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Sara Dabe

The media shapes our everyday lives. What we see on social


networks, what we watch, what we share with each other is an
ingrained part of our beings. There are seemingly positive and
obviously negative stereotypes, and both work to harm minority groups
in different ways. Todays media and entertainment caters to a certain
type of ill humor that generally depicts minority racial groups in
harmful, and debilitating manners. Since September 11th, 2001, Islam
has rarely left the headlines that depict it in such a hostile matter. As a
result, an alarming rise in islamophobia, or anti-Islamic sentiment.
Islamophobia is a term used to describe the prejudice against, hatred
towards, or fear of the religion of Islam or Muslims.
After the premier of American Sniper, a movie glorifying the
murder of brown bodies, a Muslim woman adorned in a Hijab was
attacked in broad daylight. It was the wrong place, wrong time type of
situation. The man who attacked her had just finished watching the
movie, and was high off of a misplaced sense of twisted patriotism.
Countless films and television shows depict brown people as terrorists,
criminals, savages, and people you should be afraid of. Stereotypes,
even positive ones, distort reality, and are regularly used as
justification of discrimination, and violence towards Muslims and other
minority groups.

Hollywood has spent most of its existence characterizing


minority groups in negative or comical lights (Race and Difference: The
Film Angle ). There are certain reoccurring stereotypes in the general
climate of anti Muslim opinion in countries where Muslims live as
minorities. The six most common are as follows:
1. All Muslims are the same. Regardless of ethnicity,
nationality, social class, and political outlook, Muslims are
seen all the much the same. With regard to terrorism and
violent extremism, for example, it is imagined that there is
a slippery slope between moderates and extremists, with
even the most moderate Muslims being potential
extremists (Petley and Richardson 27).
2. All Muslims are religiously motivated. If a Muslim engages
in violence, certainly it is because Islam promotes violence.
If a Muslim majority country abuses human rights or is
economically backwards, this also, is certainly due to the
prevailing religious identity of the country, more so than
any other factor.
3. All Muslims are all totally other. There a no interests,
characteristics, needs, concerns or values that a Muslim
could possibly share with a non-Muslim.
4. All Muslims are inferior. Culturally, intellectually, politically,
and morally, are Muslims are inferior to non-Muslims.
[Muslims are] quick to take offence, prone to irrationality
and violence, hypocritical, sexist, oppressive in their

treatment to women, homophobic in their views of sexual


identities, intolerant of worldviews different from their own,
narrow-minded, unable to engage in reasoned debate, and
hostile and full of hate towards the West for no good
reason (Petley and Richardson 28).
5. All Muslims are a threat. Muslims are treacherous and
disloyal and the enemy within; a threat to non-Muslim
countries, societies, and values.
6. All Muslims are impossible to work with. As a result of the
previous five perceptions, there is no possibility of
cooperation between them and us.
Many people do not think twice about seeing yet another Muslim
terrorist in our shows, and our movies. In the article Race and
Difference: The Film Angle, the author discusses how this type of
stereotyping leads to an acute sense of otherization. It creates a
distinct barrier between the people deemed the norm, and everyone
who falls outside of that norm. When people fall outside of the
supposed norms of society, it is easy to become desensitized to them,
and to dehumanize them. This sense of dehumanization leads to
discrimination and violence against minority groups.