In the coming weeks, a modest but hopefully powerful project will debut on this blog. Racial profiling has given rise to some of the most contemptible misconceptions history has ever seen. So in an effort to shift the tides, I want to profile in a different way.
For this project, I’ll be focusing exclusively on Palestinians in America. I’m hoping to tell their stories—not necessarily the historical or political ones we’re already well acquainted with but the ones they live today. Whether they work as barbers or actors, lawyers or full-time volunteers, every Palestinian has a story to tell. Through photos and through words, my wish is to relate these stories to you.
This project began months ago when I started paying attention to stereotypes surrounding cab drivers in Chicago. Having very personal connections to the taxi cab industry meant that I had the connections I’d need to report from the inside and to shatter the misconceptions surrounding cabbies, specifically Palestinian ones.
But what began as a very limited idea morphed into an all-inclusive one. Now it’s an open-ended project. Only one aim is clear: to examine the Palestinian condition in America. I have no set course for fulfilling this goal, so in a sense, this is mostly uncharted territory for me. But whether or not it’s uncharted territory for you, I hope you’ll join me in experiencing Palestinian culture and tradition through everyday Palestinians working hard to earn a living and even harder to make the best of life in America.
Here’s a small photo preview of the first ‘profile’ which I hope to release soon.
Khalil, a Certified Public Accountant from Gaza City, points out federal buildings in downtown Chicago as he drives his taxi on a busy Saturday afternoon.
After an hour of driving through downtown streets, Khalil heads towards the northwest side of Chicago.
Khalil runs an errand as he drives a taxi cab during his spare time.
A sign posted in Khalil’s taxi cab, #2992.