Full Pour Review: Conditional Citizens

WOW, What an incredible story! Conditional Citizens by Laila Lalami is full of powerful, thought provoking essays that shed light on what it’s like to become an American and how being an American citizen does not guarantee everyone the same rights and protection (a fact that many of us somehow still refuse to acknowledge, unfortunately).

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize­­–finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth—such as national origin, race, and gender—that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today.

Lalami poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained that keeps the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people with whom America embraces with one arm and pushes away with the other.

Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together Lalami’s own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture.”

I learned a lot of valuable information from Lalami’s personal accounts and heavy research and I loved how the presentation of this information felt like a captivating conversation in an intimate college lecture. This book made me genuinely wish I was a student in one of Lalami’s courses, and even though she packed a lot into this small-but-mighty book, I feel like I could easily sit and listen to more of her thoughts on this subject. What I loved most was that this book served not only as a detailed account of her personal experience with the immigration system, but it also served as an honest evaluation of the state of our country and how the U.S. unfairly allows class status, religion, ethnicity, gender, racial bias and more, to stop someone from gaining citizenship. Due to the current racial climate we live in, and in order to help reduce our ignorance on this subject matter, this book should be essential reading. Things need to change.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, intriguing read about our modern immigration system, I highly recommend checking out Conditional Citizens. This book serves as a great reminder of how far we still have to go as a country, and shows us how we can be better allies and fight for justice in different ways that will move us further in the right direction for not just improving our citizenship process, but becoming more accepting of others. This was the first book I read by Laila Lalami and I look forward to reading more by her 🤗

BEER RECOMMENDATION: Conditional Citizens by Laila Lalami is best paired with SOBO by Monument City Brewing Company; a juicy and smooth New England IPA brewed with tangerines 🍻

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