America – the land of the free, the brave, and unfortunately all too frequently – ignorant. American perceptions of a plethora of ethnicities and nationalities, due to lack of understanding, education and familiarity of their existence and impact on the world, often declare with adamancy that every person originating from other nations and cultures is potentially violent, murderous, and a threat to national security and the Homefront. Rhetoric such as this fuels hate crimes, racism, and bullying. People are being called ugly, dirty, abnormal; they are being dehumanized for speaking another language or having a different faith or skin tone. No Irish Need Apply, Japanese Internment Camps, The Red Scare, Jim Crow Segregation, and most recently, Islamophobia towards refugees and immigrants, are all examples of the maltreatment humans have faced due to Americans feeding into ignorance and hysteria.
The debut of Vogue Arabia is by no means a one-size-fits-all perfect solution that will end all adversities people from the middle east, or any land that is not the US of A, face. It will not eradicate Islamophobia, it will not stymie politicians from gleefully promising massive, catastrophic aerial attacks, and it will not permanently erase “go back to your country!” from every single American’s vocabulary.
It can; however, help change the way Americans perceive people of other backgrounds as not bizarre but intriguing, interesting, a culture to read up on and ask questions about. Human beings from distant lands most definitely have the same capacity for intelligence, creativity, humor, beauty, and fashion sense that Americans delight in every day. Moreover, by highlighting the fact that an adored American model happens to be middle eastern – Gigi Hadid’s father, Mohamed Hadid, is Jordanian and Palestinian – the aha moment for change and reevaluating conceptual frames is only made easier.