University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


This paper reports on the socioeconomic status of Arabs and how attitudes toward them vary between France and the United States. It is intended to illuminate the French perspective toward Arabs to an American audience while comparing it to the American perspective. Arabs hold a lower socioeconomic status in France than in America. They are frequently target ed by French policy, which has formerly aimed to repatriate them but now focuses on assimilating them. In America, Arabs face less cultural oppression, but more political exclusion. Because Americans prize independence as opposed to community, Arabs have more freedom to retain their home cultures; however Americans are hostile to perceived opposition to government and fear an Arab link to terrorism. Thus, while the French and Americans both fear Arabs, the French perceive Arabs as symbolic threats to French culture, while Americans pe rceive Arabs as militant opponents.