U.S. Military Removes Phrase from Welcome Booklet Describing Saudi Arabians as Having ‘Negro Blood’

The U.S. military is apologizing for an “outdated” document describing Saudi Arabians as having “Negro blood,” days after comedian Hasan Minhaj pointed out the racist language.

Military officials said they’ve since updated the “welcome booklet” meant to introduce new servicemen and women to the customs and culture of Saudi Arabia, according to HuffPost. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban confirmed the phrase has been removed from the document and is currently being revised.

“We regret that inappropriate material was posted to our website without a more fulsome review and apologize to anyone who took offense,” Urban said in a statement, adding that  a review of previously posted material was also underway to “ensure there’s no further instances of inappropriate material on our website.”

The 69-page manual was first referenced on comedian Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix show, “Patriot Act,” which premiered Sunday, the Military Times reported. The story was quickly picked up by The New York Times, which revealed that the booklet was published in June 2018 for the U.S. Military Training Mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or KSA.

A section of the document, titled “People and Population,” described people of the Arabian peninsula as “mainly composed as descendants of indigenous tribes that have inhabited the peninsula since prehistoric times with some later mixture of Negro blood from slaves imported from Africa.”

Minhaj decried the racist verbiage on his show.

“If you are sent on a training mission in Saudi Arabia, this is the official military document you get,” the comic said. “Oh, America … even in boring technical manuals you somehow manage to be racist.”

While it’s still unclear how the wording came to be in the booklet, some military officials speculate it could’ve been “a casualty of copied documents” from years-old manuals that weren’t properly vetted by service members or caught after it was pasted in the updated booklet.


Back to top