“Nothing will be the same again.” Americans scarred by the experience of 9/11 often express this sentiment. But what remains the same, argues Jack Shaheen, is Hollywood’s stereotyping of Arabs. In his new book about films made after 9/11, Shaheen finds that nearly all of Hollywood’s post-9/11 films legitimize a view of Arabs as stereotyped villains and the use of Arabs and Muslims as shorthand for the “Enemy” or “Other.” Along with an examination of a hundred recent movies, Shaheen addresses the cultural issues at play since 9/11: the government’s public relations campaigns to win “hearts and minds” and the impact of 9/11 on citizens and on the imagination. He suggests that winning the “war on terror” would take shattering the centuries-old stereotypes of Arabs, and frames the solutions needed to begin to tackle the problem and to change the industry and culture at large.
Jack G. Shaheen, a former CBS News consultant on Middle East affairs, is the world’s foremost authority on media images of Arabs and Muslims. He is the author of Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs after 9/11, Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture, Nuclear War Films, and the award-winning TV Arab.