Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Reel Arabs are not Real Arabs!

Recently, we have been discussing the mis-representation of Arabs, Muslims, and Middle-Easterners (in general) in media and popular culture. In his book, "Reel Bad Arabs", Dr. Jack Shaheen discovered that out of 1000 films that have Arab & Muslim characters (from the year 1896 to 2000), 12 were positive depictions, 52 were even handed and the rest of the 900 and so were negative . This has major repercussions on how Western society views these people and how they, ultimately, view themselves. Click the YouTube clip above to watch an extended trailer for the film.








Little Mosque on the Prairie" is the story of the Muslim population in the fictional town of Mercy, Saskatchewan. The show derives much of its humour from the interactions of the Muslims with the non-Muslim townspeople of Mercy and by the contrast of conservative Islamic views (held primarily by the characters of Baber and Fatima) with more liberal interpretations of Islam (as represented by Amaar and Rayyan). The show uses humour to highlight common stereotypes and, insodoing, works towards breaking down misrepresentations and showcasing Muslims in a more realistic light.



YOUR ASSIGNMENT


Now that you have been exposed to the misrepresentation in the media (the "Reel" Arab and Muslims) and a step in the right direction in showing "Real" Arabs and Muslims, I want you to continue the trend.....


It's your turn to play media producer! What form(s) of media would you use, and what product or service would you create and promote, to encourage people to go out and discover the "Real" truth about Arabs and Muslims? Why would you choose this particular media and who would your specific audience be? How would you be able to determine if your product is effective (i.e. what type of feedback would you receive and how would you receive it?) Explain why your chosen media product would be effective in persuading your audience.

Your explanation MUST be very specific - provide the finer details of your product, its creation, and its content (the message).

THEN....

Respond to AT LEAST TWO (2) other posts from your peers (other members of the class). You must refer to the specific student and post you are commenting on in your response, and you must assess the effectiveness of their campaign academically and constructively using all of the information you have learned during this unit!

EXTRA CONSIDERATION AND CREDIT WILL BE GIVEN IF YOU ATTEMPT TO ACTUALLY MAKE THE PRODUCT!

(Curriculum Expectation: select an appropriate form for a media text they plan to create, and explain why they made that choice - Media Production / Form 1.2)





Planet of the Arabs...

25 comments:

Steve... said...

If I had to create a media product to correctly portray Arabs I would make a reality TV show. This Show would fallow the lives of a family of Arab people. It would show people at home what a regular Arab family does on a daily basis. It would also show the people watching what hobbies they have, what kind of friends they have and show us that they are a lot like causasian people. It would also show the real Arab culture being positivly portrayed rather than just praying and then blowing up a building like you see in the movies. It would target every audience and even though some material may be for more mature audiences it is good for kids to see that Arabs aren't all bad. I would set up a site for the show where you could watch 24 hour footage online and post to many blogs about the show. People could talk about the show on the site which is where i would get my feedback and new ideas for the show. I think this would be the most effective product in showing people how Arabs really act on a day to day basis because there is really no one that can show us how a regular Arab functions better than a regular Arab family. I haven't yet thought of a good name for the show but if you have any ideas give me a shout. Thanks.

samburns said...

The form of media I would use to promote and encourage people to go out and discover the real truth about Arabs and Muslims would be a television show. It would be almost like Rick Mercer’s “Talking to Americans” except I would go to prestigious schools across Canada and America asking questions about Arabs and Muslims. Like Rick Mercer, I would talk to people on the streets and try to convince them to agree with ridiculous statements or asking questions about Arabs or Muslims. I would ask questions that most people don’t know answers to in hopes of making them feel stupid and wanting to go out and find out more about Arabs and Muslims. I would go to schools such as Columbia, Stanford, Harvard University as well as The University of Guelph, Queens University, and the University of Toronto. I would ask questions like “Do you know where Islam is located”, “Do you know the name of the God Muslims worship” and “Define Jihad”. My target audience would be young adults and adults in general, American and Canadian. I would determine if my television show is being effective by setting up a website that asks the same questions as my television show and people get to interact and when they don’t know an answer they find it out if they get the questions wrong so they find out what it is. There will be a poll on my website as well asking “How much have you learned about Arabs and Muslims since watching this show”. I think that my television show would be effective because Rick Mercer’s show has been so successful in getting Americans to learn more about Canadians. I also think it will be successful because it will make people watching the show want to find out more about Arabs and Muslims because they might feel stupid and become embarrassed not knowing the answer to some of the questions as well.

Michelle said...

If I had to create a media product to show the correctly portrayal of an Arab I would make a website that allows you to interact with the world. It would have different video and audio clips, pictures and write-ups showing people the difference in what media shows us and the real thing. It would have different poles, quizzes and even a comment box so that you could leave your impression about the whole situation. I would choose this media type because the internet is available for everyone, if it’s in your own home, a friend or relatives home, school or even at the public library. The Internet is taking over with the new technologies that keep coming out and it is starting to become easy to use for everyone. I think that my specific target audience would be teenagers and young adults. I think that since they are the next generation they need to know the absolute truth, and since many to almost every teen and young adult knows how to use an internet they would be the more likely to visit the website. Along with that, teens are more easily encouraged to believe the truth rather then trying to get an older person to go against everything that they used to believe in. I think that this website would work very well because you’d be able to get feedback from the quizzes, poles and comments left on the site. People could leave their thoughts, beliefs and personal opinions behind for other people to read. They could also leave their emails in a comment or sign up for a private list to get personal emails back from different writers or even other people visiting the site. I personally think that this website would allow people to get the true meaning of all Arabs and Muslims.

Simi said...

If I were to create a media product, I would create a website for people to discover the real truth about Arabs and Muslims because the website would have all the information on Arabs and Muslims and everybody uses a computer to research information more than magazines or newspapers. Mostly everyone has a computer at home and can access internet so it would be easy way to get the true message of Arabs and Muslims. This website will talk about everything like how Arabs and Muslims pray, why women wear Hijabs and why they do certain things in their religion. The main target audience will be for everybody but mostly young teens who are not Arab or Muslim because teens are the ones who are mostly on the computer researching things for homework or just suffering the internet. I would be able to determine if my product was effective by putting an application where it would tell me how many people have visited the website and I would also put a comment section so people can comment and share their thoughts about whatever they think about certain topics of Arabs and Muslims. My website would be effective in persuading my audience because it will have information about things people didn’t know about at all, it would also have video clips and pictures of Arab and Muslims. Hopefully all this information and video clips will change the way people think about Arabs and Muslims.

brittanylennox said...

To promote the real knowledge of what and who muslims really are, I would create a pre-movie/television Public Service Announcement type commercial. The commercial would focus more on the muslim community. However, if the commercial was successful, other ethnic groups could be spotlighted in other commercials, ie. Arabs. I chose this media product because it is the most effective way to get the message out to all age groups. Like the "stupid.ca", or "much music media literacy" commercials, the recent public service announcements seem to be very affective. I know this, because i have heard friends, as well as bloggers talk about how the entertainment, "real message", and attractiveness of them is so unique and intriguing. My commercial would be played in a variety of television show genres and stations, as well as a variety of movies in theaters. This is because i feel it is important to target all age groups, as we need to prevent rasism in yonger generations, as well as get rid of the prejudice in the older ones. Websites would be displayed at the end of the commercials. On the website, contact numbers, emails, as well as a forum would be posted to contact the organisers with feed back, or for more information. The website would include a video archive, where you could watch the commercials online. The commercials would be designed to be funny, but with a clear message. Various teenagers, children and adults of different backgrounds, all whom are Muslim, will be represented, as well as stereotypes. Possibly something like the Molsen Canadian Commercial, where a non-muslim could make a racist joke, who is then made a fool out of. At the end of the commercial, the organizations slogan would be yelled "Believe the Truth! This is who we REALLY are!"

Mike McNally said...

If I had to create a media product to correctly portray Arabs I would would create at least 20 booklets each containing two very short, but true stories. One story would tell the people about an act of violence, or terrorism that was brought forth at one point on earth. The other story would talk about something good that happened, something that was humanitarian, something that has changed the earth for the better. Each story will have one or more main characters. After the 20 people read the 20 booklets of two stories each, they will have to choose which race, Arab or Westerner, pertains to each story. Now, heres the little twist, assuming that most people will match the stereotypical Arab with the story of terrorism and violence, i will swap the stereotype and research all of the nice and humanitarian things that Arabs have done for this earth, and research all of the nasty, violent, and terrorist like acts that westerners have done to this world, and put them both in the booklet as a story. When the people find out that all of the nice stories were Arab and all of the bad stories were Western, it will give people a sense that anybody of any race can be nice and make this world a better place, like Arabs, and that anybody of any race can make this world a somewhat scary place, like Westerners. I will target these stories first to teenagers, than possibly create a lighter version for children and a more heavier complex version for adults. Once viewed by a large enough audience, i believe that people all around the world will be greatful for what the Arabs have actually done for this world, and not necessarily start to hate Westerners, but know that they can also be guilty of awful acts of violence. I personally think that these booklets will be a great success.

Valdrin Maksutaj said...
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Valdrin Maksutaj said...

Arabs and Muslims have been and still are portrayed as terrorists, killers and suicidal people, in Hollywood movies. However, Arabs and Muslims are people just like you and me, who go to school, go to malls, parties and everything else like people in the western side of the world. This image that has been given to these people is wrong and incorrect, and to show the rest of the world that they are normal people, just like everyone else, I am going to make a series of advertisement videos that show images of incorrect stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims and then show images of “Real” Arabs and Muslims. Every video of pictures will have a caption and at the end of the advertisement there will be a phone number to call to learn more about real Arab and Muslims people. The reason I would preferably chose this type of media is because pictures contain more than a thousand words and I believe that a picture can really open peoples eyes and teach them what the truth is. My specific audience for this media form would be males and females of all ages, because people everyone should see the truth because the past can’t be changed, but the present can and the future of false portrayals of Arabs and Muslims can be avoided. Also, to reassure I am getting my message across to people they will be asked a couple of questions about whether the advertisement changed their perspective on these people, and what they learned that they didn’t know before, this is if they chose to call the number at the end of the advertisements.

brittany said...

What I’m creating is a television show, its somewhat like spouse swap, but instead of switching spouses the families would switch religion/background for a week. So then the other family would get a feel of how Arabs and Muslims are treated and their religion. The families would write down their daily schedule and the other family would follow that. You would have one Arab or Muslim family, who would switch with a family of another religion; they would live as the other family, do what the other family does every day. So if the Arab or Muslim family wears long shirts or head covers, the other family would have to wear them for a week and the same goes for the Arab or Muslim family. I choose to use this form of media because I think it would show the basic day of an Arab or Muslim. How they are treated in public, their jobs, stores, at home, and their neighborhood. My target audience would be mainly teenagers to adults, because they could comprehend what is happening. And the adults can see what the religion is like and may convert their family. To determine if my product is effective I would take polls in the streets, or online and by how many people want to sign up for the show. I think my product would be effective in persuading the audience because it shows how these people are treated and if people watch they could see how it affects them and treat them differently.

`Amber said...

If i were a media producer wanting to producce a peice of media that could encourage audiences to discover the actual truth about Arab and Muslim cultures, I'd like to make a 3 part mini-Documentary that would be shown on a canadian television station, such as CBC, who normally have special documentaries running on thier station that normally depict breaking down stereotypes, myths, and other misconceptions of cultures on thier station. In this documentary, I'd like to have interviews with noth Caucasian-Canadian and Arab-Canadian families asking questions about stereotypes and what they know about them or how they feel about them, and in turn trying to break down misconceptions and revealing more truth and factuality, while making reference to 'Reel' Arabs and explaining the defferences between these 'Reel' Arabs and 'Real Arabs. I'd also like to show Arab-Canadian families going through thier typical family routines, showing people a bit of the actual life that Arabs and Muslims go through everyday. I'd also like to ask Arab-Canadian Families if they could give a discription of an event that occured to them that included racial profiling, prejudice, or other racist actions, and ask how that made them feel in order to show the amount of racism Arabs and Muslims have been wrongly given, and to show the injusticeness in racist activities.
In order to figure out if my product is effective, id like to create a website for the show, giving times of each episode, and giving a link to a forum where after the show audiences can log online and give thier feedback, and discuss and debate what they saw in the show. Links to polls and surveys would be on the site, giving watchers another chance to input feedback into what they saw.
Which chances to be interactive with the product, along with proper advertising (Web-ads, bulletin boards, tv-ads, radio ads) I can safely agree that this product could prove to be effective.

natalie said...

If I were to create a media product to encourage people to go out and discover the “Real” truth about Arabs and Muslims, I would create a sitcom. This sitcom would be about an average Arab or Muslim family just totally living normally, but having to live through stereotypical every day situations that average Arabs or Muslims are enduring. For example the father of the family may be accused of being a terrorist and then later would come home to tell his family and they would discuss how stupid it is and would make fun of the whole idea. The idea of a sitcom is to make it easy and enjoyable to watch for all different people. But while they are watching this they will learn how stupid some of the things these people have to go through are, and may start to think twice about things maybe they have said in the past that are just a stereotype, and not reality. My specific audience would be 18-59, but the show will also be enjoyable for teenagers and older people as well, just like most sitcoms such as “Friends”. I would be able to tell if my product is effective simply by the ratings the show receives. This media product would be effective in persuasion because people will be learning the truth about Arabs and Muslims without even realizing it; they will be having a good time laughing but will be learning at the same time.

Rachel said...

As a media producer, the media product that I would create to positively portray Arabs and Muslims would be Public Service Announcements and advertisements on billboards and bus stops. There would be several different PSAs, each stating true facts about Arabs and Muslims. I would want to air them during 4pm - 10pm, because I believe that's when they would be viewed the most. They would range from a day in the life of an average Arab/Muslim teenage, to a look into the religion that these people practice. The PSAs would have real Arabs and Muslims talking about their lives and saying how their portrayal in media is completely false. The advertisements would feature a "Hollywood Arab/Muslim" on the left half of the board, and a true image of an Arab or Muslim on the right. Each advertisement would have a line on it, such as "There's a difference between Hollywood and Islam." I would target my media product at teens and young adults, because they are probably the ones most likely to see PSAs and be influenced by them.
I would chose this form of media because although many people think PSAs can be annoying, people do watch them. When you're just sitting and watching TV and a PSA comes on, you suddently are interested in what is being told. Billboards and bus stops are everywhere you look nowadays, and making such a bold statement on one would really get people thinking and wanting to learn more. Also, there would be a website on both the PSAs and advertisements that people could visit for more information. The website would include all of the PSAs for the world to watch, a general information section with more details about Arab and Muslim traditions, and a message board for residents everywhere to discuss any portion of Arab/Muslim life they don't understand. The message board and website in general would be helpful to see what kind of reaction the PSAs/advertisements receive, along with how many people are actually interested in learning more.

caroline said...

My media product would be a television show called Similar Differences, much like Little Mosque on the Prairie, but in a much more urban environment. Set in Toronto, Ontario,it would feature five Arab people, and one North American, three males, and three females. Much like the television show Friends it will show the lives of six very different people. with normal lives, and average income dealing with everyday things. Two out of the five Arabs would be Muslim, and only one out of those two would be very strictly Muslim, for example: praying five times a day, at very specific times, to the extent of praying on the street or in a store, and attending church very religiously, this one character is there to show how "normal" and how lenient other Arabs and Muslims are. The other three friends of Arab descent will have a different believe system, such as Christianity, Judaism, and Atheism. The North American, at first, makes very stereotypical accusations of what she thinks Arabs believe, and do, thought once they get to know one another she finds out that isn't the case at all. It is set for more mature audiences, 14 and up. This television show is to establish how not all Arabs are Muslim, and how not all Muslims are extremely religious, but peaceful.

alyssa said...
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alyssa said...

If I had to create a media product to portray the “right” meaning of Arab’s and Muslims would be a television show called The Real Life Iraq, this will show the Arabs and Muslims in their own community, and how a like we are to them. The idea of my product is to make the audience feel as though they are living the Arabs and Muslims life with them. They will then find out that not every single Arab is a terrorist, and that everything is just expanded on and not even the truth about both cultures, and realize that all Arabs and Muslims are stereotyped every single day for absolutely no reason, except for the colour of their skin and their culture/religion. They would also see that they go through all of that every single day and it gets ridiculous sometimes. They would also learn about all of the different types of religion, and show how similar they are to the Catholic religion. The way I could receive feedback would be having a website dedicated for the show, and at the end of each episode a banner can pop up telling the viewers to go to the website and write how they felt during that episode, what they learned, and how the show effected their views on Arabs and Muslim. My specific audience would be people between the ages of 16 years of age and up. I would know if my product was effective by knowing that there would not be so much racism going on in the world, and that not every single Arab male is a terrorist, because Caucasian men can also be terrorists, its just that no one has read in to the history of all of this that is going on and that is just what my media product is for. I chose this media product because it is the most effective way to get the message out to all age groups especially our generation, because some clips of the show may be posted on you-tube and then everyone would be able to see it, that way the message will then get out a lot quicker.

Marko Jovicic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marko Jovicic said...

My media product is going to be a video demonstrating who real Arabs are, rather than what you see in the movies. I'm also going to compare my video to some movies of Arabs shown as stereotypes. My video would mainly be focused on what real Arabs do on a regular basis, such as what they do with their families, what hobbies they have, what they celebrate, what friends they have, and everything that correctly portrays an Arab. I would also show people watching at home what movies do for Arabs, how Arabs are treated as a cause, and if people fear Arabs beacuse they've seen so many negative things about them in movies. My target audience would be everyone who understands what I'm trying to prove. Lastly, I would create a site where I would receive comments, and feedback from people about my video. My video would also be posted up on the site for people to view. I believe what I'm doing will make a difference in not only Arab's lives, but to those who portray Arabs negatively in addition.

Cassidy.. said...

In order to help spread the word about what Arabs are really like, I would use a few different methods. First of all, I would create a typical family sitcom. It’d show the life of a regular Arab family, living in Buffalo. I would have a family of 4; a mom, dad, teenage boy, and a younger girl. My goal of my show would be to show everyone that Arab people are not the same as the ones that Hollywood portrays. I would use secondary characters to help fight stereotypes against Arabs. For example, I would have a Caucasian “maid” appear on a few episodes, and the boys’ best friend would be Caucasian. The show would take you through different aspects of their lives, and it would prove stereotypes wrong in every episode. The show would help you to see what innocent Arab people have to go through just because of the media. I’d show that Arab families adapt to a lot of western formed things, but I’d also make sure that people would be learning about the families culture/background as well. I’d say that the family would have immigrated to Buffalo 5 years ago, that way they would be adapted to their surroundings, and wouldn’t be in the learning process. I would air my show from 7-10 on week nights. My show would be family friendly, although aimed for 14-49 although there would be no reason younger kids couldn’t watch it. I plan to also have a website for the show, so that I can see what people think of the show. I would have older episodes appear on my website, and a message board for upcoming news. I would also like a spot where people could post their opinions on the show, give ideas on how to make it better etc. I would also have my email posted incase anyone needed to get in contact with me and my producers. I chose to use the computer and television for this product because I think it’d be the most effective to start off with anyway. Until the show became known, and then I could start putting out more things once people were familiar with the show. I think my product would be effective because it would be fun and entertaining yet people would be learning a lot and I think Arab people would appreciate it.

Michelle said...

I personally feel that Steve made a really good media product. It lets us see Arabs in a true light and if it really is a reality show they cant hide anything or make anything up. We would see them for who they really are and not for who we think they are. I also really liked the part about the website cause i think its important that people can comunicate about what they are watching. Overall Steve made a really good point about the Arab assignment.

The other media product that i thought was very creative was Brittany Lennox's. I thought she thought the whole idea through and made sure that she covered all the areas that caused questions or concerns. I knew exaclty what she was talking about because she used other examples such as the stupid.ca to explain her ideas further. I think that i would really enjoy the commercials and the fact that they are made for all age groups and are informative yet still entertaining makes them even more intriguing.

brittanylennox said...

I've read through all of these ideas, and the two that stood out the most to me were Steve's and Michelle's. I liked Steve's because the idea of and Arab based reality show is so intriguing. I think that because reality shows are so popular in todays media, it would be a good way to catch viewers' attention. Statistics show that not only adults (18-49) watch reality television, but childrens and teens are also included in the Reality Television craze - think fear facter, candid camera, and Kid nation (taken from ciadvertising.com). If you were to make your television show amusing for both the adult and child audiences, your show would become that much more effective. Gear towards a dramatic comedy.
As for Michelle's, i like the idea of being able to access the information from anywhere, which is why the website would be so convienient. As technology grows, we can come up with new and improved ways of getting an important message out. The only problem I can think of with this idea, is the promotion of the website. Even YouTube, although a huge sucess today, took some time to catch on. Yes, the power of the grape vine would work, but you'd want to get the message out as soon as possible. Maybe a promotional commercial would be a good idea. All and all, great idea.

Steve... said...

I really like Mikes idea of the booklets. This would indeed show people that anyone can better the world or make it worse. However, I think that the book should highlight all different races as many other races that arent East Indian are stereotyped in the media. Also he should mix it up so that some stories have people of other races doing bad things as it does happen. This would definatly give people some insight that stereotypes arent always true.

I also like brittany's idea of the religion swap show. Like my idea this would show people how an arab family would act on a daily basis but by an interactive standpoint where the white family is arab for a day. Even though this is a great idea there might be problems with finding Arab families to do the things a western family would do as it is against their religion to take off the body covering in public. Im sure it can be worked around though.

Good ideas guys!

Mike McNally said...

I really like Steve's idea about creating a reality TV show that follows the lives of a family of Arab people. I think this would give viewers a somewhat taste of what an Arab living in Canada is really like. I also like his idea of the the website showing 24 hours of uncut footage, and the blog that people can access to comment about how they feel.

I also think that Brittany Lennox did a great job explaining her idea. I really think that her messages in the pre-movie, pre-PSA would get the message across in a more realistic way, due to a majority of the earth's population watching television and commercials.

brittany said...

I think Cassidys is a really good idea, showing the stereotypes and having the caucasians be secondary characters instead of regulars. I also think the range she set for her target audience is good, i would probably watch it.

Another good one i thought was sams, because although americans didnt know about canadian we dont know if canadians know about arabs. But if her target audience is also to young adults, she should also ask some highschool students.

Simi said...

I think Caroline’s idea about making a television program like the Friends show is a very good idea because it shows how each individual is going portray their culture and how serious they take it. Putting a North American makes it even better because then you can see like how a totally different person with different religious views is going to live with Arabs and Muslims.

Another good one was Sam’s because her television show is a good way to interact with people who are inside and outside. And the questions are a great way to see what Americans think of Arabs and Muslims.I think if people actually participate in these kinds of television programs they will learn a lot and maybe even start to understand the Arab and Muslim culture.

Valdrin Maksutaj said...

The first media product idea that I liked was Steve’s because a reality show would really show people what Arab and Muslim people are like in their everyday lives and the fact that reality shows are very popular in this day and age it would a very successful product that would reach a lot of people and get the message out that these people are just like everyone else!
The second media product idea that I liked was Brittany Lennox’s because, she was comparing it to the stupid.ca campaign and if you turned it around and made it for Arabs and Muslims I believe it would be very successful, and also it looked as if Brittany’s product was very proactive and would really make a difference in the present and change the future!