The Ugly Truth

Article: http://bit.ly/YtiwVo

All over the world, people are being judged by their appearances. This is the harsh reality for Muslims living in today’s society. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks that took place in 2001, Muslims have become the primary victims of alienation and hate crimes, becoming targets of verbal and physical abuse. Why? Because they fall under the description of “the apparent Muslim”. “The apparent Muslim” is defined as somebody who has physical features that are said to be similar to those of the stereotypical terrorist: dark facial hair, brown skin, and donning a turban. What the people who commit these heinous crimes (as well as the many others who view Muslims as a threat) fail to realize is that those features are actually just the racial and religious features of Muslims. It is completely unfair to automatically assume, on the sole basis of their appearance, that every single one of them has bad intentions. That would be like saying all Asians are evil because they have black hair. When you look at it like that, it seems absolutely ludicrous to pass judgment on a large group of people who simply share the same attributes, doesn’t it?

To make matters worse, the media is notorious for producing extensive media coverage on violent occurrences such as the recent beheadings of American journalists by Isis. These broadcasted incidents indirectly encourage more hate towards Muslims as it projects them in an extremely negative light. Having such events publicized is what causes extremists, who only make up a small portion of the Muslim population, to act out violently; they want to have their voices heard and the best way to accomplish that is through mass media. Furthermore, this creates a false representation of the Islamic tradition and the media is only helping to project this false image to the public. The media is great at miscommunicating information and in this case, it eventually leads to the misidentification of certain groups of people. People from all over the world are grouped together and misidentified as terrorists simply because they have similar appearances. Nobody ever looks further than that to recognize that a lot of these people don’t even practice the same religion or have the same way of interpreting the Islamic tradition. Even at airports, Muslims are the most common targets for searches. Again, this is because they happen to fall under the definition of “the apparent Muslim”. TSA officials try to brush it off each time, claiming that they are just conducting “random searches”, but if they really are completely “random”, why do so many Muslims find themselves having their bags rummaged through and each one of their belongings questioned? This is the reality that Muslims are doomed to endure for the rest of their lives, and all because of three simple words that people are unable to dismiss: the apparent Muslim.

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21 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth

  1. I would have to disagree with many of the arguments made in this post. Yes, it is true that the media, as of late, has been showing a group of terrorists in a negative light and, yes, it is true that the individuals of this group are Muslim. However, the atrocities committed by the group known as ISIS do need to be documented and the people of the world do need to know what is going on and need to be informed. Whether the people committing these crimes were Christian, Jewish or Buddhist, these occurrences need to be reported to the public, just as they have been. It would almost be more worrying to me if these occurrences were not being reported just due to religious affiliation and political correctness, would that not also seem unfair? I, personally, am fully aware of what is going on with this ISIS and am also very informed about the events of 9-11, but I truly believe that I show absolutely no prejudice towards Muslims. In fact, my closest friend is a Muslim and I have nothing but respect for him, his beliefs and his dedication and I truly believe that he has one of the biggest hearts. I do not believe that any racial profiling that does exist is at the fault of the media, as I do not believe anything has been dramatically spun out of context to make it seem far worse than reality. I believe that it is in each individual, how they were raised, the beliefs of their families and cultures they were brought up in that may instil some form of prejudice. I am not discounting the idea that these prejudices do exist, I am discounting the idea that they are at the fault of the media.

  2. The developed stigma is of course unfortunate – but one must remember that it hasn’t just popped out of thin air. There is a background story to every form of discrimination, in the case with ISIS it is because a religion has been taken and tainted by a very radical group. Basically every race or ethnicity has been faced with overcoming a stigma. It just turns out that in this modern chapter terrorism in Muslim form is a prudent issue. Look at how the Jews were persecuted during Nazi reign. The time will pass and the issue will eventually seethe down. The stigma that all ‘Muslims are terrorists’ is sad but holds real ground. The whole world knows about jihadists and ISIS due to propaganda on popular media and the safety of innocent people from Muslim terrorists is a major priority for all governments. The people who are to blame aren’t Western governments but are the jihadists. Western governments are just there to protect the innocent people of their nations and issues of national/international security are of the utmost importance. It is clear that this extremist worldview (jihadists) must be eradicated – once that is done discrimination to Muslims should begin to decease

  3. This is an interesting article and I agree with many of your points. It is absolutely true that people stereotype others based on what they are able to visually deduce. Most often these assumptions are ignorant and incorrect. Not all people of Middle Eastern descent are terrorists or in fact even followers of Islamic faith. In addition to this, I agree that mass media is manipulated to empower terrorists. The goal of terrorism is to create fear and panic and terrorists exploit the resources of media for these aims. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done by the media to prevent this. If they chose to ignore these attacks and not report them, words such as “cover up” and “conspiracies” would begin to be used. When media is reporting, the emphasis must be made on “extremist” not “Arab” or “Muslim”. In conclusion I must add that I think stating, “This is the reality that Muslims are doomed to endure for the rest of their lives” may be a little drastic. Change and reform is occurring everyday and I think we must remain optimistic that society can enlighten itself and racial ignorance can be eradicated.

  4. I thought this interestingly brought up not only the problem of racial stereotyping but also the role that the media/internet plays in facilitating these views. In an age of media saturation, it is easy to take the internet as face value without questioning the validity and credentials of those who are reporting. Although the internet has made it easier to get a wider scope and larger variety of different voices on a topic, people are often unaware that there are still ways in which dominating views permeate the news that is brought forth.

  5. In response to the blog titled “The Ugly Truth.” You raise some very good points about people jumping to conclusions about someone based on their religion and ethnicity. We need to be careful about how we treat people. Jumping to conclusions about someone based on religion or ethnicity causes those who are being stereotyped to feel oppressed and creates a lot of animosity in our communities. We do need to consider why people characterized Muslims under what you describe as “the apparent muslim.” We need to take into consideration the fear that was spread by 9/11 as well as the fear that is being spread now by ISIS. This discrimination is not right but one needs to look at both sides of a story and all the factors surrounding it to provide understanding.

  6. I thought this interestingly brought up not only the problem of racial stereotyping but also the role that the media/internet plays in facilitating these views. In an age of media saturation, it is easy to take the internet as face value without questioning the validity and credentials of those who are reporting. Although the internet has made it easier to get a wider scope and larger variety of different voices on a topic, people are often unaware that there are still ways in which dominating views permeate the news that is brought forth.

  7. Your blog post “The Ugly Truth” in response to the web article “9/11-era ignorance of Islam is infecting the age of Isis. We should know better” was an interesting read. It is truly unfortunate how one crazy act of terrorism (9/11) completely defaced the race and ethnicity of Muslim people. Although I argue that one act of terrorism is one too many, the larger population of innocent Muslin people should not be paying the price. Every single day there are hundreds – probably thousands – of insane and horrendous acts of violence and crime committed by racially white individuals and it is simply seen as “todays news”, which is just completely unjust. You made a great point of incorporating the notion that the media represents a false identity of Muslims to the public, and it is scary to think that this new technological age can have such a grand effect on people’s world views; so much that they would be racist and stereotype all people with dark hair, brown skin, and wearing a turban into one category: “the apparent Muslim”. I sincerely hope this changes in the future.

  8. Your blog post “The Ugly Truth” in response to the web article “9/11-era ignorance of Islam is infecting the age of Isis. We should know better” was an interesting read. It is truly unfortunate how one crazy act of terrorism (9/11) completely defaced the race and ethnicity of Muslim people. Although I argue that one act of terrorism is one too many, the larger population of innocent Muslin people should not be paying the price. Every single day there are hundreds – probably thousands – of insane and horrendous acts of violence and crime committed by racially white individuals and it is simply seen as “todays news”, which is just completely unjust. You made a great point of incorporating the notion that the media represents a false identity of Muslims to the public, and it is scary to think that this new technological age can have such a grand effect on people’s world views; so much that they would be racist and stereotype all people with dark hair, brown skin, and wearing a turban into one category: “the apparent Muslim”. I sincerely hope this changes in the future.

  9. This blog post states nothing but the truth as to what we as a society have become. What most people do not understand is that this was a specific group of individuals who plotted together to cause this utter chaos in America. Because of one instance of terrorism in North America, it has, probably forever, changed how some individuals looks at these groups. Totally agree with your comment regarding other races, this whole thing is ridiculous. Saying Muslims are terrorists is the equivalent of saying, that because a white man murdered someone, all white people are murders. While many people around the world advocate for equality, and to be free of judgement no matter your race or skin color, it feels like we will never achieve this goal of equality. What people need to take away from 9/11 is that it was an extreme case of terrorism, and because a certain race or skin color performed such an act, does not mean we need to be degrading and view their culture or their way of living as any less than we would our own way of living. I hope we can see a change to racial equality, just because one group changed the world, doesn’t mean we need to be degrading to an already negative situation.

  10. It is without a doubt that the media plays a big role in not only how we view certain people, but also plays a role in sensationalizing. The media has a way of picking and choosing crimes and amplifying certain crimes. This leads to how we view people in our society. After the horrendous acts of 911, not only were Muslim individuals treated with great discrimination, but those of any similar identity faced large disparities (aka Sikh individuals). You recognized that the media represents the false identity of Muslims to the public and in turn, this has an effect on how we see these individuals. The media has a great effect on people’s world views, to the extent that it shapes the identities of individuals into “categories”. In relation to this article,the categorical organization of “the apparent Muslim” has been used to identify ALL people with dark hair, brown skin, and wearing a turban. Personally, as being a visible-minority, I feel this really is a distortion of religion.

  11. A couple of things about this post, you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what being Muslim exactly is. In your post you talk about the “racial and religious features of Muslims” Islam is not an ethnic race. A Muslim from the middle east is ethnically, and culturally different than a Muslim from the Indian subcontinent or Indonesia. Also to claim that only Muslims get repeatedly stopped for random searches at airports is false. What about Arab Christians? They look the same as Arab Muslims and to say that is only Muslims that suffer under these practices is something that should be avoided. Ethnicity and religion need to be separated when talking about people. It is not fair to Muslims and all the various ethnic groups around the world to lump them all together.

  12. In your blog you attempt to express your emotions towards stereotypes and assumptions made towards muslims.Yet you have not considered nor throughly addressed on why people are unable to dismiss the three words: “the apparent muslim”. Although I certainly agree with you that people are wrong in judging others based on the existing stereotype within a society, I am suggesting that such stereotypes that are made towards any individuals based on their religion or race is inevitable. Even though you firmly mentioned that such extremists represent a small portion of the Islamic community and how unfair, unjustifiable and inappropriate it is to identify a non-extremist individual who wears a turban as a terrorist, at the same time there needs to be an understanding why people from all over the world react this way (as you brought up the issues in international airports).

    The media should not be blamed on to be the only source of the ways in which people perceive individuals wearing turbans as they do. Although the media (with my assumption that you were referring to televised news materials) does influence human perception, I believe it is not manipulative. That is, for audiences viewing reoccurring events, people make their own decision on how they should perceive certain things. Furthermore in times of state emergency for any country’s security, it is the media’s responsibility to be constantly updating news to fulfill the nation’s desires to know what is going on. When considering reoccurring tragedies associated with these extremist Islamic groups, there were not just one incidence with 9/11 in the U.S. There were several other major incidences such as the July 2005 London bombings in UK, April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in U.S, and most recently the beheading of foreigners of the ISIS. Whether you are an individual or a group of individuals, you are representing the religion, ethnicity, or country you are affiliated with. Impressions matter— especially if they stimulate emotions and definitely if they are traumatic. People are bound to respond in a defensive way even if that means to be more close-minded.

    Human beings are not informative on every single aspect of life. For example, if you were an engineering student you will be more likely than not to know more about science than those students majoring in a liberal arts degree. Therefore you may be more informed and knowledgeable in the science realm of life where on the other hand, have practically no knowledge on anything about social, psychological, religious, political issues..etc. Thus I am suggesting that particularly in this case, most of us do not possess deep knowledge for who are extremists of the Islamic group and what are the ratios of the extremists vs. devout Muslims that are harmless. We only are aware of what interests ourselves and especially when it comes to the discussion of danger and threat, it is an immediate response of human instincts to distinguish right away what is of a threat— even if it means to misinterpret. When non-Muslims are exposed to the media via television they are very inclined to assume anyone who is wearing a turban to be extremists or potential terrorists. Furthermore, this can be one of the major factor that civilians and the state (government authorities) have adhered to the banner “better safe than sorry” in their security systems of airports. Repeated offences by the same group of people have provoked others to make more frequent assumptions about anyone who is wearing a turban; to the point where some of us have become stereotypical.

    What you are arguing is indeed “the ugly truth”, I do not disagree. Rather, I am offering a perspective on why this may be the case and to add more context to why it is the “reality that Muslims are doomed to endure for the rest of their lives”.

  13. In reply to the blog “The Ugly Truth” I find always find it interesting to see on the media the acts of certain key religious and ethnic groups define the group as a whole. I find that Muslims, (who do get attacked by the media quite frequently) are not only the main group to be attacked. I find that Christianity although not directly being accused of negative actions are also scrutinized for their beliefs. For example, Gordon Dirks has been unfairly attacked for being a Christian. And I believe that not all Christians are true Christians. A unfortunately I believe that one bad apple in a group spoils the entire batch for others. furthermore it is unfortunate that there will always exist those ‘bad apples’.

  14. In reply to the blog “The Ugly Truth” I find always find it interesting to see on the media the acts of certain key religious and ethnic groups define the group as a whole. I find that Muslims, (who do get attacked by the media quite frequently) are not only the main group to be attacked. I find that Christianity although not directly being accused of negative actions are also scrutinized for their beliefs. For example, Gordon Dirks has been unfairly attacked for being a Christian. And I believe that not all Christians are true Christians. A unfortunately I believe that one bad apple in a group spoils the entire batch for others. furthermore it is unfortunate that there will always exist those ‘bad apples’.

  15. In this blog, your response to ‘9/11-era ignorance of Islam is infecting the age of Isis. We should know better’ is excellent in stating very important points that should be considered by a lot more people. I strongly agree with the perspective given and I also believe that people have let themselves become too influenced by stereotypes and media and it is disappointing to see many people are so ignorant on the religion of others that they become judgemental and hostile towards certain groups. 9/11 was not a day where only certain faiths, races and religions lost loved ones but as a collective the United States was devastated. To take that catastrophic event and associate it with an entire religion/race is unethical and inhumane. To stereotype individuals based on their appearances and therefore associate them with a terrorist group is as you put “ludicrous” and very unjust. I believe the opinions presented in this blog were well executed and should definitely be considered by more people.

  16. In response to “The Ugly Truth”, I found this blog very interesting to read because in society today we are constantly judged and misinterpreted. We are racist towards everyone who does not “look” like us or “act” like us. Just because Muslims have this particular appearance this does not mean they are terrorists. Although in society it is not just Muslims who get attacked by but Christians and many other religions. This is not just racist, but is stereotyping and it gets media thoroughly involved. I think more people should take the time and not look at certain races, or ethnicities and judge, but to accept everyone for whom they are, what they believe in. Because it is the 21st century and everyone deserves a chance to be treated fairly.

  17. In response to “The Ugly Truth”, I found this blog very interesting to read because in society today we are constantly judged and misinterpreted. We are racist towards everyone who does not “look” like us or “act” like us. Just because Muslims have this particular appearance this does not mean they are terrorists. Although in society it is not just Muslims who get attacked by but Christians and many other religions. This is not just racist, but is stereotyping and it gets media thoroughly involved. I think more people should take the time and not look at certain races, or ethnicities and judge, but to accept everyone for whom they are, what they believe in. Because it is the 21st century and everyone deserves a chance to be treated fairly.

  18. Responding to the article “The Ugly Truth”, I agree with the fact that Muslims are oppressed and are associated with the word terrorist. In a way that many other ethnicities don’t experience in the Western World, Muslims go through special treatment every day. The example with how the TSA treats muslims when passing through security in airports is evident in todays world. On one hand I understand that security is just doing their job to keep their passengers safe. But I have seen with my own eyes the negligence of some TSA workers when checking minorities specifically Muslims. They question the tiniest things, such as prayer beads, or other miscellaneous religious items. But overall I back the fact that Muslims are treated unfairly and not given equal treatment due to the actions of a few radical groups.

  19. In response to the blog titled, “The Ugly Truth”.
    So often, people are categorized into groups and society creates labels for such individuals. For example, teens who dress in all black with dark makeup are considered “gothic”, individuals with tattoos and piercings are automatically looked at as deviant, and similarly all Muslims are considered terrorists. As a society, it is evident that we stereotype individuals based on their looks, however at the same time, we, as a society, encourage people to not judge a book by their covers. These two ideas contradict each other and greatly affects the way society functions. We are always questioning people who are different than us, but as a multicultural country, we should accept all types of people despite their age, race, appearance or any other factors that can play a part in judging others. It is clearly stated in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that everyone is equal under the law without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. Despite the laws in place, many individuals still take part in discrimination, perhaps unknowingly. The media definitely plays a big role in this controversy as they emphasize certain news stories. After the 9/11 attacks, any acts involving Muslim people or similar religions(aka Sikhs), have been spoken about more and more on social media sites. Hence, we relate anything associated with Muslims, or similar to Muslims as evil, bad, or terrorists.
    In high school, it’s clear that there are many social groups and cliques that we create. The jocks hang out together, the nerds sit together at lunch, the preppy girls all stand in a huddle and gossip about the latest news,and the loners sit in the bathroom stalls as they eat their lunches. I’m afraid that this kind of behavior of grouping individuals based on their appearances and personalities is getting carried on into society and applied to real life situations. All black skinned individuals are considered thieves and similarly, all Muslims and other Indians are considered terrorists. It’s unfortunate that society is shaped like this and we judge books based on their covers, but it is in fact, the ugly truth.

  20. RELS 200

    Response to:
    “The Ugly Truth” http://wp.me/p2Pi6h-sY via @wordpressdotcom

    In your blog you attempt to express your emotions towards stereotypes and assumptions made towards muslims.Yet you have not considered nor throughly addressed on why people are unable to dismiss the three words: “the apparent muslim”. Although I certainly agree with you that people are wrong in judging others based on the existing stereotype within a society, I am suggesting that such stereotypes that are made towards any individuals based on their religion or race is inevitable. Even though you firmly mentioned that such extremists represent a small portion of the Islamic community and how unfair, unjustifiable and inappropriate it is to identify a non-extremist individual who wears a turban as a terrorist, at the same time there needs to be an understanding why people from all over the world react this way (as you brought up the issues in international airports).

    The media should not be blamed on to be the only source of the ways in which people perceive individuals wearing turbans as they do. Although the media (with my assumption that you were referring to televised news materials) does influence human perception, I believe it is not manipulative. That is, for audiences viewing reoccurring events, people make their own decision on how they should perceive certain things. Furthermore in times of state emergency for any country’s security, it is the media’s responsibility to be constantly updating news to fulfill the nation’s desires to know what is going on. When considering reoccurring tragedies associated with these extremist Islamic groups, there were not just one incidence with 9/11 in the U.S. There were several other major incidences such as the July 2005 London bombings in UK, April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in U.S, and most recently the beheading of foreigners of the ISIS. Whether you are an individual or a group of individuals, you are representing the religion, ethnicity, or country you are affiliated with. Impressions matter— especially if they stimulate emotions and definitely if they are traumatic. People are bound to respond in a defensive way even if that means to be more close-minded.

    Human beings are not informative on every single aspect of life. For example, if you were an engineering student you will be more likely than not to know more about science than those students majoring in a liberal arts degree. Therefore you may be more informed and knowledgeable in the science realm of life where on the other hand, have practically no knowledge on anything about social, psychological, religious, political issues..etc. Thus I am suggesting that particularly in this case, most of us do not possess deep knowledge for who are extremists of the Islamic group and what are the ratios of the extremists vs. devout Muslims that are harmless. We only are aware of what interests ourselves and especially when it comes to the discussion of danger and threat, it is an immediate response of human instincts to distinguish right away what is of a threat— even if it means to misinterpret. When non-Muslims are exposed to the media via television they are very inclined to assume anyone who is wearing a turban to be extremists or potential terrorists. Furthermore, this can be one of the major factor that civilians and the state (government authorities) have adhered to the banner “better safe than sorry” in their security systems of airports. Repeated offences by the same group of people have provoked others to make more frequent assumptions about anyone who is wearing a turban; to the point where some of us have become stereotypical.

    What you are arguing is indeed “the ugly truth”, I do not disagree. Rather, I am offering a perspective on why this may be the case and to add more context to why it is the “reality that Muslims are doomed to endure for the rest of their lives”.

  21. In response to “the Ugly Truth”, I think that what you are saying is great because in todays society, different cultures are being stereotyped and that causes so many issues to rise which involve a huge amount to media to come into play and target those groups. I agree that when a small part of a large group does something that is contradictory to the groups views, the whole group is categorized for example, there is a smaller part of Muslims who are extremists however not all Muslims are extremists like the media presents them to be. I think that it should be time that all groups be treated equally and not be categorized for the actions of a small fraction of individuals.

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