University of Miami students will have the opportunity to see a film that analyzes the stereotypical and degrading images of Arabs in American movies over time and the prejudices they have fueled. The Organization of Arab Students Instituting Solidarity (OASIS) is hosting a screening of the film, Jack Shaheen’s in Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Villifies a People, on Tuesday, Feb. 24 in the I-Lounge at 7 p.m.
“The film had a really powerful message and people don’t really have a good perception of Arabs right now and we felt showing the film would help improve the image,” said Randa Obid, a Syrian-American and the secretary of OASIS.
Some of the members of OASIS have felt and experienced prejudices against Arab people firsthand.
“I understand that every group gets made fun of but I do feel that there are a lot of times where it’s a bit unjust,” said Tony Chamoun, a Lebanese-American and the vice president of OASIS. “And not just in media, for example, if you’re going to the airport and ‘randomly’ get stopped. It happens to my family.”
Members of OASIS have made it a goal to portray to others the Arab culture in a positive light in an effort to change these negative perceptions. OASIS was founded in 1996 as the Arab Friendship Club; it is part of the Council of International Students and Organizations (COISO). The organization serves to present information and educate people on the Arab people and culture. It is not a religious group, it is a cultural group that anyone interested in Arab culture can join.
“In the beginning I joined to meet other Arab people,” said Yoldez Meroueh, a Lebanese-American and the president of OASIS. “Then I was realizing that Arabs are really underrepresented so I wanted us to go out and show people what Arabs are really about, and let them know it’s not everything people portray them to be, which is why we’re hosting the screening.”
If You Go:
What: Screening of Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Villifies a People
When: Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.
Where: The UC I-Lounge
Film Length: 50 min.
Food and refreshments will be provided