Lecture Eleven: Current Debates in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration [November 25,
Elia, Nada. 2006. “Islamophobia and the Privileging of Arab American Women,” NWSA Journal
18(3): 155-61.Favor Muslim women over men, men as enemy of state and women as victims.
Main oppressors of women are the male family members and not the American society
- Men should be exiled, menaces
- Muslim men are erased from the culture, the only time they are in pop culture is when
they are portrayed as terrorists
- The veil as the greatest evil, when other areas are ignored, such as access to education,
- Arab men are especially being silenced, deported, and imprisoned, etc. Women have to
speak up and fend for themselves. As their male acquaintances are deported, they
remain in Canada and they have to represent their race and religion. The article talks
about how they have to assimilate to the culture and they would do anything more
American women would do. But the article points out that because they don’t want boys,
there are only girls.
- Arab American women are given the freedom of expression, because of sexism. They
talk about Arab men getting mass arrested and deported, while talking about other topics
such as deteriorating welfare and health care.
- Liberalizing women as an excuse to go to war and such
- Pivots on axis of intersectionality. After 9/11 you see this somewhat invisible group
become visible – racialized to be the “white” American.
- The racialization is different according to gender. Muslim women are framed in
mainstream American discourse as powerless victims. Muslim men are fundamental
threat to western society, irredeemable subject. How do you treat the difference between
the two groups? Prop women up as worth saving, give them a public platform, and men
would disappear in different ways. Policy plus public group makes one group visible and
other other invisible.
- Arabs have been largely erased from American political discourse despite not being a
minority group. You can trace the lineage of Arabs in America as a well-established group
of immigrants, but they are largely invisible as a major group. The state’s race gets talked
about is like the 5 food groups model – white, black, Asian, Latino. In terms of
progressive multiculturalism, the different ways where Sesame street and diverse
employing etc., they can’t be found.
- They don’t exist in our history as popular group, not in pop culture, etc. They are in non-
progressive mainstream media. They are seen as evil, the foreigners, terrorist, etc. These
are things we can track from before 9/11. But you have this moment of racialization, you
have this moment where Arab culture and dress get squashed together with Muslim. Arab
American women now become in demand after 9/11 as liberal speakers, etc. they have
new attention, and become a vehicle into American assimilation – i.e. bringing kids to
soccer practice, etc. Those are key points to establish normality.
- These women are trapped, where they want to save the men but also be part of the
assimillist project. - The Arab and African American women role in politics become a very baseline, superficial
educational program for the public. They get sent to the public, refute stereotypes and
introduce their religion. They do preliminary work as opposed to divulging on more
serious topics – damage control.
- Almost an extra credit program of fame, fortune, etc. where if women