How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

by

Moustafa Bayoumi

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Tobacco smoked through a large water pipe (a hookah), a common social activity in the Arab world and among Arab immigrant communities in places like Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Shisha 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 Shisha or refer to Shisha. 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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Shisha Term Timeline in How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?

The timeline below shows where the term Shisha 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
Growing Up and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Justice, Activism, and the Future of American Democracy Theme Icon
Akram sometimes hangs out with his friends at unassuming shisha cafés in Bay Ridge, although he does not smoke. (Like the often Muslim-run Dunkin’ Donuts... (full context)
Omar
Arab American Identities Theme Icon
Faith, Tradition, and Islam Theme Icon
Growing Up and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
At a Bay Ridge shisha café, Omar tells Bayoumi how the engagement would go: his grandfather would call Nadine’s father... (full context)
Arab American Identities Theme Icon
Growing Up and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Justice, Activism, and the Future of American Democracy Theme Icon
...in Chile. He looks the part, too; people scarcely recognize him as Arab, even at shisha cafés in Bay Ridge. This makes the discrimination he experiences all the more frustrating. It... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Foreign Policy Theme Icon
Arab American Identities Theme Icon
Justice, Activism, and the Future of American Democracy Theme Icon
At the shisha café Meena House, Omar and a number of his friends talk with Bayoumi about work... (full context)