Thursday, November 27, 2014

Movie Review: "American Arab" (2013)

Movie"American Arab"
Director: Usama Alshaibi
Year: 2013
Rating: ---
Running Time: 1 hour, 3 minutes
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Usama Alshaibi documents his life and the life of other Arabs living in the United States. He examines the discrimination they have faced, especially post 9/11. 

The amount of discrimination many Arabs in America have faced is sickening. The fact that many media outlets perpetuate this hate only makes it worse. Usama Alshaibi moved to America from Iraq when he was a boy and never really fit in anywhere. He struggled throughout his adolescence with his identity and where he truly belonged in his community. This documentary expands upon this notion on a wider scale and gives many examples of how Americans usually cannot decipher the difference between most people from the Middle East; all of these people are generally lumped into one big group, designated "Arab." This happened to Alshaibi many times in his life. In a few instances, he was even berated, judged, looked at funny, and was once beaten up and called racial slurs during his beating all because his name was Usama (like the mastermind of 9/11). Americans often automatically assume that anyone who is from the Middle East is a Muslim, and this simply isn't true. There are a wide range of sects in the Muslim religion, as well as Middle Easterners who identify as Christian, as Catholic, and even atheist, which Alshaibi considers himself. Even the largest parts of the Muslim world are outside of the Middle East itself. This has only gotten worse post 9/11, and Alshaibi explores how everything changed for Muslim Americans after that tragic day. Racial profiling is even more rampant, especially at airports. There is even a section of this documentary that explores one woman's experience while trying to shop at a store; she was wearing her traditional headscarf inside the store and was attacked by another patron when they tried to rip it off her head. We don't blame all Christians or Catholics or Mormons for the acts of a few nutjobs, so why do we blame all people from the Middle East for 9/11? The double standard is outrageous. Alshaibi does a great job with his short run time in producing an informative and thought-compelling film using his own experiences as his inspiration.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ---
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
To learn more about this movie:
-Like the "American Arab" Facebook page

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