Black people are portrayed in stereotypical fashion as physical rather than mental beings. The other is a threat to the national culture of the West. The contemporary preoccupation with the other represents a concern for personal identity in a time of fears of aliens perceived as threatening familiar life patterns. During the late 1960s and the 1970s centred on immigration, this took the form of the alien presence in Britain and the threa to the national culture.
Subsequently, the images of black people as criminals and a series of problems for white people prevailed. Said accounts the orient as the other of the west. Saids notion of orientalism is the discourse through which the west constructs the otherness of the Turks, Moroccans, Indians, Japanese, etc. all reduced to the same stigmatizing stereotypes, and this gives itself an identity in opposition to them (Said, 1978 p. 50).
The politics of representation of the middle east are the product of a historic reinvention of the image of the other i.e. Islamic society is still understood in terms of the wests oriental history and not in the context of followers of a religion that shares much with Christainity and Judaism. Strategies have been implemented to manipulate images of Arab people to respond to the needs of the imperial power e. g. stereotypes of Saudi Arabians as violent, invading the country as a form of assistance to keep peace but mainly for economic benefits. Staging difference became a strategic move to sustain a power knowledge relationship between the west and itsother.
Symbolic representation marks ich is defined as impure, strangely attractive precisely because, it is forbidden, taboo, threatening to cultural order (Hall, 1997, p. 237). U. S attention is on the Islamic people of the middle east and the understanding of the mainstream seems to be that these Arabs are other people, people not like , people who have strange values and beliefs.
They define themselves as superior race compared to the orientals. Said (1978, p. 21) argued that the western media represented Islamic people as irrational fanatics led by messianic and authoritarian leaders. After the attacks of the September,11, 2001 and the American invasion of Iraq, the images of middle easterns as fanatics and violent have been intensified through a well structured network of western TV and film depictions. In Hollywood film that portrays Arab people, we see many Arab bodies lying around.
A host on Fox news claims All terrorists are muslims and It was only one religion that planned the attack of 9/11 (FOX NEWS, 2010). This host was using these racist terms comfortably and this was shown on a national TV channel without an apology been made. According to another correspondent on CBS News, who commented on the attack of Okhlahoma city he states It has terrorism written over it and this was done with the attempt to inflict as many casualties as possible, that is the middle eastern trait(CBS NEWS, 1995). We can see that Arab people are stereotype by the media as the enemy of the west.
There are threatening and demonizing figure of the Islamic terrorists emphasised on the front pages on newspapers whenever there is a fight for freedom in Arab countries. In the news report of the war in Libya there are images of people waving their feasts, publicly holding guns on the streets, faces covered with Palestine scarlves. All these threatening images created by BBC News gave an impression of Islam as an evil religion and Arab people as violent who were ready to kill their authoritarian leader in the name of Allah. After the death of Princess Diana, Sunday Times (1997) had a headline A Match made in Heaven?
The meaning to this headline could be that this white woman from the norm has been taken over by this dark religion i. e. Islam, with Prophet Mohammad managing this. The western imagination of the middle east bears little resemblance to the reality. The western media have adopted the view that the west is angelic and Islam is the devil incarnate through the stereotypes of Islam and Arabs. Saids discussion on orientalism and how the orient has been represented in western media shows that the other is a threat to the western culture.