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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Elizabeth Stoycheff


Hollywood films and television series are filled with stereotypes – often of marginalized or minority groups. This study updates Shaheen’s (2003) analysis of Arab media portrayals by focusing on films and television series from 2008-2018 that feature Arab and Arab-American characters. A literature review identified prevalent historical stereotypes, and then content analyzed four movies and four television shows to examine how these stereotypes manifest in Arab and Arab-American media characters. These characteristics included barbaric behavior, acts of idiocy and aggression, and affiliations with terrorism at both the country and individual levels. A primary coder and the author analyzed 112 scenes, using 50% of the total scenes as a reliability check. Findings reveal that negative images of Arabs appeared frequently in the sample, with variations in intensity for each frame. This study shows that stereotypes of Arabs and Arab Americans are still evident in contemporary films and television shows and may be detrimental to Arabs and Arab-American races and cultures.

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