How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

by

Moustafa Bayoumi

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Keffiyah (Hatta) Term Analysis

A kind of traditional scarf generally worn around the head in the Middle East. The black-and-white Palestinian variety has become a common symbol of protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Keffiyah (Hatta) 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 Keffiyah (Hatta) or refer to Keffiyah (Hatta). For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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

It seems barely an exaggeration to say that Arab and Muslim Americans are constantly talked about but almost never heard from. The problem is not that they lack representations but that they have too many. And these are all abstractions. Arabs and Muslims have become a foreign-policy issue, an argument on the domestic agenda, a law-enforcement priority and a point of well-meaning concern. They appear as shadowy characters on terror television shows, have become objects of sociological inquiry, and get paraded around as puppets for public diplomacy. Pop culture is awash with their images. Hookah cafés entice East Village socialites, fashionistas appropriate the checkered keffiyah scarf, and Prince sings an ode to a young Arab-American girl. They are floating everywhere in the virtual landscape of the national imagination, as either villains of Islam or victims of Arab culture. Yet as in the postmodern world in which we live, sometimes when you are everywhere, you are really nowhere.

Related Characters: Moustafa Bayoumi (speaker)
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
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Keffiyah (Hatta) Term Timeline in How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

The timeline below shows where the term Keffiyah (Hatta) appears in How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Akram
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Arab American Identities Theme Icon
...because of his sense of humor. But he claims his Palestinian heritage by wearing a keffiyah (or hatta) , a traditional scarf, which a teacher once misinterpreted as a sign of anti-Semitism. (Bayoumi... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Arab American Identities Theme Icon
...Akram’s teachers confronts him: “where are your scarves now?” The next day, he brings five hattas to school and hands them out to friends, to make a point to the teacher—but... (full context)