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Stereotypes are beliefs about an entire group that may be based on information about an individual or a small number of people within that group. People use stereotypes to make snap judgments about others without looking at them as individuals. Stereotyping is almost always negative and is always harmful because it makes unsubstantiated generalizations and ignores the humanity of the people being stereotyped.
Islam is a widely misunderstood religion, and many of those misconceptions have become even more firmly entrenched in recent years. Those who are unfamiliar with the faith often have misunderstandings about Islam’s teachings and practices.
One vastly misunderstood place covers 6 percent of the Earth’s surface and more than 1.1 billion of the world’s population calls it home: Africa. There are many myths about Africa that people throughout the world believe to be true. The truth is that these myths are rooted in misinformation, lack of knowledge and stereotypes. A danger to the advancement of society, stereotypes lead to the widespread belief of myths.
We all first view the world through a single lens, and our own life experiences and beliefs impact our actions and behaviors unconsciously. This is referred to as implicit or unconscious bias. Everyone makes these generalizations, and they help and protect us in this complex world. But stereotypes are different. They are oversimplified and based merely on group membership and can be built upon any characteristic, such as age, a physical trait, gender, race or nationality.
Our beliefs about groups of people stem from socialization, including our parents, peers, national culture, subcultures and even the media. If this is true, stereotypes act as a way to justify placements in society. This concept is known as legitimizing myths – and it acts as a justification for social practices that influence groups and allocate social value within the social system. Generalizations can be helpful, but stereotypes are dangerous. Based on oversimplified, fixed assumptions about groups of people, stereotypes are often justified within social systems, causing myths that come with widespread belief.
Assignment
Discuss misconceptions of Islam and of Africa; clarify many misconceptions about the faith of Islam and Africa as a continent. What do you really know about Islam or about Africa? How can we dispel the stereotypes and misconceptions about them? How does learning about differences within a group help to dispel stereotypes? How does learning about similarities among groups help to dispel stereotypes? Why is it important to learn more about religious faiths other than your own? Discuss many of the misconceptions listed below of Islam and Africa.
Is it possible to adopt an attitude of tolerance and reaching a compromise through dialogue? Have our educational systems failed to provide us the framework and tools to engage across these differences?
Write a post in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations. This post should answer and discuss many of the above questions.
This topic and discussion is relevant due to the current myths and stereotypes surrounding Islam and Africa in the United States, especially because these stereotypes are adversely affecting society today.
Critical and analytical thinking is truly required in your post. While the ideas in this post are intended to be yours, you should feel free to quote some other source if it really addresses your view of the assigned topic. If you quote any source, be sure to cite your sources within the discussion.
Here are five [5] common stereotypes about Islam:
Misconception #1: Islam is a religion that promotes violence and terrorism.
Misconception #2: Islam guides followers to oppress women and forces them into a subservient role.
Misconception #3: All Muslim people are Arab or Middle Eastern.
Misconception #4: Jihad is an offensive Holy War
Misconception #5: Isis members are Muslims
Here are five [5] common stereotypes about Africa:
Misconception #1: Africa is an inhospitable jungle or desert; sweltering hot and vast, open land of emptiness.
Misconception #2: Africa is the epicenter of primitive culture and of poverty.
Misconception #3: Africa is behind the rest of the world, lacking in innovative technology; having “no access to modern technology”.
Misconception #4: Africa is a single country instead of a continent; that all Africans are the same and are without a unique history and culture.
Misconception #5: Africa Is “Disease-Ridden” and It is unsafe to visit Africa.

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