik." This contributed to the misconception that the people who became wealthy from oil were sheiks, and that sheiks had oil money. Neither is true.


Contents :: Overview :: Origins :: Language :: Demographics :: Family :: Customs

Religion :: Politics :: Terminology :: Stereotypes :: Coverage :: Resources :: Credits


Content copyright 2001 Detroit Free Press. All rights reserved.


 Search this site


Home - English Contact Us Discussion Board Guestbook Bint Jbeil E-mail News & Polls Home -  Arabic