Students Say Learning Arabic Helps Them Confront Middle East Stereotypes | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Students Say Learning Arabic Helps Them Confront Middle East Stereotypes

Play associated audio
Guy Wilson, from Washington Latin Public Charter School, introduces himself in Arabic to classmates.
Kavitha Cardoza
Guy Wilson, from Washington Latin Public Charter School, introduces himself in Arabic to classmates.

By Kavitha Cardoza

Approximately 75 students at Washington Latin Public Charter School in Northwest D.C. are learning Arabic and they say the language has helped them confront stereotypes about Middle easten cultures.

14-year-old Guy Wilson is learning Arabic as part of an after-school program funded with $150,000 from the non-profit Qatar Foundation International. Apart from visits to museums and tasting different food, the class also got to travel to Doha, the capital of Qatar, for free.

Wilson says when students who weren't in the class heard about the trip, "They would tell me I'd get blown up by a suicide bomber," he says. But afterwards, "They were pretty jealous!"

Another student Erica Perry says she was shocked.

"You think you'll see a lot of camels, all desert. When we got there there were streets, high-rise buildings. It was like New York!," says Perry.

When Perry found out the boys and girls didn't socialize she was curious, prompting that all-important question for teenagers around the world, "How do you have boyfriends and stuff?," she asks.

But once the students were on Facebook together, "I noticed that on all their walls they were chatting. So they were using the internet to talk to each other," says Wilson.

A study funded by the U.S. Department of Education shows the demand for Arabic and Chinese classes across the country has increased in recent years, even as the demand for French and German has decreased.

NPR

Lowly Worm Is Back! Richard Scarry Jr. Brings Dad's Manuscript To Life

The younger Scarry, also an illustrator, found a draft of Best Lowly Worm Book Ever! in his dad's Swiss chalet. He says all that was missing was the final art, "so that's what I did."
NPR

A Food Crisis Follows Africa's Ebola Crisis

Food shortages are emerging in the wake of West Africa's Ebola epidemic. Market shelves are bare and fields are neglected because traders can't move and social gatherings are discouraged.
NPR

Uber Greases The Wheel With Obama's Old Campaign Manager

Uber is hiring David Plouffe, the mastermind of Obama's 2008 campaign, to power its own political strategy. What can a tech-savvy political animal offer a ride-sharing service?
NPR

Native Stories From Alaska Give Gamers Something To Play With

The video game Never Alone draws on a traditional Inupiaq story and the actual experiences of native Alaskan elders, storytellers and youth.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.