Even after a week, I still find myself stunned that up until last week's class I was completely ignorant about the lack of Asian American women in our media. It was incredible how as a class we struggled to name Asian American women in our media simply because so few of them exist. I was somewhat aware of the stereotypes of Asian American women going into our class that day but did not realize how the underrepresentation of Asian American is equally important.
With this in mind, I'm ashamed to say that for our discussion on Muslim women in the media no one comes to mind. I think those of us who want to be conscious of the oppression minorities face particularly in the media often forget how underrepresentation is just as important as misrepresentation in their oppression. There was only one Muslim male in my graduating class in high school and so for many of the people I graduated with he is the only Muslim they know. This leaves room for those individuals to be more heavily influenced by racist stereotypes since Muslims are so underrepresented in my community and I think this is mirrored in our media.
When Asians, Muslims or any one particular race or ethnicity are underrepresented in the media the very few representations of those groups become more heavily weighted and therefore have greater significance. This is especially dangerous because more often than not these representations are skewed and inaccurate, only perpetuating greater oppression.