Using Sociological Theory to Defuse Anti-Arab/Muslim Nativism and Accelerate Social Integration
Journal of Applied Social Science
For three days after the 9/11 attacks, hundreds of angry suburbanites gathered to surround and lay siege to the bounded neighborhood hosting the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois. I concluded from a two and one-half year ethnographic study of the post-9/11 experience of Arab Muslims in metropolitan Chicago that the underlying sociological conditions giving rise to these post-9/11 events were racialized and nativist understandings held by a significant proportion of southwest suburban whites that positioned Arab and Muslim Americans as cultural threats to their communities. Armed with this knowledge, I designed a research project, outlined here, that included a social action component with the objective of expediting the social and civic integration of Arab and Muslim Americans in metropolitan Chicago.