The Demonization of Persons of Arab and Muslim Ancestry In Historical Perspective

Samuel Martínez

in International Migration and Human Rights

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780520258211
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942578 | DOI:
The Demonization of Persons of Arab and Muslim Ancestry In Historical Perspective

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This chapter appraises elite discourse, media vilification, and selective government persecution of Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslims before 9/11, much similar to the designs in the aftermath. It provides the analysis of the media and political discourses that prepared the ground for the state's post-9/11 security response. It examines how the law and its enforcement have contributed to the hostility toward Arabs and Muslims in the United States. The demonization of Arabs and Muslims in the United States, as well as federal government actions that target Arabs and Muslims in the name of combating terrorism, began years before September 11, 2001. Racism against Arabs is not all the work of political activists. Media and film have found a ready audience for dangerous, one-dimensional images of Arabs and Muslims. It explains how Hollywood movies portray Arabs or Muslims as terrorists or otherwise places them in a negative, often less-than-human light. Arab women are often portrayed as weak and mute, covered in black, or as scantily clad belly dancers. These are the few examples through which the chapter justifies its title.

Keywords: demonization; Arabs; muslims; historical perspective; media; one-dimensional images

Chapter.  6531 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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