Qatar is home to people from dozens of countries across the world, and hundreds of different languages are spoken here.
Because Doha is a small community, sometimes residents think they know more about one another than they actually do. To explore some of the misconceptions we hold about each other, Doha News recently asked residents on the Corniche about their experiences.
The hope is to open up a (productive) conversation about stereotypes, so that we can all become more aware of whether we’re typecasting – and work to overcome our preconceived notions.
We aimed to get a wide sample of responses, though some nationalities were shyer than others to participate.
What stereotypes do people hold about your country?
This report was inspired by a discussion about stereotypes produced by Northwestern University in Qatar journalism students.
The thing about stereotypes is there is usually an element of truth in them
Lies often have an element of truth to them. Or, as Alfred Lord Tennyson put it, “A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies.
Is it fair to assume someone isn’t good at something because of her / his gender, nationality, age, etc.?
Certainly not, except probably age. It is fair to assume all 80 year olds are not good at running the 100 m in less than 10 seconds…..
For stereotypes I was thinking more of cultural traits, such as the Indian head wobble. Not all indian men wobble their heads but a lot do
I don’t think there is much call for sprinters in Qatar, but there is a great need for expertise and experience. I find it amazing that there are still people who think that 60 is old. I have professional friends who are in their 60’s and 70’s, starting new businesses, running large organisations. They may not manage a 4 minute mile but can give most 30 something’s a run for their money. Get with the real world Qatar.
The first line of this article reads ‘Qatar is home to people from dozens of countries..’
Except it isn’t, is it? It’s home to the Qatari people, and no-one else. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I actually like Qatar and it’s people, and admire the way they’re so protective of their culture and their country as a whole.
That said, Qatar will never be ‘home’ to anyone but native Qatari’s until the laws governing property ownership and permanent residency are relaxed. And until that happens, sadly, the main stereotypes you’ll find in Qatar will be polarised around ‘locals’ and ‘expats’.
I have many non-Qatari friends who refer to Qatar as home. Whether or not you yourself feel this way does not change the way they feel, and it certainly does not make them wrong.
I do understand what you mean, and I do agree.
However, a common complaint made by Qatari’s is that Expat’s are only here for the money. The sad truth is though, that’s all Qatar allows us. How can people contribute anything to Qatari society unless they’re allowed to be a part of it?
Yes, many “non-Qatari” friends do refer to Qatar as home, but its’s a temporary home, when their contract expires or RP is cancelled, they go back to their permanent home.
Or until they turn 60,then bye-bye
Qatar is my home- my family is here, we have pets, we make our home personal, we develop our garden. Home is where the heart is. However, we have to make plans elsewhere because we know that some day we will be told to go, reghardless
I don’t agree with the residency and property factors mentioned by Mr..James because I honestly don’t believe that the vast majority of expats, even those who have been here a long time, truly regard these issues as important – I’ve yet to meet any expat who confesses to being here for any other reason than to earn money before returning to normality. What really defines the Qatari is the Khafala, which is the legal instrument introduced by the state to facilitate the exploitation (and suffering) of the expat community, and given that we hear not a single word from any Qatari about abolishing it (please don’t mention the proposed non-changes) it is little wonder that the Qatari have the unwelcome (assuming they’re bothered which I’m not sure they are) stereotype that the expats give them.
I agree to a certain extent: I think you’re right in the sense that western expats probably wouldn’t choose to live here permanently, but I do think that expats from less developed countries would consider favourably a permanent, stable financial future in Qatar, as opposed to a lifetime of economic hardship in their native country. Maybe 🙂
I was born in this country, but I am an expat. I have been back “home” once in the past 12 years.
Clearly, I am not here to earn money.
What does that make me ?
Your parents took this decision for you, in the full knowledge that this would be your predicament?
That’s a bit presumptuous, no? Perhaps they were not able to leave Qatar for the birth? It’s not like everyone can.
Possibly presumptuous. However, any presumption is based a very common predicament for many of those born to expat workers within the ME.
Perhaps JustMe could correct me, if required?
Stereotypes are one thing, and yes, they are frustrating. What’s worse is systematic racism in this country -that one group of person is expected to be ok with a certain amount of money, or another group of people should only be offered a certain kind of job, or that women from country x, y, c are inherently easier than others and deserve harassment. And yes, everyone is guilty of participating in it, expats and locals alike.
When you interview Qataris and ask the same question, now that would be interesting.
My understanding is that several people dressed in national attire declined to be interviewed – but I imagine you just have to read some of the comments on DN stories to see what kind of (often hurtful) stereotypes are out there about Qataris.
declined to be interviewed..to arrogant…don’t care…
That’s the sad part Shabina. The one sided perspective just continues to perpetuate the existing stereotypes out there………….
One guy say he has “English” citizenship. Jeeeez.
What’s wrong with having citizenship of a fictious country?
whether it’s colour, race, nationality or class, Discrimination is a fact of life. Sadly we don’t want it.
Two months ago, i wrote this on Dohanews .”Reading many comments day in day out on Dohanews shows Qatar is completely base on nationality and generalization of people Qataris included. I notice unfortunately, majority not all Western expats generalize Qataris when they comment, majority of Qataris not all generalize everybody, Filipinos not all generalize Indians/Pakistani/Nepalis etc, Majority don’t even want to see the black Africans. its goes on and on from one nationality to another. some people even respect or not to respect base on your religion. Here, people are judge directly without any form of direct conversation with the person based on nationality, car and many times colour. Until people are judge base on their personality and behavior things will not change for the better. This is my personal experience since June 2011 in Doha. In conclusion, generally in spite of all these which is not peculiar to Qatar, is not a bad place to live.
Stereotypes exist all over the World and they are not only specific to Qatar but because we have so many Nationalities here, coming from different cultures that’s why they develop here stronger. Many would agree that there are some things that are true to each stereotype. There are probably some people who fit whatever stereotype you can think of, (e.g., blond women who are not so smart, Asians that are very smart). The problem lies with how stereotypes over generalize about an entire group and blind us to those characteristics in others and other characteristics in the stereotyped groups. Stereotypes are defined for years by sociologists like Walter Lipmann:
“The systems of stereotypes may be the core of our personal tradition, the defenses of our position in society. They are an ordered more or less consistent picture of the world, to which our habits, our tastes, our capacities, our comforts and our hopes have adjusted themselves. They may not be a complete picture of the world, but they are a picture of a possible world to which we are adapted. In that world, people and things have their well-known places, and do certain expected things. We feel at home there. We fit in. We are members.”
So Qatar is not any different then any other place and people on this forum always tend to show as if Qatar is some “special case” of everything wrong..well it’s nit but it’s a small place where you notice more, and things are changing faster. Plus I personally think people have too much time here to complain! Or Am I stereotyping?!
I think it would have been better if they’d introduced some Qataris in this…seeing as they’re probably the most stereotyped and least known of all the communities….and it just so happens to be their country, which might be a little important.
No sub-Saharan Africans?