Monday, May 1, 2017

This has taken majority of the media by storm lately. Nowadays in the present world of media, being an Arab has created this absurd stereotype in people’s mind, such that sometimes it’s sort of awkward and uninteresting over and over again. The impression of Arabs among the western civilians has been not so great to say the least.

Source: MercoPress

The Arab Culture have been a major target of media criticism and internet trolls in the Western Culture. As a result, people have created this misinterpretation about the Arab culture and they think they do some controversial stuff, but in reality, they actually don’t.

Some of the media interpretations of Arabs include being a rich person (which is true to an extent) but not all Arabs are rich. Others include Terrorism, and some other absurd stuff that shouldn’t be mentioned. This is basically a monotonous expression of being an Arab in the media currently. Beyond this, people have turned a blind eye towards the Arabs in the society. Aesthetically, there is often the stereotypical Arab Muslim that wears a ghatra (or shemagh for the Emiratis) wearing long loose clothes, dark tanned skin and a beard. Aforementioned, the impression that has been created as such that it is hard to change.

Terrorism has been the key point in linking Arabs with. It is one of the most awful topics to link an Arab with and has been so over the years. It has created an automatic linkage with Arabs and religion has come into scrutiny as a result. Nowadays the Internet trolls on Arab has also been directly linked with Terrorism and what not. Painful really.

But this doesn’t completely end here. Being an NRI living in the Middle East, I personally am also a target of this type of behavior. Back with friends and cousins in India, I’ve also been unfairly targeted with Oil and rich jokes throughout my life. And personally, it does feel weird and shameful. No matter you try to take it as a joke, but once when it reaches its breaking point, you can’t do enough about it.

Take another example of Aladdin, the opening lyrics stated that “Oh, I come from a land, from a faraway place, Where the caravan camels roam, where they cut off your ear it they don’t like your face, It’s Barbaric, but, hey, it’s home.” It mentions the word ‘Barbaric’, depicting that Arabs are barbaric and violent. One of the points supporting what all I’ve stated above."

Which is why in Eefa Shehzad’s Ted talk, she had specifically mentioned that out of 1000 films from 1896 to 2007 that contained Middle Eastern Arab references, 12 were positive, 52 were neutral and over 900 were negative.

Overall, the media representation of Arabs has been totally demeaning and the media has been solely responsible for putting this image in the heads.

Written by Ridwan Aman