Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Anonymous.
Wa iyaaki and may Allah bless you and your family with even more than you have wished for us - ameen.
Although this can be said for the Khaleej (GCC) countries in general, I will elaborate on the prejudice here in Saudi on a few levels. My observations and comments are based on 18 years of living in the Middle East; 16 in Bahrain and 2 in Saudi Arabia.
Saudis are prejudice regarding color, nationality, socio-economic status, and materialism, wa Allahu musta'an. Within their own society, they will not marry someone of a different skin shade. I have discussed this with Saudi women, particularly those who are hitting 30 and still unmarried. Even in the face of our Prophet's Last Khutbah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) regarding our equality regardless of color, they do not deviate from their insistence that they must marry someone of the same shade. I asked if they could marry lighter than themselves and was told no. Here is the thinking, or at least part of it.
If I marry someone darker than me, then that isn't good. (Darker means lower in some way or marrying down.) If I marry someone lighter than me, then I'm not nice for him. (Remember, darker is not nice in comparison.) Once the teachers found out that I was married to an African American, they were quite dumbfounded as to why I would marry someone darker than myself when there is no problem with me. They nod their heads when I talk about deen being paramount and color being irrelevant, but they most certainly aren't implementing that in their own lives.
A true scenario was a case of a Saudi man wishing to marry again. He told my husband that he wanted to marry an American but stated that she had to be a white American, not black, as they might have children and you know how the people are here.
With such a mindset, darker shaded people are considered in some way inferior, of worker class, and are usually treated with less respect and esteem than those who are lighter. Similarly, nationality is almost a trophy here. To be Saudi, American, or British and white or very light skinned, you are at the top of the heap. To be from Africa, the Far East, or the subcontinent and dark skinned puts you at the bottom of the heap. This is to such an extent that if there are a group of people waiting for their vegetables to be weighed and priced by an Arab employee, the light skinned ones will be served first and the dark skinned left to the end. Many experience it from the time they land and stand in the immigration lines at Madinah Airport. I know it sounds rather outrageous, and it is more evident in some places and situations than others, but most certainly it is a reality.
A real example is the subcontractor's pay-scale for the teachers at Saudi Universities. Americans and British earn more than someone from South Africa, India, or Uzbekistan. Regardless of whether the employee from one of the less esteemed countries has more qualifications or is far better than his peers, his nationality alone warrants a lower salary.
As for socio-economic status, if you are holding a degree, especially if it is a Masters or PhD, and have a job of good standing that obviously pays well, then that raises you in the esteem of the people here. Having money and education are an offset to less attractive aspects like a "unimpressive" nationality or a less preferred skin tone.
Finally, materialism is paramount for the majority of Saudis...it's all about how you look. If you drive a newer model GMC or better, are turned out in immaculate thobes, good shoes, nice watches, expensive abayas, a vast and brand name riddled wardrobe of clothes, and accessories for every look imaginable, it will be considered a big plus for you. You will augur respect and manners just from your appearance. Just going regularly to the mall and shopping will augur VIP treatment from the shop employees and owners, as they can see you are conspicuously spending, i.e., you have money and you take appearance seriously, just as they do.
Okay, this sounds negative...and the poorer the Saudi, the less some of these things will apply. We were blessed to have a Saudi Arabian neighbor who was one of these simpler folk. He is working class, living modestly, and has gifted us with dates, helped us move, and is generally pleasant and respectful all around.
But let's look at it from a different perspective. The people here have been raised upon tawheed. Shaytaan has no access to them, for the most part inshaa'Allah, in regards to this and the basic tenets of Islam. Therefore, he must get them from other angles and this prejudice is one of them. We all have our failings and imperfections; may Allah correct, guide, and forgive us all - ameen.