Addressing Otherness and Embracing A "Despised" Difference in El Guindi's Work
The current study examines the process of othering through which minorities in the USA experience marginalization and exclusion from the dominant society. It focuses on the concepts of othering and belonging to explain the complexity of Arab Americans’ dilemma post 9/11 and problematizes the mainstream’s construction of “otherness.” The discussion is centered around perceptions of "the other" in the minds of White America, particularly, the Arab American “other” as represented in selections from Yussef El Guindi’s literary work. This study contributes to the ongoing dialogue about the insider/ outsider position Arab Americans occupy, simultaneously, and reveals the constant tension and frictions taking place between privileged Whites and “the other” increasing their unbelonging and displacement. It also proposes certain methods to engage with the other and reduce the fear and estrangement of this group. El Guindi's work represents Arab American literature which has worked toward humanizing the Arab race to raise the public's awareness of the injustice inflicted on them, and to unsettle the binaries between “us” and “them” and the hegemonic narratives that perpetuate the rhetoric of fear of "the other."
Keywords— Belonging, "the other," Arab American, El Guindi, September 11, Identity.