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The American Identity Malaise – Analysis


The United States is the land of choice for migrants: it is a welcoming country open to all, a singular melting pot where the most diverse ethnicities, religions and cultures mingle. This plural nation was not built without clashes or violence. For America is, also, the land of exclusion, racism and xenophobia. Germans, Irish, Chinese, “Slavo-Latins”, Jews, Arabs and Hispanics were each in turn considered to be inassimilable… before they were all assimilated. It is this paradox of a country that is both fragmented in its social fabric and endowed with an astonishing capacity for integration. 

This analysis aspires to shed new light on the debates that have constantly opposed supporters of assimilation and supporters of cultural pluralism. The crisis of American identity is inscribed in the very origin of the American nation. It expresses the tension, the ambiguity, the indecisiveness of a nation imagined sometimes as assimilationist and unitary, sometimes as pluralist and multicultural. This crisis, which is America’s good fortune, is never fatal because the most “separatists” do not express territorial claims. But it is long-lasting because of the persistent inequalities between ethnic groups, which have been imperfectly corrected by policies of preferential treatment.

What Is American Identity?

American identity is civic, but it is also ethnic (for more than a century Blacks and Native Americans were excluded from the political contract that founded the nation.) The founding citizens proclaimed themselves “e pluribus unum,” taking into account the cultural diversity of the country. Inter-ethnic conflicts have a very long history and the melting pot so often evoked was more dreamed of than real. It was a geopolitical project that failed and was transformed into its opposite, the right to be different, then multiculturalism, which clearly gave way to an ethnic outbidding. The United States, with its differential treatment (affirmative action), has contributed to the “racialization” of social relations. 

Henry Nau, in a recent book, argues that U.S. foreign policy cannot be understood or explained without reference to identity. He views national identity (the image Americans have of themselves and their country) as a distinct and independent variable that, alongside power, defines national interest and influences behavior. This explanation is therefore intended to complement, not supplant, conventional (neo)realistic explanations. Identity provides the motivation to accumulate power and legitimizes its use. Indeed, the notion of legitimacy is at the heart of national identity (1):

“National identity organizes and motivates national economic and military power and tells us for what political purposes nations legitimize and use their wealth and power. Relative identity and power therefore determine the type of international community in which countries exist; national interests differ between different types of communities.

If the notion of identity is fuzzy, if it is constantly in crisis, if each leader can call on a panoply of concepts linked to collective identity to justify his action (peace for Clinton or absolute security for George W. Bush), and if other variables equally reflect the variations observed, what is the point of asking about the possible causal relationship? (2) 

How can a common image based on American exceptionalism and moralism help us to explain the profound changes in direction or means used in foreign policy (the attitude towards the use of force, in particular a policy of pre-emption (3); post-Cold War internationalism; George W. Bush’s unilateralism)?(4) If both Clinton and Bush can appeal to traditional American values in order to justify the use of very different means to strengthen democracy in the world, it can still be argued that the internal identity prescribes the general direction (promotion of democracy) but its usefulness will nevertheless remain limited. Other variables might then be more promising.

The events of September 11th allowed a very Jacksonian articulation of the place of the United States in the world, based on the need to fight against Evil (fear of the Antichrist), on the community of interests with other nations that share either the status of victim or American values (5), but, also, on the right to act unilaterally and preventively. 

The moralism and Manichaeism that characterize the definition of the problem have deeper roots than Bush’s personal religious convictions (6). Ronald Reagan, the last Jacksonian president, who was not particularly religious, was also, it will be remembered, called the USSR, in a famous phrase, “the Empire of Evil”. 

Calls for universal moral principles that transcend eras and states, the division of the world between the proponents of the immanent international society and the representatives of the forces of darkness are characteristic of the Jacksonian and, to some extent, Wilsonian tradition. But the Jacksonians do not share the latter’s confidence in humanity’s ability to overcome its atavisms; neither Bush nor his collaborators articulate a clear vision of the future world and the conditions for its advent.

“Hyphenated” Identity

American society has the peculiarity of using “hyphenated” socio-ethnic categories such as African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Arab-Americans. This “hyphenated” identity, which seemed stable and functional, exploded into a thousand pieces with the Twin Towers in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Rumors of Arab Americans rejoicing in restaurants following the attacks began to circulate and Islam began to rhyme with “terrorism”, aimed indiscriminately at all Americans of Eastern origin (7). 

The supposed actors of “terror” became the victims of the “hysterical” terror that developed in reaction to these events. Just as the fiction has been concerned with the reasons that can push an individual to perpetrate a terrorist attack, it also deals with the consequences of September 11, 2001: the wars (Afghanistan, Iraq), the Patriot Act (September 26, 2001), and the stigmatization of the Arab-American population.

This paradox underlies Laila Halaby’s novel: “Once in a Promised Land” (8), which constructs scenes where Salwa and Jassim are stigmatized, for example when a client wishes not to work with Salwa on the pretext that she is of Jordanian origin and therefore unable to understand her needs. Although her superior and her colleague take her side, she is still subject to stereotypical images, bad in this case, good in the case of Jake, her lover. Jake learned Arabic a little by chance, but he seduces Salwa because she represents the exoticism, orientalism, sensuality that American culture attributes to oriental women.

In her sociological study on the perception of the Arab-American community in New York after September 11, 2001, Alexandra Parrs raises the definitional uncertainty regarding the “Arab-American” socio-ethnic category (9). Indeed, Alexandra Parrs points out that on census forms, this category is absent, leaving individuals the choice of considering themselves as “white” or “other”. 

Since September 11, not only have attacks against Arab-Americans increased, but official agencies, instead of protecting Arab-Americans, have stepped up their surveillance of this potentially problematic group.” (10)

This situation leads some people to choose to consider themselves as Arab-American and to check the “others” box, while others choose to check the “white” box, simply conceiving of themselves as Americans. The author also points out that all efforts to assimilate and denounce the stereotypes associated with the Arab-American population have been undermined by the attacks, generating new stereotypes and unjustified suspicions about this community which, paradoxically, has become a prime target for aggression while being increasingly monitored by government authorities.

The Debate Of Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is now at the heart of the debates in the United States among politicians, intellectuals and educators. The word is in recent usage and refers to the cultural diversity of the American population, the impact of the influx of immigrants since 1965 and their difficult integration into American society. Multiculturalism is seen by some as threatening the integrity of the American nation, as leading to the balkanization of society, as favoring the dissolution of the social bond to replace it with an ethno-cultural “kaleidoscope”; but it is also an “American model” where discrimination is the subject of debate.

To understand the ins and outs of the multiculturalism debate, one must be aware of the ethno-racial logic that the United States has entered into in recent decades. The American population is officially composed of five distinct groups that constitute, in the words of historian David Hollinger, “an ethno-racial pentagon”: Native Americans, Euro-Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latin Americans are the five official “races” (the accepted term) to which Americans can claim to belong (11). This ethno-racial pentagon makes it possible to affirm the cultural diversity of American society and to justify the claims of certain groups for compensation for past or present discrimination.

The protagonists of the debate accuse each other of being separatists or supporters of a so-called “Eurocentric” domination. They construct a cleavage around two poles: similarity or difference, assimilation or separation, uniformity or fragmentation. For them, the debate tends to boil down to a confrontation between the “traditionalists”, who are in favor of a uniform culture based on Western Civilization as it presented itself at the University in the 1950s, and the progressives, who emphasize difference and diversity. Defenders of multiculturalism rightly complain that their critics associate them with extremist ideologies of an ethnocentric type, and they themselves tend to put all those who criticize the excesses of identity policies under the banner of reactionaries.

The implementation of affirmative action (12) in higher education is one of the other major elements fueling the debate on multiculturalism in universities. Conceived in the 1960s, in the wake of civil rights legislation, affirmative action programs – admissions programs to admit applicants from so-called “minority” groups – were introduced in American universities as a means of redress; they were intended to compensate for the injustices and inequalities suffered by certain ethnic groups in the university admissions process. From this perspective, “two-tier” recruitment was seen as the only way to prevent large universities from becoming “bastions” for “whites”.

The purpose of the affirmative action is not to repair past discrimination, but to enrich education by diversifying the student population and the teaching staff. The university is thus expected to produce elites that reflect the plural conception of the nation. The ethno-racial privilege enjoyed by some students, particularly Blacks and Latinos, in a number of universities is simply supposed to guarantee that their application will be considered. 

Identity Claims And Politicians

Both Democrats and Republicans have once again tried to use for their own benefit the identity claims that have dominated and divided American society for years. The former are convinced that there is a stock of votes in their favor to be won back from “minorities” (Blacks, Latinos, women, Muslims, homosexuals) and instead of concentrating their efforts and discourse on the content of their economic and political program, they are dispersing themselves into client gain relationship. The latter pose as defenders of a threatened white and Christian American identity. Both sides assume that the voter will want to vote for someone who looks like him, not for someone whose ideas convince him. In 2017, a black Republican senator was insulted as a “house xxxxxx” because he supported the candidacy of a white member of his party to head the Justice Department.

America has long been divided and the advent of Trump has only served to highlight the deep malaise of American society. Phenomenal economic inequalities have long been accepted by those who firmly believed that everyone had a chance. But in America you can still find star-spangled flags everywhere, even in front of half-collapsed shantytowns. But except in the military field (40% of the world’s military spending), America is losing its status as a “hyper power”. For the first time, it is being beaten at its own game, namely the “free market” and the internationalization of competition. Quite a large enough part of the society that is believed to be so “vital” and “dynamic” is resisting this ordeal badly. Even more so than elsewhere, there is a yawning divide between the big winners of globalization and the “losers”. 

In short, the American dream has broken down. Doubt has been instilled everywhere, even in homes. What can be done to get out of it? Americans are no longer sure of the answer. Sometimes parents are even willing to give their children amphetamines as early as first grade to get good grades. In the Black community, the elders, convinced that being honest and hardworking and “soft” to get ahead, are mocked by a youth that is becoming more radical. Another example of the panic is that in the late 1960s, a large majority of Americans were very optimistic about the country’s multiracial future. In 2001, 70% of blacks and 62% of whites still thought that relations with the other community were good. By 2016, before Donald Trump’s election, only 49% of blacks and 55% of whites believed that relations with the other community were good.

The political class but, also, social networks feed a catastrophic and spectral vision of reality. Everyone lives in his or her own identity cellar, with no view of the outside world, and relatively rare events take on a disproportionate importance as soon as they are massively broadcast: when the video of a black man shot by the police for crossing the road viral, the feeling of injustice is multiplied tenfold. When the news of a child found murdered in a petrol station toilet is commented on ad nauseam at the exit of every school in the country, fear of the predatory pedophile reaches homes. 60% of Americans are convinced that crime is on the rise while, according to the FBI, the violent crime rate has dropped by 43% since 1993. The real danger is decreasing but the feeling of being in danger is increasing, which encourages people to withdraw into themselves and their community.

Identity And A Culture Of Anxiety

The abundance of information available gives the illusion of control, when in reality it is the fuel for an often paranoid anxiety. We believe we can know and understand everything on our own, and we are wary of experts and intermediaries – doctors, journalists – whose competence used to reassure us. Other causes of anxiety are the need to adapt to increasingly rapid changes, the disintegration of the family unit, the decline in religiosity, the precariousness of employment or the obsession with zero risk. 

In a rich country, one ends up being much more anxious at the idea that “something could happen to us” than in a poor country where, objectively speaking, the risks involved – of illness, of accident – are infinitely higher. Eighteen percent of Americans officially suffer from anxiety disorders, compared with only 10 percent in France, where the figure is nevertheless rising. France is going to be won over by this disease: it is no coincidence that Christophe André (13), the pope of the anti-stress movement, has published 25 books which have been many best-sellers.

This anxiety manifests itself in particular through the massive use of drugs, amphetamines and opiates. One wonders, quite rightly, what is the extent of this phenomenon? Is it treated by the public authorities?

Life expectancy has fallen for the second consecutive year in the United States, in 2017, as a result of an epidemic affecting all social classes: since 1999, 350,000 Americans have died of an opioid overdose. These pain drugs, which are effective and cheap in a country where treatment is very expensive, have been massively prescribed for years despite their high addictive potential. At issue is a proven collusion between pharmaceutical companies and doctors paid to promote their opioids, but also the growing demand of patients not to be in pain. Despite government efforts, the epidemic has not abated in 2017: for the three million opioid addicts in the United States, the pills, imported from China, are readily available on the Dark Web, the hidden internet.

Taxpayers are indirectly subsidizing the fast food industry. The American working and middle classes are suffering from the repercussions of an ultra-liberalism that, apart from Bernie Sanders, the Democrats have never really denounced or even encouraged. Their language of solidarity is selective – it targets certain “communities” to the detriment of others – and hypocritical, since these elites derive their income from the unbridled globalization that is at the root of their fellow citizens’ misfortune. But when you tell a guy who is “working his a.. off” on a construction site but can’t afford a dentist that he is a “privileged white man”, it is no wonder he takes it badly. This, of course, also explains Donald Trump’s success.

The “Me Too Movement” (14) will no doubt aggravate the mistrust that already exists here between the two sexes. Besides, “Me Too” was not initiated by radical feminists. It is an extension of a long-standing movement on U.S. campuses known as Title IX, the name of a measure adopted in 1972 to force universities to fund women’s and men’s sports teams equally (15). Over the years, its application has expanded to include the fight against sexual harassment and discrimination. Title IX had done much to promote gender equality, but the best intentions were often perverted. The issue of consent, which had been widely taken up by “Me Too,” illustrated that question: was it reasonable, for example, for a woman to be able to withdraw her consent after the sexual act because the next day she learned that her partner had lied to her about her marital status?

Since the Women’s March in Washington in 2016, they have been at the forefront of the fight against Trump. We saw it again during mid-term elections. But you can’t imagine how divided feminists are. The most radical ones are not seeking to put an end to patriarchy but to take their revenge by introducing matriarchy. The white man over 50 is the favorite target of these feminists, but they also attack white women, accused of not being sufficiently aware of the privileges “associated” with their skin color. So to answer your question: no, this kind of feminism, so to speak, is not an alternative to Trump because it is also a manifestation of the “identity fracture” that is undermining the United States.

Current Identity Fracture

The black demonstrators and thousands of Americans from all sides are not at war, as some thinkers would have us believe. They are protesting against a racially biased institutional structure.

It’s difficult for African-American people to know how to act when the United States is traversed by one of the largest social movements in its recent history. This moment has a revealing significance, awakening also the words of American thinkers, of a very conservative tendency according to which America is in the grip of a “culture war” for which leftist self-righteousness bears a large responsibility.

A general word on what some American conservatives call “true” liberalism is necessary. In this perspective, the state is likened to a night watchman, its role is not to intervene but to safeguard the fundamental positive rights of citizens by refusing to engage in any social engineering. In the United States, this “classical” liberal current must be distinguished from its so-called modern version, according to which the State defends positive and negative rights, commits itself to a societal modus vivendi, ensuring welfare when necessary (a vision of the welfare state). 

According to Dreher (16), the “left” and its elites (modern liberal understanding) have betrayed the principles of liberalism and, in a strange way, have helped to foster “cultural warfare”. It is in this conceptual landscape that Dreher and others, with Huntingtonian tones, assert that “we are witnessing the violent disappearance of the old liberal America.”

A first problem is the rhetoric used by these Conservatives. The word “riot” is, in the United States, particularly connoted. The term “riot” – as a whole generation of Black Scholars has noted – has historically been used to discredit and denigrate social opposition. Focusing on “riots,” as Dreher does, leads one to think of the current movement as a collection of violence, without form, message or leadership. He speaks of “terror”. What terror? Certainly, there are outbursts right now – as well as an overwhelming number of peaceful demonstrations, with collectives of organizations (the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, the ACLU…), leaders, local relays in the communities. How can we not understand African-American rage when they read this? What about the examples deliberately chosen – the CNN journalist who is the target of bottle projectiles in Minneapolis? Why not mention her colleague from the same channel who, again in Minneapolis, was arrested live on television by the Minnesota state troopers because he was black and was there?

What can be said about the risky assertions and comparisons made by some of these commentators? No, what is happening now is not a consequence of the silly and lax thinking of the “leftists” who betrayed “true” American liberalism. Yes, Dreher is right when he says – via Arendt – that there are “centuries of subjugation” sedimented, that’s actually the whole point. No, Martin Luther King would not be “a stranger in today’s America”, nor would he have “the confidence of the people” (and could be compared to de Gaulle). He would have his rightful place in a social justice movement for African-Americans – what he saw as vital to the soul of the United States – today. It is hard to think that he, who said that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but tends towards justice“(17), would not be at the side of the demonstrators.

On the other hand, Dr. King had enemies in the white community and adversaries in the black community. He would have many battles to fight today, and he would probably fight them in the same way he did in the 1960s: with hostility from part of the white community, and doubts from part of the black community about the means of action and the strategy to be chosen.

And how can we understand the surprising inferences of American conservatives who have a platform in France and who draw a correlation between the condemnation of offensive gestures – for example the Blackface (18) – and the beginning of an illiberal regime, on the road to totalitarianism itself, where nothing more can be said? It is difficult to grasp what the Blackface is without addressing its meaning for the black community, the deadly insult it embodied, the system of reference to which it signals. Blackface is not a good-natured gesture, a magnificent freedom to be safeguarded: it is a historical finger of honor, its roots are deeply and painfully anchored.

How can you blame a flayed community when racism is an internalized reality every day? W. E. B. Dubois and James Baldwin (and, in France, Frantz Fanon) evoke the same chilling phenomenon: the self-contempt that black Americans, defined by the white community, came to feel, absorbing the awful image that was sent back to them to the point of developing an existential shame. Should we be surprised at the susceptibility of African-Americans who have made it to the prestigious Yale campus – who claim that their culture is their own, that they will not tolerate any form of racism? Does that make this approach deadly and unbearable? Dreher hides behind a call for “rationality” to mask this historical fact, this vital need to reclaim one’s own identity.

What war are these conservatives talking about? The black demonstrators – not to mention the thousands of Americans from all walks of life who march with them – are not at war with other ethnic, professional groups, or even the state. The term is deliberately ill-chosen. The African-American community (and so many others) is mobilizing, rising up against a racially biased institutional structure. If there is a war, it is promised to them by the white nationalists – who are making a strong resurgence in the United States, whether in mainstream thinking, or in active and heavily armed small groups. In the end, it may be a “battle” for the soul of America – not ideological, not cultural, but viscerally human and about social justice. And, by extension, to the very fabric of American society.

Conservative thinking as posed by Dreher carries a final dangerous idea by pitting the anti-racist (modern liberal) “benevolent left” and ultra-nationalist groups against each other. It is the same rhetoric that Donald Trump used during the demonstrations in Charlottesville in 2017; it is, also, the one he is using now by suddenly blaming Antifa (19), those extreme left-wing groups that would use blacks who, one imagines, would not be able to organize themselves against a structural injustice. It is disturbing to create a relationship of perfect equality between those who mobilize for the promise of a social contract rid of the scourge of institutionalized racism and those who seek to strengthen it in the name of “their” America. But in the United States, this is one of the new favorite tactics of identity nationalism – de-demonizing white supremacism by putting it on a par with the anti-racist movement. Or should we understand that America is dying… for the sake of justice?

Conclusion: Identity, What Outcome?

This analysis does not contradict the idea that identity could have explanatory value. Indeed:

  1. Identity crisis is seen as a fact that challenges traditional patterns of thought; 
  2. A large place is given to identity referents in the evaluation of the nature of the current crisis; 
  3. American leaders have articulated a transformed conception of external identity; 
  4. There are no contradictions between the discourses studied with regard to the content of the articulated identity; and
  5. The definition of the problem and the relevant actions refers largely to internal principles of legitimacy. 

But the results are less clear about the direction of the relationship between identity referents and the definition of national interest.

American identity is still evolving; William Bennett’s “cultural wars” are still active. Which identity will triumph? The liberal ideological identity associated with the American constitution? The Jacksonian identity associated with populist culture, language, history, and religion that could lead to conflicts with European democracies and Japan? Religious identity linked to the Puritan and Judeo-Christian heritage that could fuel conflicts of civilizations? Ethnic identity associated with multiculturalism and thus with a paralyzed, hesitant and ineffective foreign and security policy?(20) Adaptation to external insecurity, as Nau argues, may well depend on the resolution of this internal identity conflict, and September 11 is a pivotal moment in current attempts to redefine American identity.

You can follow Professor Mohamed Chtatou on Twitter: @Ayurinu

End notes:

  1.  Cf. Henry R. Nau. At Home Abroad. Identity and Power in American Foreign Policy: Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002, pp. 41-42.
  2.  The existence of multiple identities and the ability of the power to choose the identity register on which to base its policy was highlighted in the case of the Middle East. See Shibley Telhami and Michael Barnett (eds.). Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002.
  3.  During the Cuban missile crisis, when there were calls for a pre-emptive strike, Robert Kennedy replied that the American identity was against it: “For 175 years we have not been that kind of country,” cited by Louise Richardson, “Religion and American Foreign Policy. Prophetic, Perilous, Inevitable,” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (Washington, D.C., 2003), p. 39. The 2002 National Security Strategy document, on the other hand, proclaims the right to act unilaterally and pre-emptively, which represents a profound transformation of external identity.
  4.  Cf. James Chace. “Present at the Destruction. The Death of American Internationalism,“ in World Policy, vol. 20, no 1, Spring 2003, pp. 1-5.
  5.   Jacksonian society makes an important distinction between those who belong to the popular community and those who do not. Within the popular community, among those bound by the code and capable of carrying out the responsibilities it imposes, Jacksonians are bound by a social contract; outside this contract is chaos and darkness. For further insights on this see Walter Russell Mead. Special Providence. American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World. New York: Routledge, 2003, pp. 235-236.
  6.  Cf. Bob Woodward. Bush at War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002; Howard Fineman, « Bush and God », Newsweek, March 10, 2003. 
  7.   Melnick, Jeffrey. 9/11 Culture. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, p. 159, reviews four years of teaching about the attacks and notes that American culture has taken hold of the attacks at various levels, pointing to the stigmatization of the Arab-American population, underlining the lack of patriotic cohesion that some media and even some cultural productions have tried to display.
  8.  Cf. Halaby, Laila. Once in a Promised Land. Boston : Beacon Press, 2007.
  9.  Cf. Parrs, Alexandra. Construction de l’identité arabe américaine: Entre invisibilité et mise en scène stratégique. Paris : L’Harmattan, 2005, p. 127.
  10. Ibid., p. 91. “Depuis le 11 septembre, non seulement les attaques contre les Arabe-Américains ont augmenté, mais les organismes officiels, au lieu de protéger les Arabes-Américains, ont renforcé leur surveillance de ce groupe pouvant potentiellement poser des problèmes“.
  11.  David Hollinger. Postethnic America, Beyond Multiculturalism. New York: Basic Books, 1995.
  12. Affirmative action in the United States is a set of laws, policies, guidelines, and administrative practices intended to end and correct the effects of a specific form of discrimination that include government-mandated, government-approved and voluntary private programs. The programs tend to focus on access to education and employment, granting special consideration to historically excluded groups, specifically racial minorities or women. The impetus toward affirmative action is redressing the disadvantages associated with past and present discrimination. Further impetus is a desire to ensure public institutions, such as universities, hospitals, and police forces, are more representative of the populations they serve. Cf.
  13.  Christophe André is one of the leaders of behavioural and cognitive therapies in France, and was one of the first to introduce the use of meditation in psychotherapy. From the end of the 1990s, he began to take an interest in meditation, to practice it himself and to use it as a treatment tool for his patients. The specialist in anxiety disorders was one of the pioneers to introduce mindfulness meditation in France as a therapeutic method. A lecturer at the University of Paris-Nanterre, he is the author of numerous books on psychology for the general public. He has also advised companies and given lectures.His book Imparfaits, libres et heureux was awarded the 2007 Psychologies-Fnac prize.
  15. Requirements Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 : Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. .1681 et seq.) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs receiving Federal financial assistance. Athletics are considered an integral part of an institution’s education program and are therefore covered by this law. It is the responsibility of the Department of Education (ED), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), to assure that athletic programs are operated in a manner that is free from discrimination on the basis of sex. The regulation (34 C.F.R. Part 106) implementing Title IX contains specific provisions relating to athletic opportunities. It also permits individual institutions considerable flexibility in achieving compliance with the law. To clarify the athletic requirements contained in the Title IX regulation, a Policy Interpretation was issued to provide colleges and universities with more guidance on how to comply with the law. The Policy Interpretation, which explains the standards of the regulation, clarifies the obligations of colleges and universities in three basic areas: student interests and abilities; athletic benefits and opportunities; and financial assistance. While designed specifically for intercollegiate athletics, the general principles and compliance standards set forth in the Policy Interpretation will often apply to inter-scholastic athletic programs operated by elementary and secondary school systems, and to club and intramural athletic programs.
  16.  Ray Oliver Dreher, Jr. (born February 14, 1967), known as Rod Dreher, is an American writer and editor. He is a senior editor and blogger at The American Conservative and author of several books, including How Dante Can Save Your Life and The Benedict Option. He has written about religion, politics, film, and culture in National Review and National Review Online, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, Touchstone, Men’s Health, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. He was a film reviewer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and chief film critic for the New York Post. His commentaries have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and he has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Court TV, and other television networks. The Benedict Option has been described as “the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.” Dreher has been involved in multiple controversies regarding his views on race.
  18. Blackface is a term used to describe a form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person. The term is also used for black makeup worn as part of folk traditions and disguising, not all of which are perceived as or originated as racial stereotypes of black people.
  19. Antifa is an anti-fascist political movement in the United States comprising a diverse array of autonomous groups that aim to achieve their objectives through the use of both non-violent and violent direct action rather than through policy reform.
  20.  Cf. Henry R. Nau, At Home Abroad, op. cit., p. 61.


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Dr. Mohamed Chtatou

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou is a Professor of education science at the university in Rabat. He is currently a political analyst with Moroccan, Gulf, French, Italian and British media on politics and culture in the Middle East, Islam and Islamism as well as terrorism. He is, also, a specialist on political Islam in the MENA region with interest in the roots of terrorism and religious extremism.

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