Arab Countries Produce Doctors, Scientists, Athletes, Or Actors?
13 April 2015
The One Dimensional Arab Do Arab countries produce doctors, scientists, athletes, or actors? Scanning through western media reports, we might be tempted to think such occupations simply do not exist in Arabic speaking countries. Instead the phrase, “Arab” conjures images of missiles, turbans, and automatic rifles. Or perhaps we think of men laying prostrate facing Mecca or women dressed in Hijab as they veil their body in their cultural identity. This simple illustration is anecdotal of a larger phenomenon forming: how western society views cultures they identify as Arab and is often times guided more by discrete cultural biases and political agendas than relevant news. The unfavorable bias in the portrayal of Arabs in western media develops harmful associations with Muslims around the world and negatively impacts minority communities in America. Western media groups should strive for balanced reporting by highlighting positive images of Muslims in society to combat violent extremism and encourage intercultural dialogue.
The unfavorable bias against Arabs around the world is rooted in the recent memory of a painful reality, the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. The men who hijacked planes on September 11 were of Arab origin, and credit for the devastation was claimed by a radical sect of violent Islamic extremists. The image was cemented into the American conscience as…