How Does it Feel to be a Problem?

| August 27, 2010

How does it feel to be a problem?: being young and Arab in America
Author: Moustafa Bayoumi
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2008
Check It Out:  E184.A65 B35 2008

From the Publisher: Just over a century ago, W.E.B. Du Bois posed a provocative question in his classic The Souls of Black Folk: “How does it feel to be a problem?” Now, Moustafa Bayoumi asks the same question about a new “problem” in the United States—and relies on seven young Arab Americans to provide the answer. America has an unfortunate history of singling out large groups of people and branding them as, quite literally, personae non gratae. The scourge of slavery, abuse of Native Americans, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II are just a few instances in which racism and cultural biases were accepted by fellow citizens and, in some cases, even sanctioned by the government. In How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?, Bayoumi introduces us to a selection of young men and women who have found themselves part of the newest suspect class in the United States, a group that—following the 2001 terror attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—went from simply invisible to being regarded with suspicion and even actively pursued.

About the Author: Moustafa Bayoumi was born in Zürich, Switzerland, and raised in Canada. He earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University and is an associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. He is coeditor of The Edward Said Reader, and his essays have appeared in The Best Music Writing 2006, The Nation, The London Review of Books, The Village Voice, and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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