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Lecture 5

Week 5 - Lowes and All American Muslim.docx

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Philosophy 2730F/G
Ryan Robb

Lowes 10/16/2012 2:17:00 PM Lowe’s and All-American Muslim  Background o As a part of their reality programs following the lives of those who are considered „outside‟ the mainstream, TLC started the „All-American Muslim‟ in the Fall of 2011  Their role was seen as providing an alternative image of Muslims to the terrorist images with which they are normally associated in the media o The Florida Family Association claims to have influenced the advertising decisions of 3200 companies that choose to advertise on shows that are „inappropriate or irresponsible‟ with respect to „traditional, biblical values‟  The FFA sent letters to supporters urging them to contact advertisers and object to All-American Muslim on the grounds that it constitutes “propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.”  Lowe‟s responded to the FFA campaign by pulling its advertising from AAM saying that the “show was a lightning rod for those with strong opinions” o The opposition to Lowe‟s decision was swift and significant; legislators, celebrities, and religious leaders from across the US criticized the decision  Many of the comments received on Lowe‟s Facebook page were supportive but wildly racist, so much so that they were eventually deleted  When presented with a petition of 200,000 signatures asking them to resume their advertising, Lowe‟s declined but added that they had not caved to FFA pressure; theirs was purely a business decision  Analysis – E. Alsultany o The AAM controversy highlights the continued contested position of Muslims in American society – they need to be portrayed as acceptable to other Americans, a portrayal that satisfies non-terrorist stereotypes  Though AAM moves away from depictions of Muslims as terrorists, it creates a new stereotype of Muslims as „patriotic‟ and „victims‟ of post-9/11 hate crimes  The scenes of victimization appear in AAM allow viewers to ignore the detainment and deportation of innocent Muslims by the US since 9/11  The show allows the audience to stop asking, or distracts the audience from asking about the treatment of Muslims by the US government  So the show reinforces a new, post-9/11 stereotype of Muslims – it fails to undermine the practice of stereotyping, though this positive stereotype should not be ignored o What AAM really helps to show is how diversity, for all its apparent breadth of tolerance, is rigorously controlled: „yes, these people are different, but only in one limited way... otherwise, they‟re just like the rest of us‟ o The opposition to the show is undoubtedly based on racism  People who are unwilling to consider portrayals of Muslims outside the „terrorist‟ stereotype o Lowe‟s tried to pull its ads on the grounds that it wanted to avoid political controversy, but by pulling its ads however, it behaved politically  Analysis – H. Sisco o The Lowe‟s case serves as an example of an ethical decision having been made too fast – the decision to pull their advertising from AAM was a PR disaster o The biggest concern was that the quick reaction was a response to a group with a well-known history of bigotry o Lowe‟s did not consider the seemingly obvious public perception its actions were bound to produce – that the corporation accepted the FFA claim about the goals of AAM  Lowe‟s position in respect of the controversy wa
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