Report on Media Representations of Arabs and Muslims
Instructor: Dr. Matthew A. MacDonald
After hearing about all the laughter my friends had while watching the movie The Dictator, I was actually excited to go see a movie at the theaters for once. However, as the movie ended and I was walking back to my car, I realized that what my friends thought was hysterically funny was actually mockery done to my own race and culture which I couldn’t find funny at all. In any circumstance, inventing a stereotype against a certain group or person can have many negative outcomes. People of dominant cultures can create false images towards a minority culture in order to ridicule or discriminate against them. One example of how Stereotyping can create false representations towards a minority group can be shown though the American film industry In the movie The Dictator directed by Larry Charles. Sacha Baron Cohen plays General Admiral Haffaz Aladeen, a dictator of the fictional North African country of Wadiya Who resembles Libya's Colonel Moammar Gadhafi with an Osama bin Laden beard. Aladeen oppresses his people from the comfort of his sprawling, sleeps with movie stars and orders the execution of his underlings for the silliest of perceived offenses which sadly but true has been in many Arab and middle eastern Diplomatic biography’s till this day. After a visit to New York and his beard forcedly shaved off, Aladeen struggles for people to recognize him in order to save his position as dictator and continue to rule his non democratic country. Throughout the movie, I noticed that everyone in the movie theater would laugh even harder when it came to the racist comments and the perpetuating negative stereotypes against Arabs. This left me dismayed by Baron Cohen's depiction of Admiral General Aladeen . I'm known to take a good joke but, why is it okay for Hollywood to degrade, insult, dehumanize, belittle and perpetuate racist stereotypes of a...
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