In social psychology, a stereotype is any thought widely adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of behaving intended to represent the entire group of those individuals or behaviors as a whole. These thoughts or beliefs may or may not accurately reflect reality. Within psychology and across other disciplines, different conceptualizations and theories of stereotyping exist, at times sharing commonalities, as well as containing contradictory elements.
In this day and age, it’s refreshing to see a positive perspective on a script that has the ability to cause unease in America. Stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims in the United States have been presented in various forms by the mass media in the American culture. Stereotypical representations of Arabs are often manifested in a society’s media, literature, theater and other creative expressions. These representations, which have been historically and predominantly negative, have adverse repercussions for Arab Americans and Muslims in daily interactions and in current events. In American textbooks, which theoretically should be less-creative expressions, similar negative and inaccurate stereotypes are also found for Arabs and Muslims.
Political street artist Peter Fuss billboard pieces entitled This Means Peace were first placed at a railway station in Gdansk, Poland in January 2008. His works are immortalized on his website and are just as powerful, nearly four years later.
The two billboards, that Fuss posted his signature minimalist typography across, feature Arabic writing with an explained translation underneath that reads “This Means Love” and “This Means Peace.” The strength in the message of the simple black and white print is insurmountable due to the universally positive understanding of the terms love and peace. They signify a humanity that has always been present in the Arab culture, despite the overwhelming stigmatism of destruction that has been linked to the Arab community in the last decade. Fuss’ eye-opening work reevaluates social stereotypes and forces the viewer to reexamine their own ways of thinking.
Source: My Modern Met