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Middle Eastern Depictions In The Media Essay

1313 words - 5 pages

Have you ever seen a movie or a television show where the main character is a 'good and innocent' Arab? Can you think of an Arab superhero or a Middle-Eastern person being 'the good guy that everyone likes'? Movies and televisions never seem to depict Arabs, or even just those who are Islamic, as positive. When an American sees an Arab on the street, a common first impression is usually not one of innocence. It is because of Arab depictions in the media that Americans are more commonly grouping 'Middle-Easterners and terrorists' in the same category. Arabs constantly being depicted as the bad guys who are trying to somehow harm the hero of the show only reinforces this idea more into the minds of both young children and adults. The relationship between Arabs and terrorists are becoming more common in today's media.Question 1: How are Arabs depicted in American movies and television?Arabs are always shown as the opposing force, also known as, "the bad guys". They are usually shown as either filthy-rich sex maniacs or as evil men using some sort of terrorism to get what they want. I am going to use certain television shows and movies as examples of how Arabs are depicted as terrorists and are never shown as the hero who saves the day.Question 2: Why are Arabs depicted in this manner?It seems that the common image of an Arab person in the mind of an average American is that all Arabs wear turbans, have long dark beards, talk with a distinct accent, or wear outrageous belly-dancing attire. The average American knows nothing about Middle-Eastern culture and the only reason they think of this image is because of how Arabs are being stereotyped in American media. It seems that because there has been some Arab terrorists in the past, that their culture now 'breeds terrorism'.Question 3: Why does the media cause Americans to picture Arabs in a negative way?The continuous series of television shows, such as the popular show 24, making the enemy middle-eastern men who are trying to blow up a city building, does not help stop the stereotype of 'all Arabs are terrorists.' When children and young adults see this plotline over and over again, they have no choice but to think that Arabs are a common enemy who use terrorism in order to get what they want or to please a god. In order for this stereotype to end, there would have to be a popular show where the main character is an Arab man who is completely innocent, or even a hero, and shows that there are many 'good Arabs' out there.Primary Sources24. Dir. Jon Cassar. FOX. Nov. 6, 2001.The Agency. Dir. J. Miller Tobin, Paul Michael Glaser. CBS. Sept. 27, 2001.The Electric Company. Dir. Henry Behar, Bob Schwarz. PBS. Oct. 25, 1971.The President's Man: A Line in the Sand. Dir. Eric Norris. CBS. Jan. 20, 2002.Secondary SourcesJack G. Shaheen. "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People." Annals of theAmerican Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 588 (2003): 171-193.This article talks about how Hollywood...

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