I am an Egyptian. I am an American. I have lived on both sides of the world, and am aware of the differences. In the States I’m treated like an Arab who doesn’t understand the American culture. In
The American students at the Bootcamp have been treated differently on this side of the world. The color of their skin and language they speak makes them stand out from others. As a result, there are different expectations and sometimes different rules. This, in my view, doesn’t imply “arrogance” or an indication that “flash (ing) your white skin” will get you what you want, as Stephen Dockery put in his blog entry American Express.
I can understand Dockery’s point. However, the situation at the hotel that he and the other non-Egyptians were staying in has been misunderstood. They were housed at the Cosmopolitan Hotel located in downtown
This presented a problem for the Egyptian students. We had each been paired up with an American student to work on a project. The day was packed with lectures and interviews and, at times, the most convenient place to work was at the hotel. In the beginning we went up without security noticing. When they did notice, they stopped me, and explained the policy. I was told anyone who was not registered with the hotel could not go up to the rooms. I spoke to security and the concierge and explained the situation. After a ten minute discussion, I was given permission to come and go from the hotel, as long as they had a photocopy of my identification. I happened to have my American passport with me. They took a copy, and I was registered, thereby able to come and go as I needed to.
I didn’t flash anything, blue or white. I merely talked to the people at the front desk, in Arabic. At the end of the day, this is what we are dealing with - people with different rules and ideas than what the Americans might be used to. Sometimes, when it is appropriate, we may be able to change someone’s mind. At the Cosmopolitan, it was appropriate.
The American students may argue that, beyond the incident at the hotel, the color of their skin got them preferential treatment. I agree. You are an American, and a guest in the
We see this in
For this and other reasons, political and economic, foreign visitors are not treated the same as other students. I can understand that it is frustrating to come here and want to assimilate with the culture to learn as much as possible, and not be able to. Yet I ask Dockery, if you went to