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Q&A about Muslims and Arab-Americans
October 2, 2001 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Q&A about Muslims and Arab-Americans
Recommended read for all friends who think they need clarifications.
posted by adnanbwp (15 comments total)

 
Also worthy of note is 100 Questions And Answers About Arab Americans, A Journalist's Guide from the Detroit Free Press.
posted by mrbula at 8:46 AM on October 2, 2001


Also check out Casey Kasem's (top 40?) list of prominent Arab Americans. Some people on the list you might not have known:

Tiny Tim
Doug Flutie
Frank Zappa
Christie McAulliffe (Space Shuttle Challenger teacher)
Bobby Rahal
Paul Anka (actually Canadian)
Tiffany
G.E. Smith
Salma Hayek
posted by cell divide at 9:00 AM on October 2, 2001


Vic Tayback!
posted by aaron at 9:50 AM on October 2, 2001


I think the main thing that most Americans put out of their mind: We are all Americans. Unless you were born in a foriegn country and were nationalized in the United stated, you should not use a hyphenated prefix before "American". African American? not unless you were born there. American of African Heritage? sure. Same with any group.

A M E R I C A N.

The hypenated prefix only perpetuates a mentality of racism and segregation.
posted by eljuanbobo at 10:06 AM on October 2, 2001


I'm a bit puzzled; many of the enlightened Muslims attempting to diffuse tension by distancing Islam fom the whole concept of terrorism don't seem to object to some odd practices that do occur in many Muslim cultures: lopping off the hand of a petty thief, stoning adulterers, etc. Are these considered acceptable by the religion itself or are they abberations that merely occur in a few too many Middle Eastern countries? Are they local practices decried by the mullahs? Are they archaic practices that the various governments are actively attempting to stamp out (much like India claims to condemn the caste system)?
posted by RavinDave at 10:30 AM on October 2, 2001


The hypenated prefix only perpetuates a mentality of racism and segregation.

Well said! Otherwise you'd all be hyphenated, starting with the English-Americans. The great think about the U.S. is that everybody is hyphenated so the hyphen should indeed be invisible.
Hyphenating is anti-American. And even this hyphen should be outlawed as well.
Thanks all for the links.

P.S. Are links the hyphens of the Internet?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:37 AM on October 2, 2001


eljuanbobo, I strongly agree, but it's worth pointing out that saying such before September 11th quite likely would have resulted in severe verbal beatings. Before that day I knew many Americans who preferred distancing themselves from their country. Since then many of them have changed their minds, or, at least, shut up.
posted by mrbula at 10:53 AM on October 2, 2001


you should not use a hyphenated prefix before "American". African American? not unless you were born there. American of African Heritage? sure. Same with any group.

I think the hyphenation is intended more as an abbreviation of "American of <insert ancestral origin here> Heritage." I really don't see it as a distancing mechanism. Its entirely possible to be American ideologically (i.e., rule of law, equality etc.) and simultaneously maintain one's culture and/or ethnicity.

America has no culture of its own historically. All of it was brought here from somewhere else, with the exception of the native tribal cultures. So what if someone wants to identify publicly with both? That's the sort of freedom that makes America what it is.

I envy people who know their ancestry. I wish I knew my own, it would give me some sense of identity other than "consumer."


posted by zodiac at 12:31 PM on October 2, 2001


what do you call somebody who's dad was born in the Warsaw Ghetto and who's Mom is a black Antillean? A Jewish-African-Polish-Hispanic--American? JAPHA? Hmmm..
posted by signal at 12:31 PM on October 2, 2001


America has no culture of its own historically.

Some of us prefer to make it up as we go along.
posted by rushmc at 5:00 PM on October 2, 2001


I'm keeping my hyphen (African-American). Anybody who wants to lose theirs, it's cool with me. Trouble is, casting it off doesn't stop people from messing with me. I'd like to be treated like an American, you know, aside from times when we're all stunned and hurt. The Current Situation doesn't seem to stop Arab-Americans and Indian-Americans from getting shot or assaulted.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 5:19 PM on October 2, 2001


Trouble is, casting it off doesn't stop people from messing with me.

Just curious...does keeping it on?

I don't understand the rationale of blaming the vast majority, who would never dream of assaulting an Arab-American in imagined retaliation for the terrorist acts of (dead) Islamic extremists, for the actions of those few stupids who do. It seems to me that, in doing so, those doing the blaming merely create resentment and turn their natural allies against them.
posted by rushmc at 5:23 PM on October 2, 2001


eljuanbobo and mrbula: With respect and a feeling of love, I say I'm not interested in beating anyone up verbally. I just feel lately that when I hear how much we are all Americans, I recall how much of American history and experience is caught up in *grin* melting-hyphen-pots and tossed-hyphen-salad theories. Like lots of Americans, I was shocked by 9/11. Unlike every American, I know what ignorance and hate motivates some Americans -- like the Latino man who killed that Sikh man in Arizona, or the black guy in this Examiner piece -- to do, and I don't feel they were thinking about hyphens as dividers or artifical barriers against American-style belonging. No terrorist cares about the quality of my Americanness; my anger aside, I feel my African-Americanness is an issue I'm not willing to shunt aside or wrap in red, white and blue bunting for the sake of a show of unity.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 5:43 PM on October 2, 2001


Just curious...does keeping it on?

No, keeping it on doesn't stop anyone committed to messing with me. People who do so don't quibble over labels; they just go on what they see (difference). I'll concede this, though: The folks whom you call stupids don't present the standard by which I want to judge all Americans and allies against racism and terrorism.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 5:48 PM on October 2, 2001


People who do so don't quibble over labels; they just go on what they see (difference).

Oddly, that is something that I share with them. I don't put any stock in labels either. I go on what I see, too. But it's not difference that I look for, which is where I (critically) differ.

Not everyone will be motivated to overcome their longstanding prejudices in a rush to recognize and embrace ALL Americans as Americans, clearly. Some may. I would hope, at least, that recent events would give some pause to consider the costs of irrational hate.
posted by rushmc at 7:40 PM on October 2, 2001


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