Arabs in Hollywood: U.S. films' cultivation of viewers' perceptions and attitudes towards Arabs

Ada M Salazar, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

This study examines how U.S. films cultivate viewers' perceptions and attitudes toward Arabs. The analysis builds on the study of media effects and racial stereotyping. The study utilized a convenience sample in a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design to explore the effects of Arab stereotypes in films, as well as the effect of films' viewing habits on viewers' perceptions and attitudes towards Arabs. ^ Findings suggest that films containing portrayals of Arabs serve as immediate stimuli and affect viewers' perceptions of Arabs. Participants exposed to negative stereotypes of Arabs in films had higher negative perceptions of Arabs after the films than viewers exposed to positive Arab stereotypes in films. In addition, participants exposed to positive stereotypes of Arabs in films had higher positive perceptions of Arabs than viewers exposed to negative portrayals of Arabs in films. ^ Furthermore, films' viewing habits of participants showed a significant impact on their attitudes towards Arabs when using pretest perceptions and attitudes as covariates. The findings suggest that viewers' perceptions are stimulated by the messages films send. Then, after viewers are exposed to the same consecutive system of messages, films served as a tool of learning and meaning making on the formation and reinforcement of attitudes. Films cultivate viewers' perceptions and attitudes towards Arabs. ^

Subject Area

Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies|Mass Communications

Recommended Citation

Salazar, Ada M, "Arabs in Hollywood: U.S. films' cultivation of viewers' perceptions and attitudes towards Arabs" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1423724.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1423724

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