This is a question from one of my assignments for this book
Answers 1Add Yours
Although it turns out that the police who arrest Zeitoun are not actually racist, Eggers makes it clear that Islamophobia influenced Zeitoun's experiences during Katrina (as well as the family's life before). While in prison, Zeitoun is accused of being a member of both al Qaeda and the Taliban. Meanwhile, Kathy's hijab causes tensions between her and her sisters, with whom she stays during the storm. Eggers acknowledged in an interview that one of the purposes of the book was to combat Islamophobia by showing Americans that Muslims are "average people" just like themselves (Whitman). Especially in portraying Zeitoun's familial experiences in Syria, Eggers paints a complete picture of a man who is more than the sum of his faith or country of origin.
Throughout the aftermath of the hurricane, Kathy and Zeitoun remain deeply suspicious of the media coverage of the disaster. They believe that the reports of violence are exaggerated and influenced by racist assumptions about the largely African-American population who stayed behind after the evacuations. Images of photography appear repeatedly, and the people behind the cameras are almost always portrayed negatively. At one point, Zeitoun sees a news helicopter photographing a floating body but not stopping to see if the man is alive or needs help.