How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in

  • Hardcover
  • 290 pages
  • How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America
  • Moustafa Bayoumi
  • English
  • 25 June 2016
  • 9781594201769

10 thoughts on “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America

  1. Emma Deplores Censorship Emma Deplores Censorship says:

    This is an interesting book about the lives of young Muslims of Arab descent living in Brooklyn in the first few years after 911 If that sounds very specific well it is but despite what may initially seem to be a narrow focus the book seems to me to do a good job of addressing various aspects of Arab Muslim life in the US Each of its seven chapters is devoted to a different young person whose story unfolds over 30 odd pages Most of the chapters have a specific focus Rasha’s story is about an entire family detained and held in prison for two months shortly after 911 although they were never charged with any crimes I am sorry to say that I was unaware of the post 911 mass arrests of Muslims in the US although they were hardly unknown even drawing the attention of Amnesty International Sami’s story is about a Muslim soldier going to war for the US in the Middle East Yasmin’s is a story of a high school student who fights back against religious discrimination at her school Omar’s is about employment discrimination and Rami’s the final story about a young person getting religion The author includes factual information about the various topics alongside the stories for context Of course giving each story relatively few pages limits their depth to some extent; in some cases the author focuses in on a particular aspect of someone's life while other chapters follow their subjects for a longer time but with less detailI found these stories interesting and the author’s style accessible and there is a lot in here I didn’t know For instance apparently the US government drew up plans in the 1980s to put Muslims in a concentration camp I am not sure how representative these young people and their families are of Arab American Muslims or if that was the author’s goal Two of the families are Palestinian and two have one Palestinian parent which is not representative of the Middle Eastern population in the US generally The author is also strongly attached to writing about Brooklyn which seems to me uniue than representative of American life but enough of these folks have also lived in other places that that turned out to be less of a limiting factor than I initially expected Regardless these are important stories many of which I hadn’t heard before No book could represent all of Arab Muslim life in America but this one does an excellent job of opening a window

  2. Heather Colacurcio Heather Colacurcio says:

    This book was assigned to me for a college course and I couldn't be grateful for it As a twenty something I've seen a fair share of recent American tragedy the most horrific being September 11 2001 Yet the effects of tragedy have serious conseuences when an angry grieving society wants to place blame That blame has been and continues to be placed on the Arab and Muslim community creating a heavy and unjust burden for those residing in the supposed land of the free Reading through Bayoumi's stories of young Arab Americans who faced great injustices at the hands of a scared and ignorant society made me absolutely furious The young people whose stories Bayoumi recounts are all from New York City and rightfully so for the thought that such a multicultural and accepting city could reject anyone based on their culture or background is truly disheartening As a resident of Bergen County New Jersey I was shocked and horrified to find out that many local jails housed innocent people that were arrested and detained because they were seen as potential threats I'm not Arab or Muslim but I am American as are the young people in these true stories and are millions of other people who are fed up with ridiculous racial stereotyping hatred and violence If this book doesn't open your eyes you need to reevaluate what it means to be an American

  3. Romany Arrowsmith Romany Arrowsmith says:

    The stories and the millions like it that go unnoticed and untold in this country are as important as the writing is horrendous At the beginning of every new essay Bayoumi feels the need to orient himself into the story where he was when he first saw so and so what so and so first looked like and it always ends up reading like a bad noir detective talking about I don't know the tall drink of water with gams from here to chicago who walked into his office on a friday evening with heavy mascara and a heavier secret drawn all over her face Not even exaggerating that much He constantly pauses in the narrative flow to make heavy handed and unnecessary descriptive asides that don't add to the story or even neutrally punctuate the story; they just pull the reader out of each character study reminding us of Bayoumi's awkward authorial presenceTwo stars for effort but it should not have taken me TEN DAYS to read this slender book and his writing is the reason why Examples She's fine boned with porcelain features that give her what you think is sparrow innocence but soon you'll realize that it's akin to a hard fragility If you drop her she'll break but she'll cut you tooBut without a good job the movie jams and the celluloid burns in the projectorTheir union gives Yasmin her uniue looks a sandy complexion puffy lips and black currants for eyesBLACK CURRANTS FOR EYES? LMAO OKAY

  4. Caroline Caroline says:

    I appreciated all these stories BUT Yasmin's I felt her story should not have been included as it wasn't valid She signed her name to run for student body secretary When you sign your name to a document you agree to ALL the stipulations otherwise you should NOT sign your name One of the stipulations that as an officer you MUST attend ALL functions Her beliefs did not allow her to attend dances because she felt they were morally wrong In her opinion it was all about sexed up teenagers and outlandish music maybe I'm old but teachers attended those dances in my time and no hanky panky was allowed so I think that was judgmental of her So she tries suing the school board when her father has her resign as the school said she must go The school would have even allowed her to stay in a room separate of the dance so long as she was there Moral of the story Catering? Because rules were meant to be broken just because she was Muslim Not cool

  5. El El says:

    Dr Bayoumi was the keynote speaker at the Academic Convocation at Carlow University today Unfortunately I did not know about this in time to get a copy of the book to read which would be my preference But he is a fantastic speaker and spent a great deal of time answering uestions at the reception held afterwards Very articulate knowledgeable informed and entertaining Any time you can get a bunch of freshmen students involved and actually want to ask uestions even beyond what was reuired for their class assignment about your thoughts you get extra points from meAlso he called Justin Trudeau hot I mean we all know this but it's funny to hear it from another CanadianI'll be getting a copy as soon as I can

  6. Diz Diz says:

    This was an interesting read on a topic that needs discussion in our society A strong point of this book is that the author provided accounts from a wide variety of Arab Americans Doing this helped to break the stereotype of Arab Americans that is common these days The accounts provided a good picture of the situations that Arab Americans face todayOne thing that I didn't like about the book so much is that there are uite a few reconstructed conversations that the author did not witness or which were not recorded These conversations rely a little too much on the memory of the interviewee While I trust the sources I can't help thinking in the back of my mind whether the conversations were remembered accurately or not If the reconstructed conversations were taken out I would rate this higherSomething to be aware of is that this book was written before US troops pulled out of Ira so recent developments in the Arab world are not covered in this book It not a bad thing but just something to be aware of when you read this It would be interesting to hear how the lives of those covered in this book have developed since publication Perhaps a new project for the author?

  7. Laura Laura says:

    What a weekend to finish this book My country's racist president signed an executive order banning people from 7 majority Muslim and Arab countries late last week and this weekend I sat down to finish the 7 stories of Rasha Lina Yasmin Sami Akram Omar and Rami Although these are stories from real people that happened between 20 and 10 years ago and they are so similar to what is happening still Bayoumi is a careful and political mastermind and he picked stories that showcase the courage the resilience and the soul of this subset of persecuted Americans I have a goal to learn about Islam this year and this book opened up a thousand arrows of light to explore This was a place to learn to listen and to find future reading But first and foremost it was a place to humanize history For instance the US rounded up thousands of Muslim and Arab Americans after 911 and held them in detention without telling them why That is a fact I knew that and protested that in the early 2000s However reading how Rasha describes how her family fell apart after they were finally released from PRISON she was a teenager broke my heart Perhaps we already interned these people? We stripped them of jobs school and their families What ? In the brightest moment of the book you root for Yasmin's steadfast approach to living her values it is such a core American principle She believed in her right to expression in her school in the face of pure bigotry Her right to her religious beliefs even after everyone gave up I will carry her story with me in the darker moments Omar's struggle to find a job with his brilliant credentials and his defense of the objective media are potent weapons for what has happened to our democracy over the last 10 years We cloak discrimination and make our judgements on whims I could go through each of the stories but they all stand out as a dagger in the heart of justice The book itself is dated only in the fact that so much has happened in the Middle East since then In particular Lina's story ends with the idealized future of sending her unborn daughter to Syria for a summer This book was published in 2008 before the spring that would unleash one of the worst humanitarian crisis of our new century My hands went to my hair then for the promises we haven't kept and for the children who will never know their homeland I find it fascinating that Bayoumi left the most religious story for the end and I think it is because he understood the reader's journey and that this book is meant for white Americans like me He presents a journey through these stories and then he provides the most nuanced story of Rami on his path with Islam at the end As an atheist I was intrigued the most by this story It is the most foreign to me but if you take out the specifics of the religion it sounds just like an evangelical Christian It's not cut and dried because spiritual discussions never are and that's the point The best conversations of my life have been uestioning and challenging from people who believe in a higher power whereas I do not So when Rami celebrates a new found friend who challenges him with Why are you a Muslim? I found myself cheering with him We SHOULD ask our selves these uestions And we should listen to the answers We are all Americans if we do that #resistTrump

  8. Vrijeme Vrijeme says:

    If it hadn't been necessary for me to read this all the way through then I would've thrown this away and taken it to the garbage can OUTSIDEBeing forced to read a book for a university class is always guaranteed to leave a sour taste in your mouth However with each new book I always stay optimistic and try to like itAnd with this little number I tried liking it so hard I might as well have been constipatedI do however give kudos to this book for addressing a serious issue all over the world and giving the Islam faith a personal touch since 99% of us are fed our beliefsThe book is divided into five mini stories all involving Arab Muslims living in the United States post 911 and their lives in that aftermath While the stories came from all corners and were uniue they were described in droning words dull as dirt and non beneficial to any part of the story Describing every scene in backbreaking detail does not a good story makeI tried to give the book the benefit of the doubt by reading through and seeing if they would either be connected or signified Nope Not even thatWhy?Because fuck logicThe writing style was so drab that it made this book practically unreadable The stories themselves were interesting but they shone about as brightly as a 1 watt lightbulb It's so literal that it hurtsPoint of view is also mixed up in some sections of the book especially when we approach the dreaded dialogue walls Conversations in each one are between three people or with no indication of who is saying whatHow many?Five including me But what about the student body?Not sure yetDo you know who said what? No? GOOD

  9. Richard Knight Richard Knight says:

    Some stories in this book are infuriating Some are inspiring And some are distinctly familiar But all of them are excellent and I recommend this book to any Muslim hating SOB and I know a few out there since it shows how Muslims are not so different from anybody else Because of course they're not They're human And we're all in this together

  10. Eugene Eugene says:

    all history is biography bayoumi shows us again and again and again with these only occasionally sentimental sometimes triumphant and very very often heartbreaking profiles of young arab america these portraits of brooklynites show a pervasive racism that i'll admit was profoundly unfamiliar to me profound not only because these documented injustices occurred close by down the block and up the hall but profound too because i'd naively assumed that for the most part your cruder traditional variety of racist act had largely been replaced by the subtler slicker and insidious prejudices of a PC age turns out though to some the oldies are still the goodiesBut the traders at the exchange used to harass Sade constantly They would crumple paper into balls as if they were stones and throw them at him 'Go back to Palestine' they'd yell and laugh When he wouldn't laugh back they'd retort with 'Hey we do it because we love you' But Sade didn't buy it On other occasions they would scream 'Don't blow yourself up' to him On uiet days someone would run right up to him and bang chests yelling 'Ba BOOM' Then the other traders would fall over in hysterics Then one day shortly afterward the director called Sade into her office to tell him that he had to go To this day Sade is convinced that the termination order came from on high a cleansing of Arabs from New York's fragile cathedral of international commerce 192 3 For Palestinian kids in American high schools their keffiyahs matter unlike other kids they don't have a country to lay claim to so they hold tightly to their symbols Once when he was a junior one of his English teachers passed him in the stairwell while his hatta was on his shoulders She stopped above him peered down at the scarf and spit out the uestions to him 'What does that mean?' she said 'You hate all Jews?' He was stupefied 'Nah It's not like that ' he said 'It's just traditional' He resented the idea that the hatta and by association his culture and ethnic origin could be interpreted as hatred 127Before the attacks the American popular imagination was essentially blind to Arabs and Muslims After the attacks however they have formally entered American discourse around race and with a bang 'Black New Yorkers joke among themselves about their own reprieve from racial profiling' explained a New York Times article from October 2001 'Even the language of racial grievance has shifted Overnight the cries about driving while black have become flying while brown' 133 4an excerpt from NEW YORK magazine

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How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America[BOOKS] ✬ How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America By Moustafa Bayoumi – The story of how young Arab and Muslim Americans are forging lives for themselves in a country that often mistakes them for the enemyArab and Muslim Americans are the new largely undiscussed “proble The story of how young It Feel Kindle Ò Arab and Muslim Americans are forging lives for themselves in a country that often mistakes them for the enemyArab and Muslim Americans are the new largely undiscussed “problem” of American society their lives no better understood than those of African Americans a century ago Under the cover of the terrorist attacks the wars in Afghanistan and Ira and the explosion of political violence around the world a fundamental misunderstanding of the Arab and Muslim American communities has been allowed to fester and even to define the lives How Does Kindle - of the seven twentysomething men and women whom we meet in this book Their names are Rami Sami Akram Lina Yasmin Omar and Rasha and they all live in Brooklyn New York which is home to the largest number of Arab Americans in the United StatesWe meet Sami an Arab American Christian who navigates the minefield of associations the public has of Arabs as well as the expectations that Muslim Arab Americans have of him as a marine who fought in the Ira war And Rasha who along with her parents sister and Does It Feel PDF/EPUB Á brothers was detained by the FBI in a New Jersey jail in early Without explanation she and her family were released several months later As drama of all kinds swirls around them these young men and women strive for the very things the majority of young adults desire opportunity marriage happiness and the chance to fulfill their potential But what they have now are lives that are less certain and difficult than they ever could have imagined workplace discrimination warfare in their countries of origin government surveillance the disappearance of friends or Does It Feel to Be PDF \ family threats of vigilante violence and a host of other problems that thrive in the age of terrorAnd yet How Does It Feel to Be a Problem takes the raw material of their struggle and weaves it into an unforgettable and very American story of promise and hope In prose that is at once blunt and lyrical Moustafa Bayoumi allows us to see the world as these men and women do revealing a set of characters and a place that indelibly change the way we see the turbulent past and yet still hopeful future of this country.