Chapter

Image and Stereotype

BERNARD LEWIS

in Race and Slavery in the Middle East

Published in print June 1992 | ISBN: 9780195053265
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854561 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195053265.003.0013
Image and Stereotype

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The chapter shows the literature and folklore of the Middle East which revealed a normal range of traditional and stereotypical accusation against people who were perceived to be different and inferior. The following accusations were directed to slaves: stupid, vicious, untruthful, dishonest, dirty, having an evil smell. The black's physical appearance was described as ugly, distorted, and monstrous. If there were accusations, there were also praises such as brave, generous, and musical. There is one aspect that deserves deeper exploration: the emotional content attached to the concept of black and white — the idea that black is connected with sin, the devil, and damnation while white has the opposite association. Another stereotype of the black is as a monster or a bogeyman. Thus the portrayal of the black in Islamic literature and Islamic art falls into stereotyped categories.

Keywords: slaves; stereotype; literature; folklore; Islamic literature; Islamic art

Chapter.  3394 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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