Just over a century ago, W.E.B. Du Bois posed a probing question in his classic The Souls of Black Folk: “How does it feel to be a problem?” Today, Arab and Muslim Americans, the newest minorities in the American imagination, are the latest “problem” of American society, and their answers to Du Bois’ question increasingly define what being American means today.
In a wholly revealing portrait of a community that lives next door and yet a world away, Moustafa Bayoumi introduces us to the individual lives of seven twenty-something men and women living in Brooklyn, home to the largest number of Arab Americans in the United States. Through telling real stories about young people in Brooklyn, Bayoumi jettisons the & stereotypes and clichés that constantly surround Arabs and Muslims and allows us instead to enter their worlds and experience their lives. We meet Rasha, Sami, Lina, Akram, Yasmin, Omar and Rami and discover through them often-unseen entanglements: government surveillance and detentions, workplace discrimination, warfare in their countries of origin, threats of vigilante violence, the infiltration of spies and informants into their midst, and the disappearance of friends or family. As their lives turn on the winds of global conflicts, these young Arab Americans manage the major issues of our day while forging the contours of our future society.
The discussion with author Moustafa Bayoumi will be moderated by Andrew Ross, Professor and Chair of the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU.
Moustafa Bayoumi is an Associate Professor of English at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. He is co-editor of The Edward Said Reader and has published academic essays in Transition, Interventions, The Yale Journal of Criticism, Amerasia, Arab Studies Quarterly, The Journal of Asian American Studies, and other places. His writings have also appeared in Nation, The London Review of Books, and The Village Voice.
Co-sponsored by: The NYU Center for Multicultural Education and Programs