The U.S. military says it has updated a “welcome booklet” meant to introduce servicemembers to the culture and customs of Saudi Arabia, days after comedian Hasan Minhaj highlighted some racist language it contained.
“The population of the (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) is mainly composed of descendants of indigenous tribes that have inhabited the peninsula since prehistoric times with some later mixture of Negro blood from slaves imported from Africa,” read the manual, which was updated in June.
That phrase has been removed from the document and is being revised, United States Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said Thursday in a statement.
“We regret that inappropriate material was posted to our website without a more fulsome review and apologize to anyone who took offense,” Urban said.
He said the military has conducted an internal review of its “posting processes” and is currently conducting a survey to “ensure there are no further instances of inappropriate material on our website.”
Minhaj drew attention to the document’s language in an episode of his show, “Patriot Act,” that aired Sunday and addressed the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
A separate spokesman for Central Command told HuffPost the military made the change after a reporter reached out for comment about the segment.
“Suddenly, America’s marriage of convenience with Saudi Arabia is starting to feel outdated. How outdated? Our military has been working in Saudi Arabia for decades. And if you are sent on a training mission in Saudi Arabia, this is the official document you get,” Minhaj said before showing the studio audience the document.
“Oh, America, even in boring, technical manuals you somehow manage to be racist,” the comedian added.
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