Application reflection project
Orientalism in western pop cultural is something that occurs more than most of us realizes, weather it's a popular TV show, movie, comic book, or even a catchy song on the radio. Exploitation of Arabs seems to be a very popular subject in many western pop cultural artifacts. Even when it comes to children’s movies exploitation of eastern cultures often still exist. The children’s Disney movie Aladdin may not be so innocent after all, this movie portrays negative stereotype on Arabs. (Wingfield & Karaman, 1995) This children’s movie discriminates Arabs as violent, poor, and thefts. Through images, scenes, and even songs this movie portrays racism towards Arabs.
The most controversial of all is opening song of the movie titled “Arabian nights”. The lyrics read "Oh, I come from a land, From a faraway place, Where the caravan camels roam, Where they cut off your ear If they don‘t like your face, It‘s Barbaric, but hey, it‘s home."(Wingfield & Karaman, 1995) These lyrics were thought to be so offensive that The American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) got involved. Wingfield & Karaman, 1995) Disney agreed to change the original lyrics to the song. The new lyrics read "It‘s flat and immense, and the heat is intense. It‘s barbaric, but hey, it‘s home.” (Wingfield & Karaman, 1995) Although the lyrics improved many Arabs don't consider this much progress, and still see the new lyrics as racist. (Wingfield & Karaman, 1995) PG rated movies such as Aladdin should not be able to contain such violence. It is obscene that lyrics of brutal violence are portrayed on Arabian cultural, especially that of a children’s movie.
Along with the violent lyrics to “Arabian nights”, Aladdin portrays a violent culture in several other aspects of the movie. There are also several knife fights throughout the movie, with attempts of the guards trying to kill Aladdin. In one scene a market owner tries to cut off jasmines finger, because she does not have money to pay him for an apple she gave to a young boy. (Scheinin, 1993) Another context of this movie that has brought offense to many Arabs is the characters in the movie. The lead characters Aladdin, jasmine, and her farther all have rather light skin tones, American like accents, and are portrayed as beautiful and pure hearted. (Wingfield & Karaman, 1995) While the characters that happen to have dark skin tones and strong Arabian accents are the villains and greedy merchants. (Wingfield & Karaman, 1995) The Disney movie Aladdin even shows their land as uncivilized. Outside of the kingdom is a sandy desert, shops owned by greedy merchants, and animals as means of...