Characteristics of Orientalism, Prejudice, and Discrimination
There are several differences between the Arab and Muslim groups. The actuality is that Arabs are an ethnic group and Muslims are a religious group. A Muslim is a person who practices the Islam religion. In the world, most Muslims are not necessarily Arabs and most Arabs are not necessarily Muslims. “Orientalism is the simplistic view of the people and history of the Orient, with no recognition of change over time or the diversity within its many cultures” (Schaefer, 2006). This term is a misrepresentation of people from the East by those in the West. One characteristic is stereotyping the difference in religious expression. Discrimination and prejudice are other characteristics of orientalism. For example, the overemphasis of Arab and Muslim women wearing face veils in the media. This is seen as oppressing women but yet the history behind it is not being told. After the 9/11 attacks, the USA Patriot Act, which was passed in October 2001, had specific provisions that condemned discrimination against Arab and Muslim Americans. This act was revised because it had been accused of contributing to the fear within the Arab and Muslim communities. Unfortunately, all policies were not changed in a positive way. The U.S. Department of Justice required all foreign-born Muslim men to report to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. They have to be fingerprinted, photographed, and interviewed. There are several things that individuals can do to promote tolerance and reduce prejudice in their towns and cities. One way to achieve this is by treating everyone equally. Another way to reduce prejudice is by educating ourselves about a person’s culture. If we can gain an understanding of an individual’s cultural background, we are opening up our minds to realize that those that we consider “different” may have similar views.
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