Nzingha writes a must-read post on nationalism and marriage in Saudi Arabia.
No one is better than the other based on race. And it is heartbreaking as a Muslim that this exists so strongly amongst Muslims.
How it dictates marriage on a family level is a pathetic state of bigotry in action. "He doesn't come from a good tribe" will be the opposition to a young woman who has finally found a young man she would like to marry. "She is not a Saudi but some sexually defiled woman of another country" will be the claims of the 'pure' woman of a young Saudi males family when he wants to marry a foreign women. While these objections on such a personal level are pathetic and sickening it is one that an individual has to deal with versus some state institutionalized system, well unless you are from Saudi or some other Gulf country.
One finds such retrograde attitudes with more frequency in the Muslim world than in the West. The thinking in Saudi Arabia boils down to:
- The racial superiority of Saudis vs. Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines etc. (This also applies to communities within, for example, Pakistan. Often, in many Pakistani families one finds daughters who have noticeably different skin colors. In such cases, the light-skinned girls get far many offers for marriage than the dark-skinned daughters. Do note, that the personality of the girl is immaterial since the prospective guy only sees the girl; rarely do they date.)
- The cultural/religious superiority of Saudis vs. the West (don't laugh).
Of course, not every single Saudi prescribes to such views but sadly too many do. Muslims in the subcontinent and around South East Asia also fervently believe that they are culturally/religiously superior to the West.
In Urdu, a white man is called a gora; a white woman a gori. There is not much respect for both in Muslim societies. A gori can be accepted as a spouse since she has to convert to Islam for the marriage to be legal (or culturally acceptable). However, a Muslim woman marrying a gora is simply out of the question. Even if the gora converts to Islam, the Muslims still remain suspicious.
I know a few Muslim girls in Canada who have relatively liberal families but even they draw the line at their daughters marrying a gora.
Read the comments there especially the one by Abu Sinan.
Note about the title: The word "hoor" is found in the Quran. The hot women in heaven who'll sexually service good Muslims are called hoors. Hoor is also used to describe light-skinned women.