Media Coverage of Arabs and Muslims | 6 Questions
Images of such nature should be taken seriously. One should understand what message is being sent out there to the viewers. Actually, it is the one that furthers the stereotypes the West associates with the East. Critics argue that this is a depiction of the East in a bad light. It always includes sorcery, magic and exploitation. Such beliefs will further the enmity and the cold blood that exists between the westerners and the Arabs. The fact that the film is set in China thrusts the entire Asian continent into the spotlight. Unfortunately, these are demeaning and rigid stereotypes. Other series that contain stereotypical representations include the Walt Disney films (Nacos, and Torres-Reyna 48). The latter also have an element of negative stereotyping concerning the Arabs in them.
If the Arabs are incompetent, how come they make sophisticated weapons, or have intelligence networks that are characteristic of their terrorist or Jihad networks. At the same time, they have been depicted as incompetent that causes a contradiction. Is it a cover-up used by the West to maintain their superiority? If the Arabs were incompetent, they would not pose any “threats” in the first place. This inconsistency occurs due to the stereotypes that have clouded the conscience and the voice of reason of the West. In the Hollywood series Al shabaab the followers of the group are shown to be well-trained and educated that also gives rise to contradiction.
Hollywood inserts demeaning images of Arabs in films that have nothing to do with the Middle East to portray them in a bad light and justify the prejudices against them. When one watches the Hollywood movies, they believe without second thoughts that the reality shown in the films is probably true. Some people also argue that the film-makers do so to gain support from the anti-Arab or anti-Muslim communities. The eventual result is that the Muslims and Arabs are seen as potential threats. The movies seek to expose Arabs as Sub-human villains whose only motivation is to cause havoc to the rest of the people.
People consume what they see. Thus, their thoughts are manipulated. They see Arabs and Muslims being depicted negatively everywhere – on the television, radio and in the social networks. Eventually, they get used to this fact and develop the stereotypes and prejudices against them as well. The mass media can influence the viewers negatively concerning the issues such as sex and drugs. It seems that the same would be the case with the Arab and Muslim depictions in the Hollywood movies. They will reinforce the group animosities as well as stereotypes.
All over the world, comedies have been a source of entertainment, but they still communicate some messages. Even if the latter have the elements of stereotypes and racism in them, the people will consume what they are exposed to. Whether one talks about the red carpets or the turbaned Muslim villains, the message out there is still that Arabs and Muslims are associated with sorceries and magic. It will not challenge the stereotypes; if anything, it will reinforce them.
Dr. Shaheen’s point about Americans supporting Israelis and shunning the Palestinians shows that their judgment of the Arabs, or Muslims for that matter, is skewed. In the future, people might change their stereotypes and prejudices. Nonetheless, it will not be smooth sailing. The misconceptions and cultural beliefs will only cease when, and if, the Hollywood movies stop portraying Muslims and Arabs in a bad light as racists and evil people, at least not every Muslim or Arab (Poole, and Richardson 12). They should rather be treated individually so that the mob psychology created concerning these people is not warped. Dr. Shaheen goes deep into the history as the person who has invested the considerable amount of time in studying the consistency with which the Muslims and Arabs have been stereotyped and prejudiced against.