Western popular culture's portrayal of Arabs

Popular culture, especially mass media have played a crucial role in the portrayal of Arabs, since the horrible events of September 11, 2001. 
Post 9/11 across the United States there has been an emergence of a bold opposition and fear towards the Muslim community in the United States.
This rise of this racist attitudes in the United States results in many challenges for the Islamic community because of the power of the single message being propagated by the media reinforcing the common belief that Muslims are terrorists, and that everyone should recognize “them” by their beards and black veils.

The whole struggle of stereotyping all Arabs for being Muslim and terrorists keep being portrayed not only in films and TV shows, but also in cartoons. For instance, we all have watched Disney movies like Aladdin that introduced to children since early age a common image of the violent and threatening Arabs with the same clothes in every single episode, and especially with the strong Arab accent.
Aladdin was the only one in his society who was considered the “good romantic Arab” who has a perfect American accent and a Westernized characterization of his character.

Muslim women also are usually presented as the uneducated veiled oppressed part of the society who are always waiting for the “American” to come and save her from her extremist Muslim society. An effective example that the article stated is CSI or Criminal Minds police dramas.
Muslim women, with all of the freedoms and liberties they reached over history, are gathered under the same category that delivers to us the image of the typical “Arab” women victim of domestic violence.
They are usually married to one of the terrorists who is the main “bad character” of the series. Similarly men with beards, strong Arab accents, or Middle Eastern looking features may be radicalized as Muslims regardless of their personal identification. A study by The Guardian proved that the system based on the bias against Muslim has been perceived with 62% believing the media to be Islamophobic and 16% describing it as racist.

Only 4% considered its representation "fair".  With all of the researches conducted, it is usually known that African-Americans are presented as over-weighted and rude; French to be snobby and selfish; and Latinos to be the janitors and the drug dealers.
However, I believe one of the most dangerous discriminations against races and religions is being conducted against Arabs, especially after 9/11.

People need to understand that this representation is really dangerous as it racialize people regardless of their nationality or ethnicity. People tend to expect them to not be from the U.S. So they face daily questions like “what country are you from?”
They are also often expected to have limited English ability and that they should be flattered if people get surprised when they hear them talking an unexpected “good English”.
The term racialization is used because although Muslims are of a common faith it is a universal religion and a spectrum of ethnicities exist within this belief community.

All in all, this whole propaganda used by Mass Media has been the effective way to raise us and the next generations over a racist mindset that “reflects and reinforces marginality of minorities” in the U.S. It also increases a racist mentality that classifies people by their appearance, religion, or nationality.


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