About alisaad333

My name is Ali Saad. I am a pre-health student.

Portrayals of Arabs in Popular Culture

In our modern time, people are impacted by many things. Things that we visualize, feel, and use to interact with others. In general, most people use popular culture for couple of reasons and one of them is entertainment. People watch Tv shows, movies, and cartoons as ways to communicate with the outside world. The formal definition of popular culture, is the entirety of ideas, perspectives, images, and artifacts. In this course, I looked at the stereotypes of Arabs that were depicted in media, hollywood, and disney and I analyzed them furthermore through artifacts. The Arab’s culture is negatively portrayed in ways that make people believe and have the wrong impression form the first time. Ways that were tied to their religion, finances and even terrorist activities.


There are many things that I discovered as I was doing my artifacts and I think they matter since they are relative to who I am. First of all, there are many things that I was shock about as I was working on this project. There were some true information presented and some are false. “One of the things that I was shocked about and I consider it wrong information”-was from the article, “The Construction of Arabs as Enemies”.


This article is very relative to what I talked about when I was analyzing my second artifact which was a movie. This movie was called true lies. In this movie  the portrayals of Arabs were represented as being dangerous and terrorists. This article extend the explanations more by providing more example and incidents that happened for example the 9/11. something that I would to extend my idea furthermore is when they were saying that  “all Muslims are Arabs and all Arabs are terrorists”. From what I know so far about this attack is that those who caused were mostly from Saudi Arabia who hijacked the planes and those people belong to Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist organization.

These two images show how Arabs are being portrayed as villains in movies and Tv shows.

Something that I would like to reflect  on is that not all muslims are terrorists. And I think considering all muslims are Arabs and all Arabs are terrorists is also a false ideology. There are Arabs who are not muslims. For example in Middle East. We have kurdish people, Christians and Turkmen, and most of those people who belong to those doctrines speak and understand Arabic, so this doesn’t mean that all of them are terrorists. However, there are people who are terrisort who interpret Islam in their own way trying their best to deform the image of Islam.


The second discovery that I found was how in movies, they shed light on Saudi Arabia portraying their culture in negative ways, although it became  one of their closest country recently. For example in the article The Bad, the Ugly, the Super-Rich, and the Exceptional Moderate: U.S. Popular Images of the Arabs, the author Morsy talked about a variety of portrayals of Arabs. He talked about how in the United State, we continue to observe the unfavorable depiction of Arabs in novels, films, and children’s cartoons. The article also talks about how the mass media focused on Arabs as villains who threatens the American way of  life by their economic and political blackmail. This article also talks about how the weekly Tv magazines “60 minutes” showed American audience the super consumerism of super rich Arabs in london’s shopping centers. Arabs were filmed buying luggage by the dozen, and jewelry by the million dollars worth.

I think this article is very related to my first artifact in my research analysis worksheet. In my first artifact, I talked about the portrayals of Arabs of being rich. This article supports my explanation especially where I mentioned above about the resources that arabs have such as the oil. For example, Saudi Arabia is ranked the second country after Russia for the oil production. Because of these resource they have, they are considered rich. One other thing that I find it relative to my artifact especially when this article talked about the control of oil that Arabs have made them accessible to have mansion and industrial plants. I found it relative especially when they showed the sheik in  cannonball run 2 move was living in a mansion and wearing all of this jewellery in his hand.

In contrast to the primary source Saudi Arabia’s Political Purge artifact. This news showed the recent development that happened in Saudi Arabia. According to what the reporter was saying about how president Trump is being fair and helping the prince to gain more power by tweeting and encouraging their action.


The popular culture can  shape your point of view on certain group of people. Popular culture plays a major role in shaping a person’s thoughts and it also shapes your feeling about certain things in life. It shapes who you are in many different ways. The community I belong to, defines my personality, the way I talk, dress and the language I speak. My community shapes my behaviors, beliefs, and values. The interactions in my community influences the way I interact in the society because it is made up of a lot of different communities. The location you were born has large impact on your life as person and the place you were born plays the biggest part defining you as person and that shapes who you are.


Arab culture defined by their actions. Our actions outside our homes define what we are in this community and to other people. It is very important to be respectful, mindful, and thoughtful of who we interact with in the community. We are responsible about what we say and what do as individual or a group. We are judged by our voice and action in the community.  How else do we judge others if we do not look at their actions in the past and what they have done. We are defined by our actions, so we need to do good things in the society that way we can be remembered with respect and honor. We need to judge the people by their actions and not appearance.

Some people judge others by their appearance which I think that is disrespectful. It is not all about looks. We should judge others by their kindness and manner. For example when I was back in home country (Iraq), my parents taught me to respect the elders and be kind to those who are younger than me. Be respectful to all people  regardless of their ethnicities, background, and religion because after all, we fall under the flag of humanity. This is the way people will judge me and will always remember me by. They will remember as respectful and well-mannered man. This is how the place we live in impacts our lives.

The purpose of doing this project and writing this paper so people can have a better understanding of Arabs and the Arabic culture and how it is being portrayed in the media.  The intention of doing this is to change the lens which people are looking at Arabs in popular culture. The idea is that not everything portrayed in media and popular culture is true.




Trevor Noah. “Saudi Arabia’s Political Purge”. Youtube, uploaded by Daily Show, Nov 7, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CkmLsyvutg


Morsy, Soheir A. “The Bad, the Ugly, the Super-Rich, and the Exceptional Moderate: U.S. Popular Images of the Arabs”. (winter, 1986). Retrieved from http://stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/docview/1297352087?accountid=13265


Debra Merskin. “The Construction of Arabs as Enemies”. (17 Nov 2009). Retrieved from https://www-tandfonline-com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/pdf/10.1207/s15327825mcs0702_2?needAccess=true