Deeper Dives

Who Are Arab Americans?

Arab Americans constitute an ethnicity made up of several waves of immigrants from the Arabic-speaking countries of southwestern Asia and North Africa that began arriving in the United States during the 19th century. Their regional homeland includes 22 Arab countries, stretching from Morocco in the west to the Arabian (Persian) Gulf in the east. Although a highly diverse U.S. group, Arab Americans descend from a heritage that represents common linguistic, cultural, and political traditions.

Being Middle Eastern American: Identity Negotiation in the Context of the War on Terror

Using inā€depth interviews with naturalized U.S. citizens and immigrants as well as auto-ethnographic data, the author examines the stigma management strategies Middle Eastern Americans deploy, particularly in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. He applies the concepts of interpretive practice and accounting to narratives of disrupted encounters in which Middle Eastern Americans were prompted to explain their identities, and classifies the stigma management strategies this group utilizes into five types of accounting: humorous, educational, defiant, cowering, and passing. This article evaluates the strengths and drawbacks of each accounting type for combating stigma and discusses how these findings inform existing scholarship on the social construction of deviant identities and their management in everyday life.