How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

by

Moustafa Bayoumi

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The Student Affairs Coordinator Character Analysis

An administrator at Yasmin’s school who is responsible for overseeing student government. While he is polite and always listens respectfully to Yasmin’s arguments for why she should be allowed to serve on student government despite not being able to attend school dances for religious reasons, he always rejects her requests. When she gets elected class president, he is immensely supportive, and they remain close in the years after she graduates high school.

The Student Affairs Coordinator 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 The Student Affairs Coordinator or refer to The Student Affairs Coordinator . 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.
Yasmin Quotes

“With all due respect to your religion, sir, how long do you think you can control your daughter?”

Related Characters: The Student Affairs Coordinator (speaker), Yasmin
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

I was forced to submit my resignation due to the system's inability to understand my moral obligations. For example, my beliefs prevent me from having anything to do with drinking/dancing. When I was young, the system told me to stand up and fight for what I believe in. While now I am being told to do the exact opposite, instead I should give up what I believe in for some rules and regulations. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for what he believed in and gave up his life for it. I too am taking that same stand by giving up my position to defend what I believe in.

Related Characters: Yasmin (speaker), The Student Affairs Coordinator
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

What hurt me most was that when I won secretary as a Freshman, I felt that I had achieved my dreams and broken a racial barrier that I thought would hold me back. I finally felt that as a Muslim that I was doing something and I could make a difference in the world. I believed people would have confidence in me because of what was in my heart and not prejudice against my outer appearance—I had hope that I could achieve my dreams—but when they took me out I felt different and segregated and it shattered everything I had hoped and dreamed of. Now all I feel is hurt, sadness, and I feel that as a Muslim I can never be something because America is prejudiced so much and will never let people like me succeed no matter how hard we try. I never told anyone that this is what really hurts me and makes me cry. My family doesn't even know that I still cry and that I am still hurt and think about it every day. I felt so bad, and knowing how that feels, I don't want to have anyone else go through what I went through, Muslim or non-Muslim.

Related Characters: Yasmin (speaker), The Student Affairs Coordinator
Page Number: 100-101
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Student Affairs Coordinator Character Timeline in How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

The timeline below shows where the character The Student Affairs Coordinator appears in How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Yasmin
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Faith, Tradition, and Islam Theme Icon
...to go, but the other girls think this might be a problem. She explains to the student affairs coordinator that her religious beliefs preclude her from going to the dance, but he says that... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Justice, Activism, and the Future of American Democracy Theme Icon
The Executive Board meets without Yasmin and agrees with the student affairs coordinator that she has to go to the dance or else resign. The coordinator meets with... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Growing Up and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Justice, Activism, and the Future of American Democracy Theme Icon
...gets nowhere. She begins reading law books at the Brooklyn Public Library and talks to the student affairs coordinator whenever she comes up with a new argument—he always listens patiently but ultimately refutes her... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Faith, Tradition, and Islam Theme Icon
Growing Up and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Yasmin continues corresponding with CAIR and arguing her case with the student affairs coordinator ; she also convinces her sister Mariam to run for freshman representative and add on... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Justice, Activism, and the Future of American Democracy Theme Icon
...to bring to trial, and Yasmin’s father cannot afford this price tag. Yasmin notes when the student affairs coordinator lets Greek students out of a bodybuilding event because of a religious conflict and starts... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Growing Up and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Justice, Activism, and the Future of American Democracy Theme Icon
...students’ rights. After two vote counts, the race is still too close to call, and the coordinator of student affairs tells her there would be one more count, although she has the right to ask... (full context)
Growing Up and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Justice, Activism, and the Future of American Democracy Theme Icon
Yasmin is a well-respected and successful class president; the coordinator of student affairs even writes her a college recommendation, and they are still friends many years later. She... (full context)