How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

by

Moustafa Bayoumi

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A 24-year-old Palestinian-American who appears briefly in the book’s introduction and penultimate chapter. He used to have a comfortable job working for commodities traders in New York and even managed to get his brother hired at the same company, but his colleagues constantly berated him with Islamophobic and anti-Arab slurs, and his boss fired both him and his brother after finding out that his brother was born in Jerusalem. Sade was anxious and depressed for a whole year, barely able to sleep. Later, however, he found work at a technology company whose other employees were also mostly immigrants; he is now delighted to be surrounded by people who better understand his experience, but at the beginning of Bayoumi’s preface he is also upset to have learned that one of his friends was actually an undercover spy investigating terrorism. He tells Bayoumi that Arabs are “the new blacks” in the United States.

Sade Quotes in How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

The How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? quotes below are all either spoken by Sade or refer to Sade. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? published in 2008.
Preface Quotes

The last several years have taken their toll. I ask him about life after September 11 for Arab Americans. “We're the new blacks,” he says. “You know that, right?”

Related Characters: Moustafa Bayoumi (speaker), Sade (speaker)
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sade Character Timeline in How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

The timeline below shows where the character Sade appears in How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
...and smoking with his friends at a hookah café in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, 24-year-old Palestinian-American Sade is distraught to have learned that someone he considered a friend was actually an undercover... (full context)
Omar
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Arab American Identities Theme Icon
Omar’s anxiety about hiring discrimination is common among Arab Americans of his age. Sade, the young man from the preface, was a successful “point clerk” on the commodities trading... (full context)