How Does It Feel To Be A Problem?


An eye-opening look at how young Arab- and Muslim- Americans are forging lives for themselves in a country that often mistakes them for the enemy.

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? Now, Moustafa Bayoumi asks the same about America’s new “problem”-Arab- and Muslim-Americans. Bayoumi takes readers into the lives of seven twenty-somethings living in Brooklyn, home to the largest Arab-American population in the United States. He moves beyond stereotypes and clichés to reveal their often unseen struggles, from being subjected to government surveillance to the indignities of workplace discrimination. Through it all, these young men and women persevere through triumphs and setbacks as they help weave the tapestry of a new society that is, at its heart, purely American.

Moustafa Bayoumi was born in Zürich, Switzerland, and raised in Canada. He earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University and is Professor of English at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. He is the author of This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror, which was chosen as a Best Book of 2015 by The Progressive magazine and awarded the Arab American Book Award for Non-Fiction. He edited Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: the Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How It Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict and is co-editor of The Edward Said Reader. How Does It Feel To Be a Problem? won an American Book Award and the Arab American Book Award for Non-Fiction. Bayoumi is also a frequent contributor to The Guardian, and his writing has appeared in The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, The National,, The London Review of Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other publications. He is the recipient of two excellence in teaching awards, a 2011 Culture and Achievement Award from the Network of Arab American Professionals, and a 2016 Pathmaker to Peace Award from the organization Brooklyn for Peace. In 2015, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Southern Vermont College. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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