Change Is Coming: Arab & Muslim Images In U.S. Pop Culture

Ricky Veasley

Women working high-end jobs, men going to school, teenagers breakdancing on the sidewalk are some of the things we hardly see in regards to Arab and Muslim people in Western Popular culture. Thus, Arab & Muslim Images In U.S. Pop Culture was created.

Dr. Jack Shaheen, the speaker of the event, has spent the last 30 years of his life dedicated to eradicating the negative images presented by American media. He has written books on the topic, traveled the world lecturing to mass audiences to eliminate the stereotypes, and completed numerous amounts of research on American representation of Arabs and Muslims. He is the one and only expert in this area.

“We are opening up a forum for education and dialogue to learn about who the real Arabs are, not the Arabs that we see in the movies,” Youssef Salhi, Arabic lecturer and advisor of Arabic Club said.

This event serves to bring attention to the persistent stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims in American culture that are false and harmful. It is geared towards faculty, staff, the Statesboro community, and most importantly the students.

“I went to Morocco this past summer. I like to think of myself as an open-minded person, but I got there and I kind of had these holdback moments. I was like ‘Wait a minute, this is not what you guys are supposed to reflect, do, and act like,’” Megan Bright, senior international studies major said.

Watching certain television shows, movies, and news networks can subconsciously put negative images about Arabs and Muslims in people’s minds. Most American media portray Arabs or Muslims as terrorists, violent, oppressive and submissive, which is not the case for all Arab and Muslim people.

“I want people to understand that Arabs are just like Americans. We do the stuff that Americans do. It might be a different culture, different weather, different food, but it’s the same people,” Salhi said.

This event will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, at 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center. For additional information contact Professor Youssef Salhi at [email protected]

Jack Shaheen

Born: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1935

Famous Works: “Reel Bad Arab” (documentary); “The TV Arab” (book)

“I want people to take from my lecture that whatever stereotypical images they have of others, whether they are Arab or Jews, I want them to sort of unlearn their stereotypes or at least think about them. I want them to see it is wrong. I want them to recognize these are stereotypes, and through the recognition take action.”