Islamophobia has long been a part of the problem of racism in the United States, and it has only gotten worse in the wake of shocking terror attacks, the ongoing refugee crisis, and calls from public figures like Donald Trump for drastic action. As a result, the number of hate crimes committed against Middle Eastern Americans of all origins and religions have increased, and civil rights advocates struggle to confront this striking reality.
In Islamophobia and Racism in America, Erik Love draws on in-depth interviews with Middle Eastern American advocates. He shows that, rather than using a well-worn civil rights strategy to advance reforms to protect a community affected by racism, many advocates are choosing to bolster universal civil liberties in the United States more generally, believing that these universal protections are reliable and strong enough to deal with social prejudice. In reality, Love reveals, civil rights protections are surprisingly weak, and do not offer enough avenues for justice, change, and community reassurance in the wake of hate crimes, discrimination, and social exclusion.
A unique and timely study, Islamophobia and Racism in America wrestles with the disturbing implications of these findings for the persistence of racism—including Islamophobia—in the twenty-first century. As America becomes a “majority-minority” nation, this strategic shift in American civil rights advocacy signifies challenges in the decades ahead, making Love’s findings essential for anyone interested in the future of universal civil rights in the United States.
"As scholars and students grapple with how to understand the role of race in the situation of Muslim Americans, the book provides a dynamic historical account and a forceful argument about race and advocacy that will nourish productive and thoughtful debate among scholars and in the classroom."
"Poses crucial questions about the future of race and activism in America . . . Through extensive historical and sociological research, Love sets out to map the ecosystem of organizations claiming to speak for Middle Eastern Americans, and interrogates their use (or lack thereof) of race based language, organizing, and advocacy strategies."
"Invaluable for its detailed chronicle of Muslim-American activism and its careful attention to the fascinating complexities, dilemmas, and paradoxes of racial identity."
“Wedding institutional analysis with rigorous empirical research, Love shows how Middle Eastern American political identity was born at the intersection of state policy and societal hostility. Original, timely, and chillingly lucid, this work falls within the best traditions of sociology, critical race theory, and institutional history.”
—Hisham Aidi, author of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture
“In Islamophobia and Racism in America, Erik Love traces the roots and practices of discriminatory images and policies against South Asian, Muslim, Middle Eastern and Sikh communities. Especially in today’s political climate, his book is a necessary reminder that Americans must understand the context in which Islamophobia developed and the role it plays today.”
—Deepa Iyer, author of We Too Sing America
“An important look at the rise of Islamophobia in the United States and the activists who work to fight it.”
—Mehdi Bozorgmehr, author of Backlash 9/11: Middle Eastern and Muslim Americans Respond
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