Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Blog

By Jennine Vari

2012 Fall Intern

This week is the second annual DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival. While most of the films are serious and political, Saturday ends on a different note with FouseyTube. FouseyTube is a YouTube channel created by Palestinian American college student Yousef Erakat where he uploads comedic skits and a daily “vlog” for his fans. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth a few minutes. Not only is it hilarious, it’s also unique in that it offers a portrayal of Arab Americans and Muslims too rare is Western media.

Oftentimes we are subjected to the stereotypes of “backwards” immigrants, very devout zealots, or young people who reject their heritage or religion outright (usually because they have to in order to be “American”). However, Erakat shows us that you can be American and Arab; the two are not mutually exclusive. His videos and weekly “vlog” show how young Arab Americans have balanced Arab and American cultures without having to sacrifice one or the other. FouseyTube rejects the over-simplified stereotypes that have become so common, but instead recognizes Arab Americans as diverse, real people. Erakat shows us the humorous side and appeals to a wide audience, as he pokes fun at Drake and his family’s quirks by dressing up as his mom, dad, sister and even grandmother, and dances in an Apple store. However, he also acknowledges issues important to young Arab Americans and Muslims, like the pressure to marry, Ramadan, and homosexuality.

Erakat’s project is unique not only in its portrayal of Arab American and American Muslim stereotypes so often seen in the mainstream media, but he also uses new media to reach his audience. It is not only offering the world a new image of Arab Americans, but it’s also a great example of how young Arabs are using new media and social networking to shatter stereotypes, create a new image for themselves, and show the world how they see themselves.

Tickets to see Yousef Erakat at the DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival are still on sale for 6:30 p.m., Saturday at the Goethe Institute, 812 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.

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