A man was turned down by a landlord as a potential tenant in Dubai, United Arab Emirates after he told him he was originally from Pakistan.
My heart sinks when landlords ask this question because I already know I’m not getting the place then pic.twitter.com/PDR15zwEJI
— Abbas Ali (@abbas96ali) July 18, 2020
- He showed a couple of screenshots of messages he had with a potential landlord.
- The person he was speaking to at the time was very welcoming and even asked him his available time for viewing.
- However, after telling the person his preferred time, things began to change. The landlord suddenly asked Ali “where are you from?” The person then added a couple of questions asking the man his name and his move in date.
- “My name is Abbas, moved here recently from Kuwait,” he said in his reply. “Hoping to move in to the room by the end of this month.”
- The landlord once again asked Ali where he was from and told him he was originally from Pakistan. Hours later, he messaged the landlord again to inform him that he is coming in 15 to 20 minutes.
- Surprisingly enough, the landlord said the unit is no longer available for Ali and that is was already rented.
Racist stereotypes, discrimination: Speaking to Bored Panda, Ali said the Black Lives Matter movement that is happening in the United States right now is helping raise awareness “about racial and ethnic profiling and discrimination but maybe even getting closer to taking institutional steps of reform/abolishment towards ending them.”
- “However, the rest of the world has yet to catch up and go through such realizations in each of their own countries and regions, recognizing their own type of institutionalized racism and discrimination,” he said.
- He noted that those who travel in any country in the Middle East might have a different experience with people or any landlord depending on their country of origin.
- “Some of these countries have much more blatant racism and discrimination than others do in this region, but there is a clear hierarchy in all of them,” he said. “In the case of Dubai, generally, I feel like it’s a much less racist society or at least not as openly discriminatory, but I was warned by my colleagues since I first moved here to not tell them I’m Pakistani when looking for apartments and just to pretend I’m from Kuwait instead.”
- Ali believes that racist stereotypes and discrimination exist largely “because of how institutionalized racism is in the governments and societies that certain people feel like it’s the norm.”
- “And even in the case of me simply looking for an apartment using a popular website in Dubai where the site even allows the ad poster to specify a ‘preferred nationality’ for their tenants,” he said, adding that, “in gulf citizen’s own cultures have deep-rooted racism toward their own nationals too, with microaggressions and discrimination towards people with darker skin color and people with mixed families or bloodlines, looking down upon or calling ‘impure’ for nationals who have mixed parents or ancestral links to families in other non-Gulf countries.”
- In the interview, Ali said many ex-pats have already left for their home countries as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
- “They were always considered temporary guests rather than proper working citizens, so the ex-pat populations didn’t really receive much/any support by the government during this economic crisis when they started losing their jobs, and the jobs were the only thing keeping them here.”
People’s reaction: After the post went viral, many people also shared similar incidents where they encountered racism and discrimination while in Dubai and in other parts of the world as well.
Trust me, Dubai is a whole other world. My girlfriend lived there for 13 years, it’s not like any place in the world. Yes this is illegal in most countries, but not Dubai. And unfortunately as much as you want it to be illegal, it’s a completely different culture & nation.
— Ross L (@rossNOIRElloyd) July 18, 2020
I have faced the same thing when I was searching for a flat as I came to school in UK
— Zain Zulfiqar Ali (@Zain517) July 19, 2020
Back when I was a kid my parents were trying to rent a place but when they got there they were told it was “no longer available.” They thought this was sus so my mom called them and asked about the place later and it was still available. Turns out they just don’t rent to Bengalis
— Bashar Zaheer (@AndrewZaheer) July 19, 2020
My boyfriend is Parsi but he lives in Australia. While searching for a flat in Lisbon a lady was happy to rent to an Australia instead of an “Indian”.
— Cat_in_Lisbon (@cat_in_lisbon) July 19, 2020
When I was 21 and flat hunting one landlord refused to open the door for me to view the property and pretended they weren’t in. The letting agency told me it had been rented all of a sudden but I saw the next day it was still listed. Racists will always racists.
— (@NubianVegan) July 18, 2020
Feature Image via Getty