Issues Facing Arab-American Writers

  • Lack of basic knowledge in the publishing world and in the general population about Arabs in the U.S. and abroad, a condition that permits mass media to proliferate stereotypes of Arabs as terrorists, religious fanatics, wealthy sheiks or playboys.
  • Perception that Arab‐American journalists, especially those reporting on Middle Eastern topics, will not be balanced, while journalists who are not of Arab descent are presumed to report objectively.
  • Paucity of publications that seek writing by Arab Americans.
  • Most U.S. media are not interested in the points of view of Arab Americans.
  • Pressure to assimilate has led to self‐censorship. Until recently, some Arab‐American writers have downplayed their ethnicity.
  • Lack of awareness in the general population of Arab‐American writers such as novelists Diana Abu‐Jaber (Jordanian American), Ahdaf Soueif (Egyptian American), and Mona Simpson (Syrian American), and nonfiction writers Edward Said (Palestinian American) and Joanna Kadi (Lebanese American); and poets Naomi Shihab Nye (Palestinian American), Khaled Mattawa (Libyan American) and Lameeʹa Abbas Amara (Iraqi American).