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How Does It Feel To Be A 'Problem?'

by Lee Hill
Sep 12, 2008

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Yesterday, we marked seven years since Sept. 11, when nearly 3,000 lost their lives to a catastrophe that gripped that nation. It's amazing how one Tuesday morning forever changed the way many of us see the world ... and how the world sees many of us.

On yesterday's program, we introduced you to a new book by Moustafa Bayoumi called How Does it Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America. Bayoumi explained the book's effort to spotlight the experiences of seven young Arab-Americans who had a tough time navigating life in a post-Sept. 11 United States, where complicated public perceptions of the attacks gave birth to new brands of stereotypes, fueling widespread discrimination.

Yasmin (we're using her first name only here for sensitive reasons related to the subject matter), is one of the seven young people whose stories Moustafa Bayoumi tells in his book. After recording the TMM conversation you heard yesterday with Bayoumi, Yasmin later talked with us (and now, with you), specifically, about hurdles she faced as an Arab-American youth. She shares wisdom gained from her adversity and, all in all, how it felt to 'be a problem.'

Here's the TMM Web Extra:

The experience of Omar, a young man of blended Latino and Arab heritage, is another one the seven stories written about in Bayoumi's new book. In another TMM Web Extra conversation, Omar tells Michel Martin how his life somehow shifted gears after interning at the New York bureau of Al-Jazeera television, a popular Arabic language news network.

Listen for yourself:

If you're Arab-American and can identify with Yasmin or Omar's experiences, or if you're of another ethnic background, and see parallels that can be drawn alongside other forms of discrimination in our nation's not-too-distant past, you're free to blog your thoughts and experiences below ...

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