Exotic/Other: Narratives of Muslims, the Role of Media and Popular Culture

Khalida Syed

Abstract


This commentary paper explores experiences of Muslims being identified as an exotic/other by the media after September 11, 2001. The writer’s experience of being chosen for attention because of her Muslim female dress code, headscarf, during a National Aboriginal Day of Action, was a surprise for her. Instead of paying attention to the event, a media reporter questioned “why I covered”. This narrative introduces a poignant awareness of the power of media to make choices that identify and define the exotic/other. Narratives of another Muslim woman and two Muslim men illustrate the role of the media and popular culture to form and represent identities. The purpose of this commentary is to show how, in becoming aware of how we as individuals and the media in our culture, in the post 9 – 11 society, are reacting, choosing, refusing, and accepting the making of our identities.

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