Stereotypes as a Propaganda Tool

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Stereotypes as a Propaganda Tool Stereotypes as a Propaganda Tool As Americans go through a post-traumatic process after the September tragedies, most people are trying to analyze the entire situation to find out who is wrong and who is right. While media, politicians, and military leaders endlessly speak about the Taliban, Bin-Laden, Arabs, and Islam, we are making our conclusions based on what we hear. What an average American might assume by watching television and reading newspapers is that Islamic fundamentalism is some kind of mental illness and every Arabic-looking man is a threat to society. Unintentionally, we are about to make the same mistake by discriminating against people as we did with the Germans during World War II and Japanese after Pearl Harbor. Because we know the consequences, we have to decide again, is it acceptable to stereotype some people and set them apart on the basis of their religion and national origin just because they “fit the profile”? No doubt, the terrorist attacks in the United States have changed many things in the “self-contained” American mentality. Feelings such as fear, anger, hate, and sadness washed through our minds like a gigantic storm in the middle of the ocean. The new mind-set about “suspicious” people from certain ethnic group became an everyday norm soon after the September events. It became the standard procedure to single out Muslim-looking people and subject them to additional searches, it is the norm now to ask them three or four times a day for identification papers anytime and anywhere. It became common to refuse to fly in the same plane with Arabs. This is a true episode by Gail Schoettler published in Denver Post: As I settled into my seat for a recent flight, th... ... middle of paper ... ... Paulson, Michael. “The Usual Suspects when Hollywood Needs Villains, Arabs are Often First Choice. ‘Reel Bad Arabs’ Lays Out the Evidence, and It’s Not Pretty.” Boston Globe 25 Nov. 2001: L.9. Pinkham, Paul. “Americans In Fear of Americans.” Florida Times Union 23 Sep. 2002: A-1. Poblete, Pati. “Lifting the Veil of Stereotypes.” Sun Francisco Chronicle 14 Oct. 2001: B.1. Poe, Janita. “Anti-Muslim Attacks: Backlash Targeting Innocent Victims.” The Atlanta Constitution 19 Sep. 2001: A.10. Reza, H.G., Rich Connell. “Response to Terror; Sometimes-Hostile Scrutiny Difficult for Sun Diego’s Muslim Community.” The Los Angeles Times 5 Oct. 2001: B.1. Schoettler, Gail. “It’s Time to Live Our Ideas.” Denver Post 28 Oct. 2001: F.05. Sultan, Aisha. ”Faces of Islam; St.Louis Muslims Lead Diverse Lives That Defy Stereotypes.” St.Louis Post 30 Sep. 2001: B.1.
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