Finder of Common Ground
Cultural biases can lead to an “either/or” thinking, but an “AND” mindset can help us move past judgement and toward a better understanding of ourselves and others. Growing up as the child of immigrants, Huda Al-Marashi often felt defined by her cultural background. Her Iraqi-American identity was her shorthand explanation for everything, often causing her to overlook everyday human motivations in herself and her family. Until she became aware of this bias, she was essentially reinforcing the stereotypes that she was working so hard to challenge in other areas of her life. Today Huda is the author of First Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Story, a book the Washington Post called “a charming, funny, heartbreaking memoir of faith, family, and the journey to love.” Her other writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, al Jazeera, and elsewhere. First Comes Marriage was longlisted for the Chautauqua Prize and a finalist for the Southern California Independent Booksellers’ Award.
Huda says, “Although it sometimes doesn’t seem like this, I truly believe we are getting better at understanding and accommodating each other’s differences, and I see us reaching a place of even deeper tolerance and coexistence in the future.”
Books that speak to the immigrant and bicultural experience that Huda likes most inlcude Marjane Satrapi’s, Persepolis; Jasmin Darznik’s, The Good Daughter; Diana Abu-Jaber’s, The Language of Baklava; Ayser Salman’s, The Wrong End of the Table; and Malaka Gharib’s, I Was Their American Dream.