Arabs and stereotypes

· Popular culture

When OJ Simpson was arrested for the murder of his wife, Time very controversially ran a picture on their cover of the legendary football player with a darkened face. They received a lot of flak for this because people drew racist connotations from it. The implication was that Simpson was obeying the darker instincts of the black race, in keeping with the colour of his skin. This is obviously a racist thought and, in a way, stereotypical.


That happened in 1994. But we still see stereotypical, racist behaviour on the part of the media all the time. In a recent article on the Illuminati and their control of media messages, found at, I wrote about how Hollywood movies routinely depict Arabs as little more than swarthy animals. They do not offer a nuanced variety of Arabs, depicting some one way and others another way, which of course is reality. Instead, they act like Mohammed Atta, Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, represent the entirety of the Arabic race.


The media does not, however, engage in this type of stereotypical behaviour for terrorists who are white. Timothy McVeigh, anyone? The weird fact is that I can only think of McVeigh’s example to represent what I am talking about because of the lack of media coverage of white terrorists. I can name Mohammed Atta and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed because of the constant mention of them in the media.


Racism affects coverage of stories on an even more subtle level. If a black child disappears, he or she does not receive the same blanket media coverage that would accompany the vanishing of a Caucasian child, with blue eyes, for example. If it were an Arab child missing, and a white Canadian child missing at the same time, guess which one would receive the most coverage?


I watch daytime soap operas and I remember reading years ago that whenever a particular soap opera magazine put African Americans on the cover, sales went down significantly. I find this hard to believe, given that the black audience for soaps like Young and the Restless is very high. I’m sure they buy magazines! But even assuming this is true from a commercial perspective, society as a whole needs to do what is necessary to reflect the diversity of the country as a whole. Maybe if more African Americans were on the cover, they would sell more. Or maybe they are aware of the racist attitude of some of the media, and choose to spend their money elsewhere.


As long as there are insecure people in the world, there will be racism for sure. But by pointing out examples, maybe our community can become more aware of signs to watch out for to shame those who exhibit racism. We can always hope!


Comments RSS
  1. SC

    Funny thing happened to me today. I got onto the bus, while displaying my Dalcard to the driver. While on my way to the back of the bus, he asked me if he could have a closer look at it. I was okay with that. I proceeded down the bus and took up a seat. In the subsequent bus stops that the bus stopped at, several university students got on, some of them not showing their university IDs properly. But the driver did not ask any one of them if he could see their card again. This struck me. Maybe I didn’t show my card properly to the driver, and so he requested to see it again, to check if I had a U-pass sticker. On the other hand, he might have wanted to see my Dalcard solely because I was brown. I hope that was not the case. If that was the case, I ask to myself, why does having brown skin make an individual I interact with suspect me of getting onto the bus without a proper U-pass sticker? Aren’t we all the same red inside, even though we may be fair or dark on the outside?

    • admin

      I have actually noticed the same thing on Halifax buses. I’ve often gotten on without a pass, and when I say I will show them after I sit down and find it, they just nod indifferently and barely look at it when I get around to showing them. But when someone else gets on who is Arabic, black, etc (especially men), the bus driver’s attitude can be very different. So I definitely have firsthand experience of what you went through today. I’m sorry to hear that but you seem to have a very healthy, philosophical attitude about it.

Leave a Comment