A stereotype is the creation of an unfair opinion or view; an individual will take the behavior of one person and state that all people belonging to that particular group behave in the same manner. Stereotyping encourages people to react and behave in a manner that is both judgmental and prejudiced. The perception of Arabs and the Islamic religion has created a system in which prejudices and stereotypes worked their way so thoroughly into literature, education, history, language, and social mores that they seem to govern the conflict as much as they are created by it, while newspapers and television news play a major role in the way we perceive Arabs and the Islamic religion. Movies, books, and sitcoms also play a major role in shaping these stereotypes. Popular films such as, "Villains," "Sheikhs," "Cameos," and "Cliffhangers," which portray Arabs as Public Enemy #1, brutal, heartless, uncivilized Natives bent on terrorizing civilized Westerners. These different types of things all have the ability to enlighten and enrich the lives of all the people they touch; however, they also have the ability to perpetuate and create stereotypes, as in the case of how Americans view Arabs.
Television programs and the mass media do not examine the fact that the Islamic religion preaches equality and peace. A good example of media coverage in which presented the facts of an actual event in a prejudicial manner was the Oklahoma City bombing. In 1995, within minutes of the event, news reporters were insinuating that the bombing was an act of terrorists. Arabs are seen as terrorists and murderers due to how the media presents them.
The media is not the only key in creating stereotypes; you’ll find examples in many different types of American literature, also. The negative stereotypes about Arabs spill over into the textbooks used in American schools and are taught in the education system. The education programs imprint young children with numerous negative images of Arabs. Another form of literature, novels, also perpetuates stereotypes by romanticizing Arabs as dressing in flowing robes, striving against desert hardships, and being surrounded by submissive females. Others novels have portrayed Arabs as evil and corrupt; some portray them as terrorists and murderers. These distortions of the Arab people, in literature have created a general mistrust and dislike for Arabs among Americans.
Another form of broadcasting of stereotypes comes from the news media. The news programs allow television journalism to play a major role in setting the political agenda. The news media aired broadcasts involving the United States government and the...