Since Cook’s Practical Guide to Algeria and Tunisia is geared towards a European audience, a bias against the native inhabitants is evident throughout the guidebook. The guidebook is divided into two sections - one focused primarily on Algeria, and the other on Tunisia.
Cook, like other popular guidebook publishers, was aware of how white European travelers of the time cared very little about natives and were more focused on traveling for the purpose of learning or leisure. Since these Western travelers were interested in learning about the natural history of the places they visited, it makes sense that the information on climate, temperature, flora and fauna is provided before the guidebook lists descriptions of the groups of people.
The native population is divided into two groups: the Arabs, in which Cook includes the population of the Moors, and the Berbers, which includes the Kabyles. As one reads the descriptions of the various groups, it is evident that the Europeans, whose thoughts were shaped by the imperial actions of their own countries, believed that they were more civilized and advanced than the native populations. On page 15, the Arabs are described as “filthy and lazy in their habits,” while the Moors, despite being described as having more education than Arabs, are also labeled negatively as the guidebook states, “their [the Moors’] moral character stands very low.” The guidebook also mentions the Kabyles and the Berbers, stating “[They] have undergone no change whatever since the French occupation”. On page 205, further description of the Berbers is given in the account of one Count Stackelberg, which is, according to the guidebook, “a most accurate description.” The Berbers, or Kabyles, are described as not wanting to be influenced by the French since “their hatred of strangers soon drives them back [from towns] to their mountain homes”. However, the contrasting descriptions of the Kabyles and Arabs shows that the Europeans prefer their interactions with Kabyles compared to the Arabs, who are seen as far more inferior.
Cook also chooses to include both the Jews and the Sub-Saharan Africans in his descriptions of the inhabitants of Algeria, describing the former as “despicable” and the latter as “the happiest people in Algeria…[who] practice a sort of fantastical dance”. This dance is listed as an accomplishment, and again described later in the guidebook: “the dances in the street should not be missed; they are extremely curious for a stranger,” which is an example of how the different groups of people that live in Algeria were exploited by the Europeans for their own enjoyment.
Both the inhabitants sections for Algeria and Tunisia discuss the same groups of people and pass similar yet biased judgements on them. For example, the guidebook is very critical of the Arab women, stating that they do not have much freedom, and that their “only occupation is to paint themselves, dress fine, and look in the mirror”. In addition, the view that all natives are inferior to the Westerners is evident in the section listing population statistics where the French and other Europeans (including Spaniards and Italians) are listed before the natives, even though the natives are greater in number compared to the Europeans.