najla

Being Arab-American

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Hour 2:             What is it like to grow up a Palestinian-Lebanese-American by birth and a WASP by nurture? Performer Najla Said spent much of her life trying to escape her Arab roots. She joins us this hour to talk about finally embracing them in her new memoir “Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family” (Riverhead Hardcover, 2013).

  • RH_Knott

    I look forward to reading your new memoir, Najla. As someone who has spent a great deal of time ruminating on your father’s scholarly work — much of which deals with the shameful treatment of enlightened, cosmopolitan Arabs by condescending Europeans and Americans during the 19th and 20th centuries — I must say that his polite, humane and erudite approach to cross-cultural communication and understanding has always been, for me, one of the most persuasive features of his writing. He invalidated, quite conclusively and for all time, the multitude of crude Orientalist stereotypes conveyed to me by the mainstream media daily through what Marshall McLuhan called the “Mechanical Brides” of Madison Avenue. Of all your father’s various books, over twenty texts written on a broad array of topics, it is his memoir, OUT OF PLACE, which remains my personal favorite. The personal experiences of real people living near to us can oftentimes help illuminate better than anything else the many dark corners of our own environs. There is such a huge amount of misinformation disseminated about Arab-Americans — and such a dearth of writings describing their actual real-life experiences in the U.S. — your memoir will help fill a large void in all of our lives.

  • R.H.Kroell

    I look forward to reading your new memoir, Najla. As someone who has spent a great deal of time ruminating on your father’s scholarly work — much of which deals with the shameful treatment of enlightened, cosmopolitan Arabs by condescending Europeans and Americans during the 19th and 20th centuries — I must say that his polite, humane and erudite approach to cross-cultural communication and understanding has always been, for me, one of the most persuasive features of his writing. He invalidated, quite conclusively and for all time, the multitude of crude Orientalist stereotypes conveyed to me by the mainstream media daily through what Marshall McLuhan called the “Mechanical Brides” of Madison Avenue. Of all your father’s various books, over twenty texts written on a broad array of topics, it is his memoir, OUT OF PLACE, which remains my personal favorite. The personal experiences of real people living near to us can oftentimes help illuminate better than anything else the many dark corners of our own environs. There is such a huge amount of misinformation disseminated about Arab-Americans — and such a dearth of writings describing their actual real-life experiences in the U.S. — your memoir will help fill a large void in all of our lives.

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