American Feelings Toward Arabs/Islam: Reaction Of Historical Conflicts Through The Spread Of Stereotypical Views

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Relations between the United States and the Arab and Islamic worlds are at an all-time worst. The recent tragedy in New York City has obviously been the immediate cause of this but in a sense, our differences have stemmed a lot earlier than that. The destruction of the World Trade Center in downtown NYC only served to be "the straw that broke the camels back."� In the last century, there existed many reasons why differences arose between the two societies. A few of these reasons are the rise of OPEC, U.S involvement in Palestine, and the actions that the U.S have taken concerning the whole Muslim community in the Middle East. Although debatable, it seems that the U.S media are the ones who have done the most damage. Through Hollywood movies and other such TV shows, our media has portrayed their way of life incorrectly and due to their actions, they have made a the American public believe that they are "evil."�

A number of movies that contain some sort of reference to Islam have usually used stereotypes in order to bring their plot together, as you will soon see. American government's actions in history along with media portrayals of Arabs and Islam have made the reactions to 9/11 significantly worse than it already was.

One real question that many have asked is "Where have these stereotypes and feelings of hatred towards Arabs and Islam come from?"� Although there is no clear-cut answer, there exists many times in history where these may have originated from. For example, In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, some European artists presented images of this Middle Eastern area as land containing desolate deserts, corrupt palaces and slimy souks inhabited by lazy, bearded savages which represented Arab Muslims (Shaheen 7). Although this doesn't seem to be...