Shutter Island

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Reel Bad Arabs--Discussion Prompt--50 Minutes
Current Word Count: 214. Required Word count: 514

1. Shaheen’s research has led him to view over 1000 films in which Arabs are represented. He argues that Arabs are “the most maligned group in the history of Hollywood.” Would you agree with this claim? And why?

2. Shaheen identifies what he terms the mythical location “arabland.” From where did this image first come? It first came from the European travel writers and artist about 150 to 200 years ago.

3. Shaheen says that “arabland” is furnished with images from an “instant Ali Baba kit.” What are the key ingredients found in this kit? The key ingredients are are images of see through pantaloons, belly dancing outfits, villains with long scimitars, magic carpets, and turban charmers programming snakes in and out of baskets.

4. In what ways does Disney’s Aladdin serve as a prime example of this stereotyping?

Aladdin portrays the Arab people as villains with long scimitars, “where they cut peoples ears off if they don’t like your face” and also as people who steal. 5. In what ways are Arab men represented in these movies?

6. In what ways are Arab women represented in these movies?

7. In what ways, according to Shaheen, does the “reel” representation of Arabs affect our understanding of the Arab world in “real” life?

8. Shaheen says that American-made DVDs are readily available throughout the Arab world. In what way, also, do these representations affect the ways in which Arabs view the US?

9. What point is Shaheen making when he talks about Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber?

10. In what ways does Shaheen propose that we could balance these representations in Hollywood?
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