Emory Report
February 27, 2006
Volume 58, Number 21


Emory Report homepage  

February 27 , 2006
‘State of Race’ debate to look at media portrayal of Arabs

By beverly clark

In light of the recent political and security focus on the Middle East, Emory’s sixth annual State of Race Debate, to be held March 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium, will feature a discussion on the media’s portrayal of Arabs and the policy implications of these representations.

Speakers will include Jack Shaheen, emeritus professor of mass communications at Southern Illinois University and author of Reel Bad Arabs, and Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic and a prominent conservative commentator.

After receiving his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard in 1990, Sullivan became the youngest-ever editor-in-chief of The New Republic in 1991. As a journalist, he focused on race relations, popular culture and homosexuality. He stirred controversy with his influential critique of the Clinton health-care plan and pioneered coverage for gay rights. Sullivan is a regular guest on “The Chris Matthews Show,” “Charlie Rose,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation” and National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air.” He has spoken extensively at colleges throughout the country and is currently an essayist for Time, Sunday Times of London and The New Republic.

Shaheen is an internationally acclaimed author and media critic. A former news consultant at CBS on Middle East affairs, Shaheen addresses stereotypical images of racial and ethnic groups in his award-winning book Reel Bad Arabs. He argues that stereotypes do not exist in a vacuum, and that hurtful caricatures can alter perceptions. He has been recognized for his contributions with a lifetime achievement award from the America Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, two Fulbright teaching awards and several honorary degrees.

Shaheen currently serves as a consultant with the United Nations, the United States Information Agency, New York City’s Commission on Civil Rights and with a number of motion picture companies.

The annual State of Race Debates seek to engage the Emory community and beyond in a dialogue on important social and political issues pertaining to race. Past participants have included Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, commentator and former U.S. presidential candidate Alan Keyes, renowned professors Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson and others.

The event is free and open to the Emory community; a limited number of free tickets are available to the public. Tickets may be picked up at the Dobbs Center information desk (404-727-4636). For more information, contact Feras Akbik at fakbik@learnlink.emory.edu or 404-251-6203.