Islamophobia and Racism in America
New York University Press
This ambitious sociological study presents two arguments about Islamophobia in America. The first is that, while the term implies a purely religious prejudice, Islamophobia is best understood as a form of racism against many Americans who—regardless of their religion, geographic heritage, or ethnic identity—get sorted as racially "Middle Eastern" or "Muslim." The second is that most Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian advocacy groups have generally opted to use a "colorblind" approach that eschews identifying Islamophobia as racism. In Love's view, this strategy has prevented these groups from forming coalitions that could meaningfully resist a unified prejudice that, like it or not, affects them all. Whether you agree or not, the book is invaluable for its detailed chronicle of Muslim-American activism and its careful attention to the fascinating complexities, dilemmas, and paradoxes of racial identity.
A version of this story originally appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of Pacific Standard.