The typical native informers, born and raised in places such
as Iran, Lebanon, Somalia, and Pakistan, move to Europe and/
or the United States for their higher education. They may come
from modest or opulent backgrounds; their financial means may be
either inherited, the result of advantageous marriage, or payment
for services to their American employers. They rarely hold a
stable job with professional accountability, remaining rather on
the professional margins of the society whose interests they serve.
Whether or not they have made a career in their native land, they
have always felt alienated from it, but they are no more at home in
the country they have adopted just because it is where they can sell
their services best. Their image of the adopted country, however, is
very much white-identified; they are thus angry and baffled to find
many other brown immigrants like themselves, rude compatriots
who watch them closely and occasionally even have the audacity
to expose them.
This character type has been pinpointed before, notably in Harriet
Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom and Malcolm X’s House Negro. There
is, of course, a fundamental difference between the contemporary
version, who is more brownish than black, and their antecedents
from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Uncle Tom has evolved
into Auntie Azar and Uncle Fouad, well-educated and sophisticated
enough to disguise their obsequiousness toward their white employers and audiences.
Most important, they can feign authority while telling their
conquerors not what they need to know but what they want to
hear. (In return, American and European liberals call them “voices
of dissent”.) Faced with the Islamophobic conditions of their new
homes, they have learned the art of simultaneously acknowledging
and denying their Muslim origins. They speak English with an
accent that confirms their authenticity to their white interlocutors.
The recent incidents of urban terrorism have been so good for
their business that they have had to hire PR firms (such as Benador
Associates) to negotiate their speaking fees and manage their media
Edward Said, Between Worlds: a memoir
Great commentary on how academics, scholars, etc. that write/research about certain ethnicity or community of people often treat them as such, a study, a research topic, a “a peculiar creature” as Said points out, people that need help with gaining a voice, someone who needs assistance. This kind of narcissistic mentality where the savior complex of these people is in full force is not only toxic and demeaning to people they “study” but it’s disrespectful the issue at hand, because at the end of the day what might be a paper topic, a book that needs to be published, an article for these so called scholars is a real ongoing issue for people they study. Writing, studying, researching certain issues, people, and communities does not automatically excuse you from being considered racist unless you actively work against that racism already in place.