Written by Laila Lalami, the Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America, is the novelist’s personal account. This is a troubling account of an immigrant, an Arab, and a Muslim. The account is an argument of nature that if one needs to become an American citizen, it does not mean that he/she has to necessarily be a member of the American family. Laila Lalami is a National Book Award finalist for The Other Americans.
About The Author
The author of the novel is Laila Lalami, born in 1968. The author is a Moroccan-American essayist, professor, and novelist. Lalami majorly writes her work on fiction and has achieved several awards and nominations. Lalami has been nominated for National Book Award for Fiction, Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She has been awarded the American Book Award and Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US, and Canada.
About The Book
Laila Lalami, through this book, gives an intense and troubling account of her personal experiences of the past. She recalls and narrates the first time a US customs agent had examined her American passport. She writes in the book that the agent wanted to know how many camels made her husband trade in order to have her. The incident was absolutely disrespectful and brought to light the treatment given to the Arab women and Muslims.
She also talks about several incidents of her life. She talks about the 9/11 attacks, the sexual harassment at work, and President Trump’s border walk. She reflects upon Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She also examines the conditions of the Muslims in American throughout history.
Through her book, Lalami offers insight about sexism and racism in American society. She also talks of the “grey zones” existing between religion, ethnic, and national identities. These are associated with sectarianism and tribalism in the society. According to her, “conditional citizens” are those who have the burden to educate the white Americans about the several differences between the two categories.