The following documentary, Reel Bad Arabs, begins with Dr. Jack Shaheen observing, “Arabs are the most maligned group in the history of Hollywood.” Watching this opened my eyes to see the power of film to shape stereotypes. The video looks at:
“a slanderous aspect of cinematic history that has run virtually unchallenged from the earliest days of silent film to today’s biggest Hollywood blockbusters. Featuring acclaimed author Dr. Jack Shaheen, the film explores a long line of degrading images of Arabs–from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and gun-wielding “terrorists”–along the way offering devastating insights into the origin of these stereotypic images, their development at key points in US history, and why they matter so much today (Reel Bad Arabs).
Stereotypes “rob people of their humanity.” I had been blind to this injustice and prejudice. It is a violation of the 9th commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” and Jesus’ teaching that we “love our neighbor as ourselves.”