Young and Arab in America

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The lives of many Arab and Muslim Americans have gotten more complicated since 9/11, thanks to government surveillances, workplace discrimination, and cultural misunderstandings. Moustafa Bayoumi has written a new book, How Does it Feel to Be a Problem?, profiling 7 young Arab American living in Brooklyn – including Egyptian-American Yasmin Dwedar.

Event: Moustafa Bayoumi will be speaking and signing books
Wednesday, August 20 at 7 pm
Barnes & Noble Park Slope
267 7th Avenue (at 6th Street)


Moustafa Bayoumi and Yasmin Dwedar

Comments [12]

Yasmin from Brooklyn

In response to Brian's comment--I must point out that the stories in the book are limited to a certain number of pages, so not all details are spelled out. Perhaps if there was a reasonable explanation for not being able to take Multiple Choice tests, why not make an effort to make a reasonable accomodation? Of course, your hypothetical seems a bit extreme, but let me clarify the story a bit. In the HS I attended, our dances tended to be rather raunchy--with couples practically making babies in corners and on the bleechers in our gym (this doesn't include those that liked to sneak in drinks/came drunk). Our policy was actually that parents were never allowed into the gym for that reason. Also, I actually offered to work double the hours--extra hard--so that we all contributed our fair share of work. In the end, when the school agreed, this system worked out pretty well. I hope this answers your question.

Aug. 20 2008 11:08 PM
Yasmin from Brooklyn

Veiled women are still human beings that want to be seen and heard (I should also point out that some find that veiling actually serves the purpose of moving beyond aesthetic ways of thinking and to look above and beyond into the hearts of those donning the veil. In fact, for some, the veil helps others to look beyond the physical and to focus, rather, on what is "on the inside" and moving away from looking at women merely as objects, but instead as human beings). The veil should not be understood to render women mute or passive or that they are purposely creating walls between themselves and their societies. For some, the practice of veiling can actually be liberating, contrary to popular belief. In short, the veil is not a barrier, much like a hat wouldn't constitute a barrier. I hope my posting makes sense. Take care.

Aug. 20 2008 11:01 PM
Yasmin from Brooklyn

Michael, in response to your question... The veil/the practice of veiling serves multiple purposes across cultures and faiths. Donning a veil does not necessarily create a barrier--to say so is to imply that veiling women (regardless of their reasons for veiling--whether cultural, religious, or even for fashion) wish to exclude themselves from society--to be invisible to those around them. The veil in and of itself means different things to different people. For some people, it is fashion, for others a religious choice, and for some a cultural tradition. In Islam, the veil is merely a symbol of modesty, much like the level of modesty of a nun, for example. Also, you mention the veil as something that is meant to hide and not reveal. That may be so to some in a physical sense, as in the covering of one's body, however, it does not include mental, emotional, or social detachment.

Aug. 20 2008 11:00 PM
Erica from Brooklyn

Acknowledging that discriminatory practices do exist is the first step toward improving the undeserved injustice that is directed toward Arab-Americans today. I commend Moustafa and Yasmin for confronting this subject that often is swept under the carpet.

Aug. 20 2008 01:04 PM
Phoebe from NJ

@7: Religion is mass delusion, institutionalized.

Aug. 20 2008 12:52 PM
Richard Grayson from Brooklyn

Brian, I have never heard of a religion that prohibits students from taking multiple choice tests. Could you tell me what religion that is?

Aug. 20 2008 12:42 PM
Michael from Manhattan

It is interesting that your female guest wonders whether people see her for who she is or just her veil... Isn't the veil meant to hide, not reveal? She has chosen to set up a barrier between herself and society.

Aug. 20 2008 12:38 PM
Brian from Brooklyn

If my religion doesn't permit me to take multiple choice tests, should my school accommodate this restriction as well?

Aug. 20 2008 12:26 PM
JEZ from 10039

just for a second assuming that US really is more tolerable doesn't mean they're treating them properly... Darn shame what this "War on Terrorism" has done to the world...

Aug. 20 2008 12:25 PM
Michael from Brooklyn

How about a shout out for Brooklyn College where Moustafa works?

Aug. 20 2008 12:24 PM
Marco from Manhattan

Arab-Americans are making a mistake if they pursue a grievance mentality. America is much more tolerant of its Arab citizens than any European country.

Aug. 20 2008 12:11 PM

responsibility to try and influence the hundreds of millions of muslims who support some level of terrorism in the world vs. step into the population that left arab or muslim-controlled lands specifically to enjoy freedom of religion and belief -- is this a fundamental dilemma or not among arabs and muslims living in nyc?

Aug. 20 2008 09:25 AM

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