Media tagged Arab/Arab American

Reel Bad Arabs - How Hollywood Vilifies a People

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This trailer for “Reel Bad Arabs”, a documentary produced by the Media Education Foundation in collaboration with Professor Jack Shaheen, explores historical and contemporary depictions of Arabs in media. From the producers: “The film explores a long line of degrading images of Arabs -- from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and gun-wielding "terrorists"-- along the way offering devastating insights into the origin of these stereotypic images, their development at key points in US history, and why they matter so much today.”

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The Princess and the Pauper (1939) - Chevrolet Ad

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In this 1939 cartoon produced by Chevrolet, the hero Nicky Nome rescues a pauper from the “Valley of Jewels”. He takes him to the princess on a magic carpet, which then transforms itself into a new Chevrolet. Typical of many cartoons of the time, the ad portrays a host of stereotypical and caricatured depictions of the Arab world and Arab peoples.

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This is What Happens When TV Writers’ Rooms Aren’t Diverse

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This 2015 video from Aisha Harris at online news, politics, and culture magazine Slate.com uses scenes from popular U.S. television shows to illustrate how people of color continue to be represented stereotypically and as peripheral minor characters in television shows because the roles and characters written for them are created by predominantly White writers. The video points out a range of stereotypical tropes such as the token minor or first to get killed off Black characters (such as T-Dog in The Walking Dead), or one-dimensional token Black, Latino, or Asian sidekicks (such as Winston in New Girl, or George from Law & Order: SVU), or servants (such as Rosario in Will & Grace, or Sum in Sex and the City) in contrast with complexly portrayed White characters in the same shows. There are also the exotic, sexy Latinas with a foreign accent (such as Gloria in Modern Family), or emasculated Asian male foreigners (such as Raj in The Big Bang Theory or Han in Two Broke Girls) who serve as the comedic relief because of their foreignness, which in turn makes the White characters look better and reinforces that they are what is “normal.” The video also connects these limited and damaging representations with how they affect viewers’ perceptions and behaviors in everyday life. At the end, the video creators argue that while some shows are now getting better at depicting people of color in leading roles (such as Grey’s Anatomy), it is because the writers and producers behind the show reflect diversity and include people who actually know what it’s like to live as a multi-dimensional person of color.  

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Veil of Suspicion - Banning the Burqa in Australia and Europe

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This clip was produced in 2010 by the Australian version of the newsmagazine 60 Minutes. Reporter Liz Hayes explores recent controversies in Australia and Europe regarding the Burka and hijab, types of veils and headscarfs worn by Muslim women. It begins with a portrait of Australian Muslim women soccer players who are outraged by efforts to ban the wearing of the headscarf during soccer matches. It also outlines the arguments of several non-Muslim politicians who call for strict restrictions on where, when and how these religious articles of clothing can be worn. Further, the report speaks to a British Muslim cleric who preaches a radically strict interpretation of Islam. The program concludes with the perspective of a featured Muslim female soccer player: "I'm an Australian more than anyone else here," she says. "If you are going to judge me by my hijab, then really, that's your problem."

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"We're a Culture Not a Costume"

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These posters were created as part of an educational campaign initiated in 2011 by Students Teaching About Racism in Society, a group of Ohio University students. The campaign, called ‘We’re a Culture, Not a Costume,’ centered on critiquing the practice of wearing racist Halloween costumes, after the Ohio University students witnessed a fellow student wearing black face to a party. The campaign speaks to the larger context of racist Halloween parties and costumes, which have spurred protests and discussions on university campuses and beyond. The Ohio University students used media to preemptively encourage others to be thoughtful about the connections between costumes, stereotypes, and identity.

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