From the MEF study guide: “Dr. Jack Shaheen has been studying the images of Arabs in the cinema for over thirty years. In the book that this film was based on, he examined more than 1,000 films ranging from the earliest days of film production to contemporary Hollywood blockbusters. Through his analysis, he uncovered a disturbing and consistent pattern of rigid and demeaning stereotypes that are repeated over and over again. Arabs are constantly depicted as subhuman villains and there is little variation from this portrayal. Dr. Shaheen argues that Arabs are “the most maligned group in the history of Hollywood.”
Watch the entirety of the film: Reel Bad Arabs, and answer the following questions (minimum of 100 words reply for each question):
– Do you agree with Dr. Shaheen’s contention that the Iraq war was made easier by a century of demeaning stereotypes? Why or why not? What do you think he means by “easier”?
– Why do you think reporters blamed Middle Eastern terrorists for the Oklahoma City bombing?
– What are your thoughts on racial profiling? What would you say to someone who pointed out that TimothyMcVeigh looked like the stereotypical wholesome All-American boy? Would it have made sense after he bombed the federal building, therefore, to demand that white men should be randomly stopped by police and searched? Why or why not?
– Can you think of other stereotypes that are invisible to us but influence how we see the world?
– Do you think films have the power to influence how we see the world? Why or why not?