For this week’s blog I will be touching on work I looked into for the first blog about Arab depiction in the media as well re-visiting Jack Shaheens 2006 documentary “Reel Bad Arabs”
Since Hollywood begun negative depictions of minorities, ethnicities and racial groups has existed in all sorts of forms. From the Japanese neighbour in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Vietnamese savages in any number of war films. The “bad guys” in Hollywood has been changing with US relations; The Japanese and Germans, the Russians and Vietnamese, always changing to fit the feelings of Americans at the time. However, one negative stereotype that has remained since Hollywood’s inception is the Bad Arab character.
In the 2006 documentary ‘Reel Bad Arabs’ author and former CBS Middle East consultant, Jack Shaheen, states that over 300 Hollywood films, nearly twenty five percent of all Hollywood films, depict Arabs and Muslims in an unfair and negative way. Even Children’s films like the critically acclaimed Aladdin, beloved by western children for over two decades begins with the line: “Where they cut off your ear, If they don’t like your face, It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home”.
Because of this popular depiction people in the western world are beginning to believe that all Arabian people are barbaric savages and it creates a very negative feeling towards people of Islamic faith or Middle Eastern ancestry.
Do you think that Hollywood is creating a negative stereotype or reinforcing an existing one?