A new Muslim-American group co-founded by metro Detroiters is launching a social media campaign today to urge Arabs to stop using Arabic racial slurs against African Americans, Niraj Warikoo reports in the Free Press.
Called “Drop the A-Word,” the campaign asks Arab-Americans to stop using the words “abed” and its plural, “abeed,” Arabic words that they sometimes use as slurs against black people in the way some might use the N-word. The group asks participants to use the hashtag — which allows Twitter users to read responses — #DropTheAWord.
Warikoo explains that “abed” and its plural form “abeed” mean a “slave” or “servant” in the Arabic language. Depending on context, the words are not necessarily slurs. Some Arabs have the name “Abed,” which can mean a person who’s a servant of God.
But the words are also often used as slurs to label black people, according to Arab-American and civil rights advocates.
Dearborn, home to the large Arab-American population, shares a long border with mostly African American Detroit. One neighborhood with many Arabs in the city's northeast section is surrounded on three sides by Detroit.