Bar News - February 18, 2011
Morning Mail: Member Questions Stereotypes
By: Kathleen D. Fletcher
It was with great interest that I read "Client Development in Tough Times: A New Approach" in last month’s Bar News. I usually find first-person accounts of other countries very interesting. Unfortunately, Attorney McDaniel’s piece was marred by his description of the traditional Arab headwear as the "white towel and the black fan-belt things around the head." Even after enlightening us as to the many practical reasons why traditional Arab dress is appropriate for Middle Eastern climates, McDaniel continued to refer to these clothes as "dresses" and "hand towels."
Attorney McDaniel could have used his piece as a nice opportunity to teach us what these items are actually called. Instead, he reinforces two sets of stereotypes. The first is that Arabs (even as we try to win them as clients) are worthy of ridicule for wearing "towels" on their heads, and the second, that Americans are only interested in making "the deal," and remain disrespectfully ignorant of others’ traditions.
Kathleen D. Fletcher