American Feelings Toward Arabs/Islam: Reaction Of Historical Conflicts Through The Spread Of Stereotypical Views

2293 words - 9 pages

Relations between the United States and the Arab and Islamic worlds are at an all-time worst. The recent tragedy in New York City has obviously been the immediate cause of this but in a sense, our differences have stemmed a lot earlier than that. The destruction of the World Trade Center in downtown NYC only served to be "the straw that broke the camels back." In the last century, there existed many reasons why differences arose between the two societies. A few of these reasons are the rise of OPEC, U.S involvement in Palestine, and the actions that the U.S have taken concerning the whole Muslim community in the Middle East. Although debatable, it seems that the U.S media are the ones who have done the most damage. Through Hollywood movies and other such TV shows, our media has portrayed their way of life incorrectly and due to their actions, they have made a the American public believe that they are "evil." A number of movies that contain some sort of reference to Islam have usually used stereotypes in order to bring their plot together, as you will soon see. American government's actions in history along with media portrayals of Arabs and Islam have made the reactions to 9/11 significantly worse than it already was.One real question that many have asked is "Where have these stereotypes and feelings of hatred towards Arabs and Islam come from?" Although there is no clear-cut answer, there exists many times in history where these may have originated from. For example, In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, some European artists presented images of this Middle Eastern area as land containing desolate deserts, corrupt palaces and slimy souks inhabited by lazy, bearded savages which represented Arab Muslims (Shaheen 7). Although this doesn't seem to be of much importance, these type of generalizations lead to much more in the future. Even though that was the earliest times of stereotyping, the single event which triggered these false images seemed to intensify in the 1940's when the state of Israel was founded on the Palestinian lands. From that point on, through Arab-Israeli wars, embargo of oil and terrorist attacks, Americans started to believe that all Arabs and those that follow Islam were our greatest enemies.The wars between the Arabs and Israelis were probably the crucial point concerning this topic. When the Jewish population was given Palestine, the Arabs revolted against this course-of-action. The argument that they had was that for hundreds of years the Muslims have had this land and nobody, even the UN, can take away their land. On the other hand, the Jews believed that this land was rightfully theirs because it was theirs from the start and that God gave them this "Promised Land" for Jewish people. Eventually, the area known as West Bank was made for the Arabs so that both parties would be satisfied, but as we all know, Jerusalem has been debated over and due to its neutrality, there have been many fights over it. The fact that...

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