Orginal Publication Date
Ethnic Studies Review
In an urban neighborhood with a large Jewish population near my home, there is an Arabic restaurant. Name, menu and ownership mark its ethnic identification, yet its politics are otherwise obscured. An American flag, permanently placed in the restaurant's window since 9/11, greets American customers with a message of reconciliation. I am one of you, it says: come; eat; you are welcome here. In a climate where "Arabs, Arab-Americans and people with Middle Eastern features, everywhere are struggling to merely survive the United States' aggressive drive to 'bring democracy to the Middle East'" (Elia 160) and where the hostility toward Arab Americans is manifest in covert "othering" and aggressive acts of surveillance, detainment and bodily harm, the steady bustle of my neighborhood eatery is of consequence.
Copyright ©ESR, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 2008