FROM WAYNE BAKER: This week, we welcome Joe Grimm, editor of the Michigan State University School of Journalism’s series of guides to cultural competence.
People of Arab descent have lived in the United States for well more than a hundred years. Yet, after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, there was a sudden interest in knowing more about them. There was also a spike in apprehension both about Arab Americans and by them.
Arab Americans became double victims.
As Americans—most Arab Americans were born on U.S. soil—their homeland had been attacked. As people of Arab ancestry, some suspected they had connections to terrorists. There was even retaliatory attacks and profiling.
The updated guide 100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans comes from a guide that was actually published before Sept. 11.
The basis for the guide was questions that Arab Americans regularly encountered. Those included:
Are Arab Americans more loyal to their home countries or to America?
Why did they come here?
Where do they live?
Which are the Arab countries? Is Iran one of them? What religions do they practice?
The Bias Busters series modeled on the Arab Americans guide is designed with four qualities in mind. The guides are written with respect for the groups they cover and for the people who ask the questions. Answers are vetted and edited for accuracy. The answers are checked by experts to be authoritative. Finally, guides are written and published to be accessible. All the guides are in paper and eBook format and available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo and others.
This guide, like the others, is meant to make people feel comfortable asking questions of their own and learning more.
What would you like to know about Arab Americans?
Other than books and the Internet, how do you get your information about other cultures?
JOE GRIMM is visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism and editor of the Bias Busters guides to cultural competence. He spent more than 25 years at the Detroit Free Press, 18 of them as its recruiter. You can read more about the series on its website at: http://news.jrn.msu.edu/culturalcompetence/