American Media: Guilty of Misrepresentation

Nearly every day, we hear a new news report surrounding the Middle East. Here in America, I believe that this has become “normal” to our society; however, the things we may be hearing on the news may not be completely accurate nor provide a just representation of individuals in or from the Middle East–Muslims in particular. There are news pieces about suicide bombings, air strikes, discussions of nuclear capabilities, terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, and other terrorist attacks. In my opinion, this all became far more prominent in the media after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center back in 2001. These constant news reports have ultimately had an extremely negative effect on individuals of the Muslim religion because terrorist groups identify as Muslims themselves. I bet that the vast majority of Americans think negatively about Muslims or those of Middle Eastern descent or feel uncomfortable around them. The media has unintentionally used these incidents to create an unfair generalization about Middle Eastern people and those who identify as Muslim. People neglect the fact that there are extremists who are violent–Islamists–and there are those who practice peacefully–the majority of Muslims. They are stereotyped and targeted for things like the way they look, the things they wear (turbans, hijabs, etc.), the religion they practice–instead of the things that really matter such as their character. Instead of spreading hate to all Middle Easterners and Muslims because of the actions few carry out, we should share understanding, compassion and have sympathy that so few individuals have the power to shift an entire country’s view of an ethnicity or religious group. It is important to reach out and try to gain an understanding of others because it is unfair to criticize one’s culture, actions or beliefs and try to change them without understanding them first. Every person is different, and it is crucial for us to treat them as their own person. I think that the media has oppressed Middle Easterners and Muslims in America and made them feel inferior. We are no better than they are, and I think it is time for us to abandon the generalized American portrayal of these individuals as terrorists, and violence loving people, and reach out to them and treat them fairly and without prejudice. They desire acceptance and love just as much as we do.

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