Blogs > Cliopatria > "Blue Arabs"

Jul 16, 2004 2:40 pm

"Blue Arabs"

In a comment below my post about my academic journey, Mark McDaniel, a high school English teacher, asks:

I've been reading"Huck Finn" with my sophomores for over ten years and we've been mystified by the scene where Jim's face is painted blue to accompany the"sick Arab" sign. Recently, during a presentation on the Crusades, a slide was shown. An Arab with a blue face was contending with a crusader. Can you or anyone shed some light on whatever connection there may be here?

The only book I have on hand on the Crusades is Runciman's splendid history, but I find nothing helpful there. Any answers to Mr. McDaniel's query?

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More Comments:

Richard Henry Morgan - 7/16/2004

Brian might be onto something. Tuaregs are known as the Blue Men, from their dress. But there's another possibility. Kaposi's Sarcoma is often described as blue-red, and is found mostly (before AIDS) in people of Near Eastern and Mediterranean descent.

Brian Ulrich - 7/16/2004

Maybe its some sort of cultural confusion with the Tuaregs?