Religious Fanatics Anissa Janine Wardi Summary

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Anissa Janine Wardi’s “Terrorists, Madmen, and Religious Fanatics?: Revisiting Orientalism and Racist Rhetoric” presents a very detailed description about racism in America. She frames her argument by focusing on how certain members of the media immediately attributed the Oklahoma City bombing to “Arabs.” As well, Wardi describes how popular culture (movies) is reinforcing racism in America. Wardi examines both the reasoning behind such assumptions as well as the effects that such assumptions can have on a very specific group of American citizens: Arab Americans. She argues:
Arab Americans and Muslims maintained a low profile during the days following the bombing. Many in the Arab American community feared that, if indeed, Arabs were responsible, there would be an onslaught of hate crimes directed at innocent Muslims and Arab Americans throughout the nation.” (31)
This is significant because by reacting the way that the American media
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According to Wardi, Said claims, “[the] principal dogma of Orientalism... is the absolute and systematic difference between the West, which is rational, developed, humane, superior, and the Orient, which is aberrant, undeveloped, inferior” (32). It is through this “dogma” that the West is able to ascribe evil to such a diverse group of people simply based off the idea that they “look” similar so they in fact must be similar. This rhetoric is unfortunate and instantly creates a binary between what is good and what is bad. It is held, according to this flawed framework that Americans, but only the ones that look how Americans should look, that is, white, or like the accepted minorities, are good and everything unfamiliar, from the East, is bad. It is only when one examines the discourse of how Arabs are portrayed in mass American culture that one can gain an understanding about how marginalized and caricaturized they

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