Friday, February 6, 2015

Stereotypes on Middle-Eastern Ethnic Groups

Image from Sir Ronald Sanders
Middle-Eastern people are often judged by the actions committed by the Islamic extremists. Recently, the Western media have been depicting Middle-Easterners negatively especially as it covered many stories of journalists who have been victimized.  In Charlie Hebdo Attack, the article mentioned that the Islamic religion has the tendency to cause fanatics. Although Muslims are no more violent than other religions, media is creating and increasing negative stereotypes about them and should stop.
Muslim prayer beads

Normal American citizens have been relying on the western media. The western news reports Muslims as violent. “In the big picture,” Muslims are normal people. However, people may go against my argument for various reasons that includes stereotypical reasons. For, example, due to the incident of the Charlie Hebdo attack, the news companies reported the details of the catastrophe. The majority of the American media portrays the news regarding the Muslims in unnecessarily inflammatory ways with its use of language and tones. For example, an article about the attack on Charlie Hebdo was written in biased way that built more stereotypes on the Islamic community. According to the Charlie Hebdo article, one quoted that the Islamic religion “has the tendency to cause fanatics.” According to a Muslim author, we shouldn't forget that the two victims in Paris were Muslims. I personally, see an irony there because this fact about the Charlie Hebdo attack shows that the terrorists organizations only support people who share the same philosophy and ideology with them. Words that creates stereotypes of Middle-Eastern people can be terrorists and extremists.

Floyd Abrams, a civil right lawyer, described the situation that opposes  Muslims and the western news companies. He has said it is ''the most threatening assault on journalism in living memory." This quote can build consequences because his statement stays between freedom of speech or anti-freedom of speech in order to prevent multiple stereotypes build up. However, I believe that some procedures from the media should stop. For example, governor Jindal of Louisiana said that Islam has a problem. Although he understands the initial situation, his word choice built stereotypes on middle-eastern people.

Some other articles cover the general Muslim population in a negative way by reporting the terrorists actions or what is bad about Muslims. This directly influences the lives of normal Muslim people in United States. For example, research tells us that half of Muslim-American students in California are being bullied because of their religious faith and beliefs. I believe that this fanatical events are occurring within the United States because the media depiction makes Muslims' daily lives extremely difficult.

Some TV channels talks about issues that affect the life of Muslim-Americans in United States. The Bill Maher “Show”, was emphasizing stereotyping the Muslim people. Bill Maher is definitely creating stereotypes and bigotry that goes against the Muslims in general. He states that they all hold radical views. In truth, there are fundamentally huge amount of Muslims around the world and some hold the view that people deserve death for leaving islam. Based on the 2013 Pew Research Center report,  88% of Muslims in Egypt and 62% of Muslims in Pakistan favor the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion. However, despite those people, there are Americans that hold the view that the Muslim people aren’t radical. According to the PewForum research, it tells us that in August of 2010, about 30% of Americans view the Muslims in a favorable way. Maher mentions that Islam religion holds radical view that influence the people to hold certain ideas about their religion. The example was given by Maher, stating that the Muslim people do not have as much volition to show much of their religion because other extremists will come and kill them like a crazy mafia. However, I believe that it isn’t true at all because Maher basically linked the entire religion of Islam to a form of extremism. When Maher said about the “ugly things”, it is what makes the Muslims victimized with racism. Affleck added "How about the more than a billion people, who aren't fanatical, who don't punish women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day, and don't do any of the things that you're saying all Muslims do,” Not all Muslims are the Mafia like people.

The majority of scholars and faithful Muslim people will say that their religion is no more violent than any other faiths and religions. However, some Muslims like the president of Egypt argued that “the contemporary understanding of Islamic religion is infected with violence, requiring the government and its official clerics to correct the teaching of Islam”. However, he’s also saying that because there are some violent contents in the Qu’ran, religious leaders need to speak out and reasuure people that this is not representative of all Muslims. It is also true that not the majority of the Muslim will inherently fall into the idea of extremism. Just like when we look at different religions like Christianity, there are certain books that might make the religion as bad (like the book of Revelations that emphasize the strictness of faiths).

Throughout the research, I have learned that the American media have vilified the reputation of the Islamic society. Articles use overly toned languages to describe the Islamic people. Despite articles, TV also makes lives harder for Muslims as well. I think the media should stop these actions toward Muslims in order to prevent them from having harder lives. The priority comes to stopping the negative works from the media that vilifies normal Muslims. Despite the actual extremists, media should stop creating negative stereotypes about Middle-Easterners like describing them as people who are violent and wrong.

Conclusion, updated(March 4th 2015)

After replying to the blog commenters, my thoughts about the Muslim issues in America haven’t changed. People who gave their thoughts on my topic didn’t change my opinion because the western media influence many Americans to omit the Muslims. Most of negative stereotypes about Islamic people developed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Furthermore, the western media made American people hold unfavorable views toward Middle-Eastern people. Therefore, the Muslim world in America suffers from stereotypes and bias developed by the media.

The information about Muslim bigotry in America interest some people to read my blog because it portrayed the difference of being a White American and a Middle-Eastern person. Stereotypes and racial bias omit Muslims because the Islamic world in America is prevented from being developed because of other racial group’s oppression within America. People who subscribed to my blog helped me reconsider if Muslims are actually searched more on the internet than news related to Christianity. I learned that other people may interpret my information in a way that is different from my original intent. Therefore, it required me to elucidate the source that proves Muslims are more in the headlines of mainstream media.

I had to find more information about news and articles that portray Muslims as real people. In order to give my commenters the best answers, I found it very challenging to perform extra research on finding the Muslims as typical people.

I learned many lessons from making a blog on the Internet for the first time. Not only did I learn how to use informative language on the Internet, but also I learned the importance of following up with the commenters to help them understand my original post and opinions.


  1. Intriguing blog post. I too wish our media showed less bias.

  2. Hi JS Lee! I enjoyed reading your post about the constant stereotyping of Muslims as threatening. Today's New York Times contained an interesting article about this problem. Referring, again, to Governor Jindal, the Times reported that, "Gov. Bobby Jindal, Republican of Louisiana claimed that if American Muslims 'want to set up their own culture and values, that’s not immigration, that’s really invasion.'" The governor now seems to be worried about the "invasion" of Muslims. Unfortunately, as the Times reports, Muslims have been part of American history for over two hundred years. On the one hand, it is depressing to read of political leaders taking cheap and false shots at an entire religion. However, it is also good to see someone posting an editorial in the Times to set the record straight. Have you found any news or shows that have started to portray Muslims as "real people?" Thanks for posting your views, JS Lee!--Ms. Riches

  3. JS Lee, thank you for your thoughtful post about what is undoubtedly an uncomfortable subject for many in this country. I don't know if you have been following the American media this week, but a terrible crime was committed in North Carolina on Tuesday, in which 3 Muslim American students were killed. I watched the local and national news this morning looking for coverage of the story, and it wasn't featured anywhere I saw in my limited time, certainly not as a top story. Many people would not even know it happened were it not for social media, and a #MuslimLivesMatter movement that is questioning why this story isn't deserving of more media coverage, particularly if it is a hate crime. One person tweeted, "3 college kids murdered execution-style, including 2 newly-weds. No media uproar tho - because Muslim. #ChapelHill" Do you think this story speaks to the same bias you mention here? Why wouldn't this crime get more mainstream media coverage? I would love to hear your thoughts, especially in light of all the research you have done on this topic. Well done!

  4. Hi JS Lee, I really enjoyed reading your article. Here's one of the article I read about stereotypes on mideast

  5. I think you have created awareness through this article of how bias the media can be, the article is in depth and the date really backs up what you are trying to deduce, however, are you trying to state that majority of media bias points directly to the Muslims/middle easterners or its what they want you to think? The conclusion wasn't so informative in my opinion, did you think its only the American Media portraying Muslims this way ? Or is it just mainly the western media ? Or the whole world ?

  6. Hi Roti Prata Everyday! Thank you for your interesting question. Yes, the majority of medias in the western world, focuses on crimes that muslims commit. When a crime is committed by a non muslim, the media doesn't report as fast as the Muslims crime just like Charlie Hebdo. I do not think that the whole world has the problem with the Muslims but I do believe that the western media do critisize mostly on those incedents regarding Muslims.

  7. Hello JS Lee! Thank you so much for the reply! You have successfully answer my question but sprouted another- through what sources and data do you know that crimes done by muslims are reported faster then crimes that aren't done by muslims?

  8. Hi Roti Prada Everyday! Thank you very much for showing me interest in my topic and article! I have found some data for you. According to the Google trends data, I have searched Islam violence, Islam peace, Christian violence, and Christian peace. There are more people who are searching Islam affairs compared to Christian links. I think this links to how fast the catastrophic news are reported faster in social media since social media is one of the biggest mainstream media we see every day. As again, thanks.

  9. Hi Mrs. Riches! Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment on my article. I too agree that it is unfortunate to have powerful people like Governor Jindal to give names to certain groups of people like Muslims. I do know that some people do view the Muslims as normal/real people. For example, In the debate show between Bill Maher and Ben Affleck, Ben Affleck defended the Muslim people in America. Not only in the show but there is an organization that I have found in the web that tries to prevent the Muslims people from oppression and make them into normal neighbors for all Americans. I certainly support the Muslim people to have normal lives without oppression from anyone especially the celebrity's bigotry and bias. You can visit Our Muslim Neighbor Initiative(

  10. Hello Ms. Gerla! Thank you for your comment! To your question, I believe that the shootings and the murders committed by a white man is speaking to me in the same bias because it contributes to a problem between white vs. colored. It was a hate crime committed by a white person against the Muslim person. However, there has been less coverage of this crime which I believe is due the fact that he is a white American. I feel that Muslims friends and family of the kids who were shot at the chapel hill might want to hold the vigil for the victims. however, if I was in there position, I might be afraid to be vigil because people may believe that I may be in a secret Muslim terrorist meetings. Being a Muslim is not supported in this country. As you see in the article, people who appeal in media like Bill Maher and Sam Harris state that Islam is not a religion of peace due to some contexts in Qu'ran and history. That fact is true in America. Personally, the mainstream media coverage wasn't whole because many white Americans have difficulty accepting other diverse group of people as being part of their American society.


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