Is this not all the same if a black african girl were to be dating someone from the Middle East? It's all the same stuff, isn't it?
I think this is a really interesting question actually, because it implicitly tries to compare and contrast the effects of the Arab slave trade with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Are the power dynamics of a black African woman dating an Arab guy in the Middle East similar to that of a white guy in the US or Europe dating a black woman from their country?
(Image description: Egyptian slavemaster and Waswahili slave)
What we do know is that the Arab slave trade predated the European trans-Atlantic slave trade by several hundred years. We also know that there is a very long history of a complete denigration and dehumanization of black people in Arab countries. In Islam, it was illegal to enslave a member of faith. But black skin was so associated with slavery in the Arab world that these rules were regularly bypassed to enslave Muslim Africans anyway. Also, most of those enslaved were African women who were sold into sex slavery for Arab men.
The poetry and writings of Antarah ibn Shaddah, a black pre-Islamic folk hero confirm that antiblackness in some form or other in the Arab world is entrenched and goes back far more than a millenium. Born in 525 AD to a noble Arab tribesman and an Ethiopian slave woman, Antarah was subjected to regular humiliation, including the betrayal of his father who denied his paternity and considered him to be another slave living in his household. It was only much later in his adult life that his father acknowledged his paternity and liberated him from slavery. And the legacy of this dehumanizing antiblackness continues to this day in the Arab world. More than 200,000 South Sudanese were enslaved during the Second Sudanese war alone. 150,000 Ethiopians were just deported on a whim by the Saudi Arabian government. And black Africans are regularly subjected to dehumanizing treatment and brutality across the Arab world.
(Image description: Arab captors with black Zanzibar workers)
In all it is estimated that at least 8 million Africans were subjected to the Arab slave trade. Other estimates range north of 20 million. These numbers are comparable to those of the trans-Atlantic slave trade depending on the scholars you read. There are large black communities in the Arab world today as a legacy of this slave trade and recent migration. Numbers of descendants from original slaves were limited by an incredibly high death rate and the fact that black African male slaves were regularly castrated and made into eunuchs for their Arab masters. Black people in the Arab world include former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, who was of Egyptian and Sudanese Nubian ancestry
(Image description: Portrait of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat)
Sadat was regularly ridiculed as being “Nasser’s black poodle” and people insisted that he “did not look Egyptian enough.” All despite the fact that Arabs didn’t colonize Egypt until the 600s AD and so could be identity checked themselves by black Egyptians.
If you would like to see more examples of the rampant antiblackness in the Arab world, see these tweets.
Within the Arab world today Arab supremacy is a basic fact of life with incredibly dehumanizing effects on black Africans and indigenous Amazigh peoples in particular. And especially when we consider the fact that the Arab slave trade targeted black African women especially for sex slavery, the parallels in the power dynamics between a black woman and white man in the West and a black African woman and an Arab man within the Arab world today are likely a lot more similar than one might realize at first glance.