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Critic Says Hollywood Abuses Arab Bogeyman

One critic is getting very critical of Hollywood's portrayal of Arabs and Muslims in film and television. Jack Shaheen, an American of Lebanese decent, told Reuters that in America, where it is politically incorrect to make derogatory comments about other groups like African Americans or Jews, there is no social taboo against reinforcing damaging Arab or Muslim stereotypes.

In his latest book, Guilty, Shaheen says that the an anti-Arab tendency was present before September 11th. Disney's Aladdin (1992) and Father of the Bride Part II both fail the test. (Remember the Arab guy trying to buy Steve Martin's house?)

But, since September 11th, the vilifying has picked up. Shaheen writes that
2006's The Kingdom presented some of the most damaging depictions of Arabs in which "even Arab children cannot be trusted." Movies that make the A-list? Shaheen says Babel (2006) and Rendition (2007) presented a more complex view of Arabs.

Do American movies and television shows rely on the "Arab bogeyman"? Why do you think American society tolerates such indiscriminate demonization?


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