Navigating the Ethnic Cultures: The Complexity of Arab American Identity in Literature

  • Bahir Ibrahim Taha General Directorate of Salahuddin Education, Ministry of Education, Iraq
Keywords: Crescent, Arab American Identity, Ethnicity, Borderlands


This paper explores the underrepresentation of Arab American literature in the ethnic canon and the ambiguous racial classification of Arab Americans in the US. Caught between white and minority racial categories, Arab Americans are often isolated from both. To address this issue, the concept of the ethnic borderland, as defined by Gloria Anzaldúa, provides a space for dialogue and interaction between diverse communities of color. Diana Abu-Jaber's novel Crescent exemplifies this borderland by depicting multiple minority groups coexisting in the same ethnic and geographical territory. Arab American writers offer a unique and nuanced perspective on the multifaceted nature of identity within the ethnic borderland through their literary works. Their texts provide a rich understanding of the complexities of Arab American experiences, challenging simplistic and narrow views of identity. Creating meaningful connections that foster inclusivity and reject ethnic stereotypes is essential for bridging the divide between diverse communities within the ethnic borderland. Works such as This Bridge Called My Back and this bridge we call home encourage more expansive and inclusive expressions of the self, making the ethnic borderland a more inclusive and welcoming space. Successfully bridging ethnic borderlands requires an in-depth understanding of the intricate dynamics of individual and relational identity, as well as a concerted effort to confront and dismantle the exclusionary boundaries that marginalize and separate communities. By working towards more inclusive and equitable communities, we can create a more hospitable and accepting society.


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How to Cite
Bahir Ibrahim Taha. (2023). Navigating the Ethnic Cultures: The Complexity of Arab American Identity in Literature. Central Asian Journal of Literature, Philosophy and Culture, 4(9), 89-94. Retrieved from