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Cairo CosmopolitanPolitics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Globalized Middle East$
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Diane Singerman and Paul Amar

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9789774162893

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774162893.001.0001

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Place, Class, and Race in the Barabra Café

Place, Class, and Race in the Barabra Café

Nubians in Egyptian Media

(p.399) 14 Place, Class, and Race in the Barabra Café
Cairo Cosmopolitan

Elizabeth A. Smith

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter examines several racialized representations of Nubians in media and museums in order to suggest a way to understand such debates on their own terms without stopping at assertions for or against the existence of racism. Dominant discourses about national unity appearing daily in the semiofficial press assert that Egypt does not “have” an issue with racism, ethnicities, or minorities in such terms, formulated in reference to a global discourses about race, ethnicity, and minorities and democratic ideals of equality among citizens. The chapter considers here the complexities and historical development of how such racialist discourses—based on the social-historical association between phenotype, language, and culture—do operate in convergence with class and gender. To be clear, color in Egypt does not form the basis for collective identities such as “black” or “white,” or any other color. More significant are class, most importantly, region, religion, and family.

Keywords:   Nubians, national unity, racism, ethnicity, minorities, class, gender, Egypt

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