Stereotypes, Media, and Islamophobia | Facing History & Ourselves
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Mini-Lesson
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Stereotypes, Media, and Islamophobia

This mini-lesson is designed to help students reflect on how the movies, shows, and books we consume can reinforce stereotypes about Muslims and the harmful impact stereotyping has on people's lives.

Published:

At a Glance

Mini-Lesson

Language

English — US

Subject

  • Civics & Citizenship
  • Social Studies

Grade

6–12
  • Antisemitism
  • Racism

Overview

About This Mini-Lesson

This mini-lesson is designed to help students reflect on how stereotypes—specifically stereotypes about Muslims—can be reinforced through the media we consume and the negative impacts that these stereotypes can have on people’s lives.

  • 4 activities 
  • Student-facing slides 
  • Recommended resources for exploring this topic

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Activities

Activities

Respond to the following questions in your journal:

  1. Think of a time that someone made an unfair assumption about you. What was the assumption? How did it make you feel?
  2. Was the assumption linked to any stereotypes about groups that you belong to? If so, how?

Watch the Secret Life of Muslims video Ahmed Ahmed: An American-Muslim comedian on being typecast as a terrorist.

Reflect:

  1. According to Ahmed Ahmed, how are Muslims and Arabs stereotyped in movies?
  2. How do these negative stereotypes make Ahmed Ahmed feel? What impact did these stereotypes have on his career?
  3. How do you think these stereotypes might affect the way people think about Muslims or Arabs?
  4. How does Ahmed Ahmed use comedy to counteract these stereotypes?

Watch the Secret Life of Muslims video Khalid Latif: Muslim NYPD chaplain: saluted in uniform, harassed as a civilian.

Reflect:

  1. What assumptions do people make about Khalid Latif when he is in uniform? What assumptions do people make about him when he is not in uniform? What do you think explains the difference?
  2. How have people—including people in authority—treated Khalid Latif because of assumptions about Muslims?
  3. How is Khalid Latif impacted by the harassment and discrimination he experiences?

Pick a book you recently read or a show or movie you recently watched. Then, choose one character from the piece and create an identity chart for them. To create an identity chart, write the character’s name in the space provided below or on a piece of paper. Then, write the traits or characteristics of the character around their name, and connect each one to the character’s name with a line.

Credit:
Facing History and Ourselves

Reflect:

  1. What stereotypes are there about people like this character?
  2. In what ways, if any, does this character reinforce these stereotypes?
  3. In what ways, if any, does this character break away from these stereotypes?
  4. What impact can stereotypes have on the people who are being stereotyped? What impact can they have on society as a whole?
  5. Do writers or directors have a responsibility to avoid perpetuating stereotypes, or even to counteract them? Why or why not?

Materials and Downloads

Resources from Other Organizations

These are the resources from external sources that we recommend using with students throughout the activities in this mini-lesson.

Additional Resources

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Facing History & Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

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