Combatting prejudice: understanding media prejudice toward Muslims and advocacy organizations' efforts to combat it
Teitelbaum, Jay F.
Baylouny, Anne Marie
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Prejudice toward Muslim and Sikh Americans, at times violent, continues in America despite advocacy organizations' efforts to combat it. Some scholars have suggested that this violence is due to a gap in firsthand interactions between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans, a critical void often filled by a prejudicial media. This thesis investigates underlying causes of media prejudice toward Muslim Americans and how well advocacy organizations are addressing this issue. Specifically, the thesis examines the reasons behind American media's promotion of prejudice in civil society, focusing on civil society groups that may be responsible for promoting stereotypes. The thesis suggests that Orientalism and efforts by fringe organizations contribute to media prejudice. Three main recommendations can be drawn from the thesis. First, advocacy organizations need to reach wider audiences to effect change based on intergroup contact theory, which promotes interaction among different groups. Second, advocacy organizations need to address fringe organizations directly. Third, advocacy organizations need to work with media advertisers to promote change and introduce new programs specifically to help normalize relationships between Muslim Americans, Sikhs, and other Americans.
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