By Sarah M. A. Gualtieri
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Additional resources for Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian American Diaspora
Rather than characterize the history of Syrian immigrants during this period as a gradual 14 Introduction slide toward Anglo-conformity and the attendant loss of “old world” identities, I describe a process in which they actively deﬁned themselves as Syrian and American at the same time. 42 This book explores two central questions in Syrian ethnicization: To what race did they think they belonged and to what nation? Syrian immigrants posed and answered these questions in newspapers, coffee shops, churches, mosques, courtrooms, and kitchens in an effort to understand how their lives were at once similar and different in the United States.
I examine how Syrians from California to New York mobilized around the cases, and I discuss the evolution of their argument in support of a racial classiﬁcation as white. Chapter 3 explores connections between emergent national and diasporic identities in the pre−World War I and early Mandate periods. I focus on Syrian American participation at the 1913 Arab Congress in Paris, where the discourses of nationalism, migration, race, and modernity came together in new ways. In chapter 4, I examine the lynching of the Syrian grocer Nola Romey in Lake City, Florida, in 1929.
Our conversation was ﬁlled with many awkward moments. I asked him something in Arabic. My Syrian friend re-asked the question in the heavy dialect of Nebik, and Ahmed answered him, not me. The only time he directly engaged me was when he found out I spoke a bit of Spanish. ” I could 18 Introduction have, but that would have meant translating back into Arabic for my Syrian host, who had kindly introduced me to Ahmed. If I had learned anything since beginning this project, it was that something always gets lost in translation.