"From Veils to Thongs" by Dalel B. Khalil

From Veils to Thongs: An Arab Chick’s Survival Guide to Balancing One’s Ethnic Identity in America
Dalel B. Khalil
Create Space • $15.95

In today’s political climate and America’s ongoing war in the Middle East, it is a tough time for any Easterner living in the United States, but even without these external factors, many foreigners fight an eternal battle between tradition and assimilation.

According to Dalel B. Khalil, a University of Pittsburgh graduate and former Pittsburgh resident, this is especially true for Arabic women. In From Veils to Thongs: An Arab Chick’s Survival Guide to Balancing One’s Ethnic Identity in America, Khalil’s first book, she talks about some of the serious issues that Arabic women in the U.S. must deal with and yet often feel powerless to change: “One who is both Arab and American is very often very confused. Her one foot is planted firmly in a traditional world whose cultural rules haven’t changed in over 2,000 years. Her other foot is skidding on a thin piece of ice, the mega-liberal free-for-all, called America. And she is trying to balance walking on both.”

As a Syrian-American who “survived growing up in the cross-fire of two of the most diametrically opposed cultures, the East and the West,” Khalil is no doubt an expert on the subject of assimilation. And though dealing with a potentially serious subject (especially considering the current xenophobic climate of our country), Khalil instead chooses a tongue-in-cheek approach, presenting her ideas as a self-help book—but one that relies heavily on humor to educate and help.

Obviously this book is not intended to be for everyone, but rather it “is for the girl who survived a life full of contradictions—of being raised in one culture while, at the same time, living in the extreme other. And it is for every ethnic minority who, at this very moment, lives directly in the cross fire of the final ‘war of the worlds’—the Old World versus the New World.”

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