Post-9/11: Study and Dialogue Will Boost Understanding
Professor Wayne Baker delivered LSA Theme Year lecture on the experiences of Arab Americans in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The climate after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001---which saw a rise in misinformation and negative stereotypes of Arab Americans---can be addressed by recognizing cultural differences and through dialogue, says a Ross School professor.
"It's important to collect the facts and have the Arab American community speak for itself. We need these facts to become a part of our dialogues," said Wayne Baker, professor of management and organizations at the Ross School, during his April 6 lecture "Citizenship, Crisis and Traditional Values."
Baker's talk, part of the LSA theme year "The Theory and Practice of Citizenship: From the Local to the Global," was based on his Detroit Arab American Study. The DAAS was designed to assess the long-term social and political impact of 9/11 on Arab Americans living in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
Fifteen percent of Arab Americans in the Detroit area had at least one bad experience after 9/11, Baker said. Muslim Arab Americans, who make up 42 percent of the local Arab population, have had more difficulty than Christian Arab Americans.
About a third of all Arab Americans had a positive experience after 9/11, such as expressions of solidarity and support from someone who was not of Middle Eastern descent, he said. Those who had a positive experience felt safer and more secure than those who did not.
Led by Baker and Ronald Stockman of UM-Dearborn, the DAAS team included investigators from sociology, political science, anthropology, history and American studies.
The DAAS received a 73 percent response rate, which suggests that the Arab American community strongly supported it, Baker said. Data were collected on citizenship, religion, identity, social capital, values and experiences related to 9/11.
Baker's talk was sponsored by the Ross School of Business, Department of Sociology and Institute for Social Research.
Written by LaToya Johnson
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