Toufic El Rassi’s Graphic Novel: Arab in America
How would you feel if you experienced discrimination on a daily basis? How would you feel if you grew up in the United States but were constantly treated as an outsider? What if the FBI paid a visit to your family for no other reason other than your ethnic background? These are some of the experiences Toufic El Rassi addresses in his beautifully drawn memoir, "Arab in America.” <br><br> El Rassi uses the comic book format and an ironic sense of humor to address attitudes towards Arab Americans as well as U.S. intervention in the Middle East. I appreciated this refreshing approach to politics and identity because it doesn’t shy away from the real issues and instead attacks them head on in a unique style. The original artwork and personal stories draw you in, and before you realize it- you are alternately cringing and laughing along with the character while he tries to fit in with average White Americans and find his place in American society. <br><br> Arab in America is also a good primer for those interested in current events and the Middle East in particular. El Rassi manages to delve into the history of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli crisis and the current U.S. invasion of Iraq, as well as little known cases of ordinary Americans who were interrogated, detained, and/or deported for little more than having the wrong last name or being in the wrong place at the wrong time after September 11, 2001. <br><br> I would recommend this book for fans of graphic novels, students of history and politics and anyone open minded enough to put themselves in the shoes of a young Arab American faced with the constant stereotypes and misinformation prevalent in the American culture.
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