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Islamophobia Ingrained in U.S. Systems- 11/11

The Intercept article discussed how Islamophobia has been instilled within America’s laws and policies long before the War on Terror. There has been a myth that Islamohpbia only become prevalent after 9/11 and the election of Donald Trump, but it has been an underlying issue for much longer. This is something I never thought about because the focus of my schooling has been honed in on the systemic issues of racism towards just African Americans, which deserves ample attention, but other ethnicities and religions that have been scrutinized under American law have been silenced. It was not only until 9/11 occurred that I started hearing about how Muslims were seen as incompatible with Americanness and a threat to our society.  The article mentioned that the “See something, Saw something” campaign elevated the negatives presumptions around Muslims. This slogan became the mantra after 9/11 and made citizens aware, but also paranoid. People reported suspicious behavior without reason, which became an opportunity to stereotype Muslims as potential threats to national security. A campaign working towards increased safety within society became a tool for stereotyping Muslims.

Another key insight of this article was the recent movement within the media of praising Muslim women. At the surface level, this can be seen as progress towards trying to offset the systemic and individual racism towards Islamic people. Although, as we have continued learning in this class, really nothing is as ethically motivated as it seems in politics and media. The demographic of Muslims that are praised in commercials and Hollywood films are Muslims who are distant from the Muslim identity and are of a much lighter skin tone, portraying their characteristics of whiteness. This implicitly elevates American culture more than Muslim culture. This reminded me of our past readings regarding Native American’s and how their culture has been appropriated and been white-washed in the corporate world. In American society, we like to preach that our nation values all cultures and is diverse in our religious and ethnic makeup, but it seems that this is all a hoax. The cultures that are different from the stereotyped white American culture constantly get scrutinized and are merely looked at as being different, rather than being appreciated and accepted. How can our society diminish white supremacy if it has been supported for hundreds of years within our laws and political officials?


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  1. Charley Blount Charley Blount

    The readings for Wednesday’s class described a problem of racial profiling of Muslims that bears comparison to Japanese exclusionism during WW2 and stop-and -frisk policies during the latter half of the twentieth century. Politicians and the media use racially charged language to create an inaccurate justification for a serious problem (WW2, crime). As a result, certain races are associated with systemic problems that have very little to do with them.

  2. Julia Borger Julia Borger

    I also found it shocking that the Muslim women depicted on commercials and other media channels are very different than the true Muslim identity, being much lighter in skin tone to portray a sense of “whiteness” that seems to be needed on media for it to be popular. This idea sickens me, and I wonder if / when media will ever be able to portray individuals for who they really are, without any editing or touch ups, so the model’s real identity can shine through, as that will have a much greater impact than anything fake.

  3. Tess Keating Tess Keating

    I don’t understand why the United States white washes other cultures instead of learning what they are really about and appreciating them.

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