Arab American Racialization and its Affect on American Islamophobia
Over the past few years, anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric and discrimination has surged. Prejudice against Arabs and Muslims has moved from the fringes of American society to the mainstream. The American Islamophobic discourse is so deeply rooted in U.S. history, culture, and society that we often misunderstand its origins as well as its manifestations. This paper proposes a critical dialogue about how to understand one contested concept (Islamophobia) by using another contested one (racialization). This paper seeks to understand if--and if so, to what extent--racialization is central to understanding America’s pernicious brand of Islamophobia. In addition to reviewing the historical connection between racialization and Islamophobia, this paper analyzes the results of a survey of Texans’ views of Islam and Muslims. The survey results are used to understand how racialized conceptions of Arab Muslims correspond with Islamophobic tropes.