Key Tools to Maintain National Identity

Topics: Middle East, Culture, Civil and political rights Pages: 4 (1468 words) Published: November 13, 2010
Key Tools to Maintain National Identity
In “States”, Edward Said expresses his strong belief in Palestinians maintaining their national identity. National identity “refers both to the distinguishing features of the group, and to the individual’s sense of belonging to it” (Wikipedia). This idea of national identity can be linked directly with ideas of both Kenji Yoshino in his book, Covering: The New Civil Rights, as well as Mary Louise Pratt’s lecture called, Arts of the Contact Zone, whom both direct their arguments to increasingly diverse nations, specifically America. Palestinian can maintain their national identity by utilizing several ideas of Said, Pratt, and Yoshino, as well as through modern advances within transportation and communication.

Palestinians, who no longer have a country of their own, and who are in exile in basically every other country located in the Middle East, have faced an issue of maintaining their national identity. Palestinians, at times, must turn to “covering”, a term used by Yoshino, which is defined as “to tone down a disfavored identity to fit into the mainstream” (Yoshino, Preface). America has become very diverse and the people are very accepting of other cultures and nationalities, however, due to the events of September 11, 2001, many Palestinians, as well as others from the Middle East or those who simply look Middle Eastern, have had to “cover”. For example, some Middle Eastern women have decided that while in America they would not wear their traditional Islamic head covering, called a “hijab”. They would have to turn away certain cultural aspects of themselves, simply to fit into the mainstream so that they are not considered to be threats nor scoffed at. Middle Easterns having to cover, such as those women who refuse to wear their “hijab” while in America, would then lead to assimilation, another term used often by Yoshino. Assimilation is when an immigrant or any other minority loses their own cultural...
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