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Morocco: 43% consider anti-Black racism a problem, survey finds 

Migrants hold placards during an anti-racism demonstration in the Moroccan capital Rabat on June 28, 2022 [AFP via Getty Images]
Migrants hold placards during an anti-racism demonstration in the Moroccan capital Rabat on June 28, 2022 [AFP via Getty Images]

A survey carried out by the Arab Barometer investigating "anti-blackness" across the MENA region found that the majority of people found racial discrimination to be a "serious problem".

The study, carried out between October 2021 and July 2022, involved 23,000 participants from ten countries in the region and found that "In most countries surveyed, majorities affirm that racial discrimination is a serious problem."

Morocco was singled out as having the highest amount of racial discrimination, with data suggesting that almost a third of Moroccan citizens said they were "targets of racist comments at least once". The kingdom was followed by Sudanese participants where 27 per cent were affected by racism.

According to the findings, the most common reaction to experiencing racial abuse was to ignore it, however Morocco had the lowest ranking with a score of 35 per cent when it came to ignoring the issue.

The country also ranked the highest in terms of those who reacted physically to racism at 26 per cent in contrast to Jordan who ranked the lowest with six per cent.

Revealingly, 43 per cent of Moroccans consider anti-black discrimination as a problem compared to 37 per cent who said racial discrimination in general was more problematic. As a key transit hub for Sub-Saharan Africans trying to reach Europe, 40 per cent of Moroccans felt that racial discrimination against African migrants was a problem.

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The author of the study, Nisrine Hilizah was quoted by Morocco World News as saying: "There tends to be a culture of silence…so some people may not want to openly engage in discussion surrounding racism, leading to denial that it exists."

She added that it may be more helpful for the participants "to have context specific language that does not rely on western, especially US, interpretations of race and racism."

The study concluded that "the findings point to a clear need to center anti-Blackness in conversations about race relations in MENA as well as the need to conceptualize this phenomenon using language specific to the region that does not rely on Western (specifically US) interpretations of race and racism."

"However, there is equally a need to have conversations on race, slavery, and current-day anti-Blackness in the MENA region that are nuanced and consider local contexts and historical trajectories. Data from Arab Barometer's Seventh Wave and the literature on race and racism in MENA point to the need to analyze anti-Blackness separate from racial discrimination more generally".

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