discrimination of Arab Americans Essay

Submitted By kpoc34
Words: 1041
Pages: 5

Don’t Let History Repeat Itself
Americans today treat Arabs similarly to how Americans treated Asians in the time of WWII. A very rash stereotype that is seen to be enacted on the Arabs is that Muslims and Arabs are the same, and the false idea that all Muslims have a jihad or holy war against America. This stereotype is a result from the lack of education regarding the ethnic background of Arabs and what Jack Shaheen depict as the media’s portrayal of the Arab people that generate unnecessary speculated fear among society in his article “The Media’s Image of Arabs.” The severity of discrimination increased after September 11th 2001 when a terrorist group from the Middle East attacked America. If history repeats itself then Arabs will be discriminated against similar to Asian Americans in WWII, and the unjustified label of Arabs initiated by tragedy and media’s constant representation of Arabs that they are disloyal will lead to the persecution of an entire ethnicity.
Considering this, tragedy caused by another nation raises hatred not only to people of that nation, but also persecution to fellow countrymen that fit the stereotype of the foreign attackers. Shaheen explains, “stereotypes blur our vision and corrupt the imagination” (Shaheen 85). Attacks on a nation with colorful ethnic backgrounds like America, Americans become racist of all citizens and religions that can trace their heritage back to the foreign attacker’s homeland or have similar appearance. One example of intolerance accrued in 2006 while legal immigrant Raed Jarrar had his constitutional rights taken away as Jarrar tried to board an airplane while wearing a shirt with Arabic lettering on it. Jarrar was pulled aside and was told to take it off and Jarrad’s testimony of what the officials stated, “when I asked why, one of the TSA officers said, 'Coming into an airport while wearing a T-shirt with Arabic letters on it was equivalent to going into a bank while wearing a shirt saying, 'I am a robber” (Ahlers). Racism is protected by patriotism. Hate crimes against people of Middle Eastern origin increased from 354 attacks in 2000 to 1501 attacks in 2001 (qtd. in –name in article-). American discrimination can traced back to the aftermath of the catastrophic event on December 7, 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor shows the same perception in how Americans discriminate and allow racism as a nation. Asian Americans were misidentified as Japanese Americans and forced into internment camps under executive order by the president of the United States of America, Franklin D. Roosevelt (Siasoco), because fear overpowered common sense. Natsu Taylor Saito, author of the article “The Treatment of Arab Americans Today,” confronts the similarities of discrimination against Arab Americans in present time to Japanese Americans during WWII. The government’s loose identification of Arab Americans and Muslims as terrorists is similar to the assumption that Japanese Americans were disloyal and communist, which led to the forced relocation of Japanese Americans to the internment camps (Saito).
Further, examining media’s portrayal of Arabs causes Americans to perceive them to be disloyal. This image has not gone unnoticed, as an United Nations special reporter on contemporary forms of racism noted racism and discrimination against Arabs in the U.S. are highlighted through media's tendency to identify Arabs and Muslims with terrorists (Saito). Asian Americans during WWII dealt with a lot of propaganda-based racial stereotypes from films and posters that betrayed them as beasts and savages. If the media’s stereotype of Arabs continues it will have a very unjust and damaging effect on Arabs image. Shaheen suggests, “The Arab remains American culture’s favorite whipping boy” (Shaheen 86). These prejudices that the media is promoting could lead to aggression either to or from the Arab American people. The media’s over-stating of Arabs and loose identification with a uninformed society