There have been many stereotypes developed about Arabs in the western world. This has been because of their difference in cultural and religious believes. The Arabs are Muslims while the people in the western world are Christians. Therefore, this research is based on the misrepresentation of the Arabs in Hollywood that is because of these differences. In addition, the American media has contributed to this biasness because of the pictures that are aired in their television about the Arab world and the Islamic religion in general. The western world sees themselves as the champions of good governance through promoting their democratic way of government. This has made them to demonize other people’s cultures especially the Muslim people.
Hollywood has not been left out in this demonic practice of despising other people’s culture. This has been witnessed in some movies they have produced such as Aladdin and True Lies. Muslims are portrayed as murderers and terrorists and this gives a bad image of the Islamic religion. This is mostly based on their belief in holy war that is referred to as jihad. This is perceived of them because of a few people in the Arab world that engage in activities such as suicide bombing. Some Hollywood movies such those mentioned above have demonstrated high level of mistrust and hatred against Arabs. These activities are marred by a lot of stereotyping. Arabs are portrayed in the Hollywood movies as people with appetite for money and they use their vast oil deposits to satisfy this desire (Shaheen, 2008). This hatred between Muslims and America is mostly motivated by the relationship that exists between America and Israel. America wants to protect Israel from the Arab countries that want to attack it. They will protect Israel even in cases where they wrongly attack other countries such as Palestine.
Hollywood has demonstrated many racial, religious and political groups in the Arab world misrepresentation. They have been shown in a negative manner. Movies are produced by Hollywood that shows the negative side of the Islamic people. An example is the movie by the name Hell Squad in Las Vega that shows girls being trained as commandos to help curb nuclear activities by the Arab people (Shaheen, 2008). This is a clear indication of what is preached about Arabs by Some Hollywood movies. Hollywood is used to spread the idea of American foreign policy through its films. This increases the negative image being sent to the public about Arabs. According to Professor Jack Shaheen, the government has a hand in what is produced by Hollywood. They ensure that they send some negative image to the public about The Arabs. This was witnessed when America attacked Iraq because of their special interests in the country and they latter went there in the name of restructuring. There were speculations about bad governance and acts that were against human dignity by the American government. This was a move to demonize them because they had some special interest in their oil deposits.
The Arabs and Muslims who live in America are portrayed as people who are ready to act as terrorists when they are given any call to do that. This is a retrogressive thought because most of these people are law-abiding citizens who are wrongly accused. Stereotyping gained prominence with the end of cold war. According to some movie producers, the biasness shown in the movies attracts audience and therefore they sell best. When Islam is mentioned to most Americans, they just think of the known Muslim leaders who are opposed to the American policy and they do not fear to confront it in public. This brings the wrong perception of these leaders who are portrayed by the American leaders as evil people. The government will use media and Hollywood to convey this message to the public. They are portrayed as producers of weapons of mass destruction who want to ruin the whole world. This is an unfair practice, especially to the Arab-Americans, who lack any affiliations to these groups and they work hard to contribute to the growth of their nation (Karim, 2000). In movies, Muslims are depicted as bearded people who are ant Jewish and they are out to destroy America and Israel. Generally, Arabs have been portrayed as people with money in the Hollywood movies. They are never shown as ordinary people while, as most of the Arabs are just normal people like any other person.
On screens, Muslims are shown as people who lack a human sense in them. Example of a movie with a bad image of Muslims is ‘Not without my daughter’. This movie shows a Muslim man as a hypocrite, brutal Islam who abducts his American wife and daughter. He openly confess his religion i.e. Islam when he slaps his wife. He imprisons the wife and abuses her. He breaks his Muslim belief and we see him being followed by his relatives as he carries a poster showing Ayatollah Khomeini. These actions portrayed in the movie are offensive and defaming as they show that there exist some connection between Ayatollah and the Muslim people. Muslims are depicted as brutal people.
It also becomes offensive because they are trying to connect between an American woman and a Muslim man who is seen to be brutal. On the hand, Hollywood portrays Palestinian as evil being that lacks compassion for any one. Images produced by Hollywood such as Delta Force (1886) and A ministry of vengeance depicted Palestinian Muslims as the leading Muslim group in enmity. Movies that are produced are racist against Muslims. Rule of engagement, a movie produced by Paramount is one of the racist movies. It openly encourages people to hate Muslim Arabs. This is evidence of government involvement in spread of racist information about muslins because it is produced in conjunction with the Department of Defense and the American Marine Corps.
Other Hollywood movies portray Arabs as uncivilized people. They show pictures of women in a market setting selling goods and making a lot of noise. The market is full of people and donkeys for transport. This shows a negative picture of Arabs that are shown as living in a barbaric way of living. They dress code is mostly traditional. Hollywood in collaboration with Disney pictures released Operation Condor and G.I. Jane. It was shot in Condor, an Arabian desert. It features Jack Chan fighting with some Arabs that are considered evil (Nydell, 2002). They also use mockery statements against Muslim faith such as “We will never give up the struggle for the holy battle.” This is abuse of the Muslim religion and it shows lack of respect of r other people’s religion. Without any biasness, samples of these movies that speak against some people or preach hatred are retrogressive in our society. They are killing the spirit of togetherness in the current world that is seen as a global village. This creates tension among nations and their people and this is a threat to world peace. This should be considered as an unprofessional practice by Hollywood that should make them liable to any damage that they may cause.
In addition, the professionals in the field should try to enforce ethics as stipulated in the professional requirements in filming. They should monitor whatever that is aired on televisions or is produced for viewing by the public when sold. The practice of victimizing Arabs as having a monopoly in terrorism should end. This is because there are other terrorists from other countries. According to professionals, prejudiced production can make people do things that they would not have otherwise done. An example is the 1995 Oklahoma City tragedy (Nydell, 2002). There was biased reporting based on speculation that Muslim Arabs were responsible for this. This was done even when it was not confirmed that it was they. Because of this, hate crimes increased in America against America Arabs. Other than this vice on Hollywood only, the government should take responsibility. It should consider monitoring the pictures that are produced and should not be part of the vice. This will reduce the wrong perception and reduce tension among people in the world and especially between Muslims and Christians. The government should not employ some primitive public relations tactic to win the support of it s citizens by encouraging production of these biased films (Haydock & Risden, 2009).
Various research methods can be used to study this type of question. One of the best methods is through observation. This is a reliable research method that depends on the researcher. He gets first hand information and therefore the data is original and will not have been distorted by any one (Trochim, 2001). Observation will happen when the researcher views the film to analyze the level of biasness in filming of movies. There exist two types of observations i.e. participant and non-participant. In our context, the only applicable method is non-participant. This because the researcher cannot take part in the filming of the movie but can only watch it to come up with the review of the level of misrepresentation. This reveals the whole picture of what is happening as the researcher can see it with his eyes.
A researcher can also use interviewing as a method of doing research. This is a research method that the researcher prepares some questions in advance on the topic of study. He will then seek audience with the people that he thinks have the relevant information that he requires. It can be done face to face or can be administered through telephone. The researcher will ask his questions and the audience with give their views on the subject in question. This method is not as reliable as observation because one relies on what has been seen by others. Therefore, the information may have been distorted when reaching the researcher and this may make him to collect wrong or biased information. When we put this in our context, the person giving the researcher information is required to have watched the movie so that we can get the information on misrepresentation from him. Our analysis will therefore be based on what the person had watched and understood. This makes the method unreliable because he may not have been keen to observe whatever that we require from him.
He may also add information that was not in the movie and therefore this distorts the information required. If the source of our information is from the study subject, for example, a character in a movie thought to have misrepresented a certain group of persons; he may give some distorted information. This is especially if the information required is to show the negative effect of the movie. This will lead to insufficient information from the audience. Observation and interviews are the main research methods that can be used to study or analyze a movie. Analysis of a movie requires close participation of the researcher and that is why the two methods are very important and appropriate. This type of study falls under qualitative type of research (Trochim, 2001).
Qualitative research is a type of research that is done to acquire insights about beliefs, behaviors of individuals and attitudes. It involves detailed study of interviews, observation and case studies. In this study, the researcher seeks information about a certain group of people and their behavior. In study of misrepresentation, qualitative research helps to show how the characters are depicted in the movie and what they represent. The study of misrepresentation in Hollywood shows what the characters represented when they shot the movie. This research can also fall under literature review research. This involves a detailed examination, summarization and explanation of literature work in order to institute a given subject. It is a literature research because it involves research on movies that involve a plot and a theme. Therefore, analysis of the movie requires understanding of the plot and the message that is being put across. In order to study Hollywood movies, we must have the plot of the movie. This makes our work related with literature.
Finally, on the type of research, quantitative research method is a possible classification of our research work. This type of research involves measurement of behaviors, approach and insight. It will employ research methods such as interviewing. This will help to quantify our topic of study when we do the interviews. Misrepresentations can be done through examination of the language used and actions that are used to depict or imply that a certain community behaves in a certain way.
In addition to this, the costumes used in a movie have great implications about the group of people that is being represented in the movie. They are used to depict the way of living of the group of people. This may imply whether a group has a barbaric way of living or whether they are civilized. The setting of the movie also matters a lot. Some movies are set in a place that implies that the Arabs have a lot of money because of the oil that have. They imply that these people have greed for money. Therefore, quantitative research method will help us to get the exact weight of what has been presented to us in a movie. It gives a picture of the theme of the movie in question. The study of misrepresentation of Arabs in Hollywood is important in this field. The study of this subject will help us to analyze the impacts that negative publicity can have on people. In addition, it will add to the body of knowledge on ethics that should be employed when producing movies. This will be of great help to us as we study communication because this is a form of communication through production of images the shows the real life of people. This research will also improve our research skills as we try to understand this subject. Therefore, the study of this topic is very important to us.
Various methods are employed when carrying out research work. They involve prior planning, summarization and drawing conclusions from what we have studied. Planning of research entails various stages. They include identification of the aims of the research work. This is important because it helps us to identify the reasons why we should carry out the research. Secondly, we should identify the significance of the research. This will entail identifying the impacts that the research work will have on people or the society in general. In planning the research, we should also have laid out plan of how the report will be written after the research has been completed (Trochim, 2001). This is important and a basic requirement in research work. When the above are lain out on how they are going to be done, we should have a plan on how the work is going to be done. This will involve identification of the research methods that are going to be employed in our work.
In our context, we can identify whether we want to use the interview method or observation method. When identifying the objectives of the research, it should be hypothesis-based. When doing research, we can hypothesis that the there is misrepresentation of the Arabs in Hollywood or there is no misrepresentation of Arabs in Hollywood. The former is referred to as null hypothesis while the latter is referred to as alternative hypothesis. This helps us to show that there are two possibilities of either of the hypothesis happening. The objectives should be approximately a single page (Trochim, 2001). When we talk about significance, we should identify the background of the research we are doing. By referring to the background, we evaluate the knowledge upon which our research is based. We make an analysis of the importance of our research findings. This should be approximately two to three pages. The report should have a preliminary part that shows how the previous research was done. We should evaluate how the previous report will lead us to the report we will write. Ensure that there is maximum accuracy in the work that is summarized in the report. The preliminary and the final report should be approximately six to nine pages. Finally, analysis of the research methods is very important because it shows how the work is organized and whether it is clear in its presentation. We should describe the concepts or approaches that are being employed in our research work. This should not be more than twenty-five pages.
Haydock, N., & Risden, L. E. (2009). Hollywood in the Holy Land: essays on film depictions of the Crusades and Christian-Muslim clashes. New York: McFarland
Karim, H. K. (2000). The Islamic peril: media and global violence. Montréal: Black Rose Books
Nydell, K. M. (2002). Understanding Arabs: a guide for westerners. New York: Intercultural Press
Shaheen, J. G. (2008). Guilty: Hollywood’s verdict on Arabs after 9/11. New York: Olive Branch Press
Trochim, W. M. K. (2001). Research methods knowledge base. Baltimore: Atomic Dog Pub.