Monday, May 3, 2010

Reel Bad Arabs

I was finally able to get my hands on this book which is best summarized by Jack Shaheen's own words:

"I am not saying an Arab should never be portrayed as a villain. What I am saying is that almost all Hollywood depictions of Arabs are bad ones. This is a grave injustice. Repetitious and negative images of the reel Arab literally sustain adverse portraits across generations. The fact is that for more than a century, producers have tarred an entire group of people with the same sinister brush.

Hollywood's past omission of  everyday African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos unduly affected the lives of these minorities. The same holds true with the industry's near total absence of regular Arab Americans. Regular Mideast Arabs, too are invisible on the silver screens."

Following a short introduction, Jack Shaheen lists and discusses more than 900 feature films displaying Arab characters. Unfortunately, only a handful of those movies depict heroic Arabs.

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