Conditional Citizens

Conditional Citizens

On Belonging in America

Book - 2020
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A New York Times Editors' Choice
Named a Best Book of the Year by Time , NPR, Bookpage and the L.A. Times .
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize­­-finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth--such as national origin, race, and gender--that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today.

Lalami poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained that keeps the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people with whom America embraces with one arm and pushes away with the other.

Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together Lalami's own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture.
Publisher: New York :, Pantheon Books,, 2020, ©2020.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781524747169
Branch Call Number: 323. 60973 LAL
Characteristics: 191 pages ; 22 cm


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Nov 14, 2020

More effective and better put than "Caste".

Nov 01, 2020

Lalami, in a very measured way, uses her personal experience to explore the question of citizenship in terms of race, gender, religion and especially class. This thoughtful book deserves a wide readership in the USA.

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