Story of Joelle Obeid


Iman Koutani

Joelle Obeid junior at Westside high school.



Lebanese American citizens have lived in America more than enough to be called an American, all of them have homes here, family, friends, jobs, and education in America so what more do they need to be called an American? Same concept when going back home, their blood and family are 100 percent Lebanese, they carry their culture so well, visit for more than three months, have plenty of family there and a home, so why can’t they be called Lebanese in their own home country too?

Joelle Obeid, junior at Westside High School is a Lebanese girl who has lived in America for her entire childhood but flies down to Lebanon each year for three months, usually lasting from the end of May to August. Balancing two separate cultures and lives is difficult for Joelle Obeid and many other Lebanese students at Westside high school.

She had stated that, “My whole life in America, I have been so unbalanced of who I am and how I am viewed. All my friends and the people around me view me as just a typical Lebanese girl, not as an American citizen, which does not really hurt me because I love being Lebanese. It just makes me wonder why people view us differently. On the other hand, when I go back home to Lebanon, people can somehow tell that I am coming from out of the country. Even though I am 100 percent Lebanese, the people there view me yet again as American.”

The explanation Joelle gives meaningfully describes the way people think as a whole and the way people have been taught to view each other.

She continued saying, “Each year when I go back home, any time we are in public my mother even tells me to not speak English in front of the people around us, because once they hear us speak English they start looking at us differently and tricking us into buying some stuff, even raising the prices on us!! it’s crazy!”

Joelle Obeid makes an assumption saying, “I believe that the controversy in this world today leads people to view us differently. For example, most Americans are not for people who are not completely white or have another background and most Arabs in other countries do not like America. That all comes back to us, leaving us with an unbalanced life and being viewed differently.”

Overall, Joelle’s opinion on why this happens is most likely accurate. The western hemisphere of the world is viewed differently by Arabs and the Middle East is viewed differently by most American people (Western Hemisphere).


Joelle Obeid and Iman Koutani enjoying Houston Lebanese festival in downtown.