Research Paper Topic: Correcting Negative impressions about Arab Americans
To correct negative misconceptions about Arabs, many organizations like the media, print and electronic, teachers, priests, and community leaders must present facts as they are and point out the positive aspects of Arab Americans in particular and Arabs in general. They could point out that most Arabs are like the average citizen who works hard at his job to support his family and contributes to the community. Although most people think that Arabs are only Muslims, they must see that there are many Arabs who are Christians and Jews as well. Stereotyping takes place because it is part of the human condition which takes mental shortcuts for simplifying information.
Stereotypes are perpetuated because of repetition, especially by the media. By persistently repeating the same images of a specific group of people we think that we know all that there is to know about them. Since most Americans have never been to the Middle East nor have any contacts with Arab Americans or even Arabs then it has become quite easy to form unqualified opinions because of repeatedly seeing the same images that Arabs are uncivilized, violent and abhor freedom. It is not that Arabs should not be portrayed as terrorists, because according to some Western precepts, some of them actually are.
It is just that to be fair, people must also see Arabs in other contexts such as fathers, mothers, friends, neighbors, doctors, engineers, social workers, government officials, artists who have the qualities and failings of all other people, then this stereotyped image may be reversed. The concepts are given by the media that Arabs are bombers, belly dancers and billionaires must be effectively dispelled by those with influence by not exploiting the Arab stereotype and featuring articles and shows on TV showing the true essence of Arab Americans specifically and Arabs generally. This causes difficulties with those who are stereotyped when it is assumed that people who belong to a particular group which can be racial, ethnic, gender or religious etc are all the same and it is possible to understand by categorizing them in some simple manner
Stereotyping Arabs is like watching Portrayals of some white people in the media who are serial murderers. If one story shows them as serial killers, this does not mean that all white people are serial killers. Arabs should be viewed in the same manner as other people as heroes’ family men or everyday regular people because one serial killer does not portray all white people. Most images of Arabs in popular culture are quite limited to what the general public has been told about them via the media or as they are portrayed in movies.