What Does It Mean To Be Arab?

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 12152

What is your ethnicity? Do people (including you) have certain impressions and even concerns about your people? Investigate the Arab and Muslim people and learn the importance of cultural identity!


World Cultures

Social Studies
learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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After the events of 11 September 2001 in America, a lot of mistrust and misinformation was spread about the Arab people.

Watch this 2011 video on these stereotypes.

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  • Who are the Arabs, and what countries do they live in?

The events of the past few decades have made the Arabs one of the most well-known ethnic groups in the world.

Well, they are well-known but, in many ways, barely understood. To learn more about the Arabs, it would be useful to know who they are.

  • Who exactly is counted as an Arab?

As with many ethnic groups, there is no easy answer.

Read this encyclopedia entry on the meaning of the word Arab. As you read, write down answers to the following questions.

  • What may have been the origin of the word Arab?
  • What are some defining factors for who gets to be called Arab?
  • Is being Arab simply a matter of physical traits? Why or why not?

Now, read these Facts about Arabs and the Arab World.

Reflect on the following questions.

  • What is ethnicity?
  • What ethnic group or groups do you belong to?
  • How do you know?

The question of ethnicity is complicated, mainly because ethnicity is made up of a whole bunch of different parts, including language, culture, religion, and other things. Many times, the Arabs are confused with Muslims.

As you will discover in the Got It? section, most Arabs are Muslim, but most Muslims are not Arab!

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