This talk will discuss contemporary US feelings towards Syrian and Palestinian refugee resettlement and expectations for “appropriate” refugee attitudes, emotions, and behaviors. Laura Partain’s findings come out of a generalizable experimental analysis conducted with native-born US citizens in December of 2019. Putting these views into an historical context, she explains that what might immediately be perceived as unexpected experimental results are actually the logical evolution of the 20th and 21st century US racial episteme: US participants are more likely to support the resettlement of darker phenotype refugees, but hold more amicable views of lighter phenotype refugees. Moreover, participants’ association with the Christian faith identity was the most reliable predictor of anti-immigrant views. During this discussion, Laura will tie her research into ongoing conversations about nationalism and national belonging, as well as the ways in which social-expectations placed on displaces peoples can limit their access to civic, medical, and everyday resources.
Laura Partain is a Visiting Lecturer in Civic and Global Media within MIT’s CMS/W. She researches complex news and social media effects on marginalized communities’ access to socio-political, material, and medical resources. Her scholarship is located at the interstices of citizenship status and national belonging. Laura’s work uses experimental analyses to develop media interventions for prejudice reduction and focuses on the media effects of racial, religious, and ethnic identity representations. Laura has worked with communities in Syria, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, and Iran, but also works with these communities who are forcibly displaced in diaspora (i.e. refugees, asylum seekers) as well as with Arab and Muslim Americans more broadly. Her published research includes articles in the Journal of Applied Communication Research and Communication Methods and Measures, among others.
The following is a transcript generated by Otter.ai, with human corrections during and after. For any errors the human missed, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scot Osterweil 00:33
I’m Scott Osterweil. I’m the creative director of the MIT education arcade. But I’m turning the floor over to Vivek Bald, who’s our Director of Graduate Studies and he’ll be doing the introduction. So great. Thank you.
Vivek Bald 00:46
Thank you. So it’s, it’s my great pleasure to introduce Laura Partain tonight. Laura is a visiting lecturer in our department in comparative studies this year, specifically in civic and global media.
Vivek Bald 01:07
So, Laura is a media effects scholar whose work focuses on understanding the complex. The complex news and social media effects on marginalized communities access to socio political, material and medical resources, or scholarship is located at the intersection of citizenship status, and national belonging. Laura’s research uses experimental analyses to develop media interventions for prejudice reduction, and focuses on the immediate effects of racial, religious and ethnic identity representations. Laura has worked with communities in Syria, the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Iran, but also works with these communities who are forcibly displaced in diaspora that is refugees and asylum seekers, as well as with Arab and Muslim Americans. More broadly. Her training in critical study is in critical studies, and her use of interview and survey method methods, grounds for work within these communities experiences while necessarily considering these communities in relation to geopolitics and other transnational Solidarity Movement. She is a PhD candidate in Indiana University’s media school holds an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas, Austin, and graduated with a BA in religious studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Laura is also a fellow in the Muslim women and the media Institute, through a Henry Luce grant at UC Davis. And I’m going to hand it over to Laura, welcome.
Laura Partain 03:01
I said, Great, thank you so much. Vivek. Can I go ahead and share my screen now so that I can launch right into my PowerPoint. Wonderful. Okay, so I’m now screen sharing. And there we go. Can everyone see is every Everything good? Okay, so I have a lot to get through. There may be certain points where I kind of briefly touch on the slides and then move on. If you have any questions about what I’ve moved on from quickly or skipped over entirely, please feel free to ask me about those slides or that information in the q&a session. So this project that I’m going to be discussing today is called dynamic exchanges. And yeah, it. So this project, and really came out of the 2015 2016 presidential election cycle, and the rhetoric that occurred during that election cycle, but also very much so the policies and the facilitation of certain policies that happened once Donald Trump was elected to President. Right. So, um, one of the first things that Donald Trump did when, after his election to the presidency, was he put out executive order 13 769. And this order and effectively banned communities from Muslim majority countries. And this is why it became known as the quote unquote Muslim ban. And it became known as this primarily because it seemingly inconsistently and randomly selected certain countries to be banned from entrance to the United States while allowing other Muslim majority countries to still have access to immigration or or to the United States. So the goal of this was, according to the White House to protect the nation from foreign Foreign Terrorist entry into the United States. Um, so along with this order, very shortly thereafter, Donald Trump also talked a lot about the preferred immigrants or desired immigrants, and that he would like to come to the United States. And he would always, or he put those in a binary between the shithole countries, which he was commonly talked about, for example, like Haiti, or other countries on the African continent, and then Norway. And so he he really created this binary between them that the only conceivable way to understand the binary was through a lens of race. And this comment or this dialogue that he started on these countries, was followed up by his immigration or his head of immigration, Kevin Cuccinelli, and giving us a rewrite on the Statue of Liberty’s kind of infamous symbolism. In that he said, she really should be saying, Give me your tired, your poor can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge. So with this kind of whole set of rhetoric coming out, and the public charge order being put in place, this resulted in a number of on the ground effects for certain marginalized communities such that as specially immigrants became nervous and in some instances would try to take their children off like their health care, because they would worry that that would disqualify them from being able to have access to permanent residency or to get a green card does have additional effects on their access to food stamps, cash assistance, public housing programs. And right now, we can see the way that this rhetoric and subsequently the policies that came out of this rhetoric have had repercussions for these communities, specifically immigrant communities, and those who are undocumented, but also those who are, for example, asylum seekers, and it has kind of created this freeze on them not knowing whether they could or could not seek healthcare assistance for COVID or during the period of the pandemic. And immigration websites in the US have taken to putting a lot more information up online that tries to reassure people that they can seek assistance. But I’m bringing this up because of
Laura Partain 07:47
the way that my work in particular, at this stage is seeking to really analyze the immediate rhetorical effects on audiences, and to then be able to take that information and see how it translates into public policy and then kind of dictates or restrict certain access to resources going forward. So um, we are most of us are probably quite familiar with the rhetoric that occurred during the election cycle. These images represent some of the rhetoric that was used to discuss Syrian refugees, ranging from Ben Carson, saying that Syrian refugees were like a rabid dog to the very frequently used idea that Syrian refugees were acting as a Trojan horse for ISIS. And so this type of rhetoric was very common, and even still kind of perpetuates the discourse on Syrian refugees. And they’re also So while there was not necessarily as much discourse on Palestinians, and in this last election cycle, there has historically been quite a bit of discourse that has fundamentally excluded the voices of Palestinians, as well as ignored some of their some of their demands or desires for self determination during presidential debates. And even though Donald Trump did not discuss Palestinians, or really as much as Israel during his presidential election cycle, since he took office, he has moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv in Israel to Jerusalem. And he’s also put out the deal of the century along with his son in law, Jared Kushner, that again, did not seek the input of any Palestinian voices and by and large ignored Or, in appropriately addressed historical conditions for Palestinians, some sort of Palestinian peace deal with Israel.
Laura Partain 10:12
Laura Partain 10:14
Laura Partain 14:25
So some of the relevant theories that I used throughout my research, of which I previously had kind of interspersed throughout my slides, but I realized that it would be best just to put it at the beginning, so everyone can kind of understand where I’m going with some of this. And so I use something called social identity theory. And I talked a lot about in my introduction in groups and out groups, and social identity theory really informs the ways that we informs the process of how we construct or why we construct those in groups and out groups. So this theory is premised on the idea that images are individuals desire to have a positive self concept concept and manage or improve their self esteem accordingly, there are negative or positive attributes associated with varying social group categories. And these associations are relevant to one’s own self concept. So when one has an in group and one has an out group, and there are going to be different ideas that are attributed to one group versus the other group. And the idea here is that those concepts or those attributions can be, um, that it affects the way that one sees oneself and one sees ones in group, right. So third, social groups are not inherently positive or negative, but accrue these out evaluations based on comparisons to other social groups. So the idea really is that we all want to have a positive self concept. And therefore we want to have our group that we the groups that we belong to have a positive construct as well. I also talk about something that is not technically called museum ization, but I label it as such. It’s from Chakrabarti, and he discusses the way that whiteness establishes itself as the authoritative voice in teleological global development. And this is really necessary for for my work, and thinking about ideas of progress or liberalism, and how
Laura Partain 16:29
within this construct, communities, such as from the Middle East are always put as always already behind and failing to live up to a set of expectations because of this design, in development, so I also use theories on whiteness to really inform my work and whiteness, defined by Babb is a system of privileges accorded to those with white skin. And, importantly, Dyer says that it’s not just epidermal markers of a vague otherness. This is not a direct quote. It’s not just epidural epidermal markers of a big otherness, word markings of difference, came to stand in for a symbolic negation of whiteness, that is a moral, irrational, unintelligent, inhumane and unchanging. And these constitute whiteness through the very absence of European designated spiritual or intellectual integrity. So according to Yancey, the intentional de historia de historicization of whiteness, veiled its composition as natural rather than as aspirational, and subsequently reordered the ontological and epistemological Ways of Knowing morality, intellectual ism and rationalism. So by fundamentally devaluing indigenous knowledge that included spiritual modes of discovery and analysis, scientific rationalism, decidedly positioned alternative ways of knowing is outside the very boundaries of rational thought itself. The schematics of this institution were self sustaining, if by a system that white ruling classes created, indigenous and black communities were naturally less intelligent, rational and moral, than these same communities were always already precluded from disputing the very validity of racial science that legitimized equivocations of whiteness with prosperity. And these ideas are going to become really relevant as we move into understanding some of the results of the experiment that I want to present. My experimental research was presented to participants as a news story. And this is an example down here of how it was presented. There were different hosts or different news anchors, there were different images and representations, so as to reduce potential bias towards a single image. It was represented here as a news story, and represented to participants as coming straight from the news. Although later, it was crafted to inform participants that indeed, these stories represent kind of an amalgamation of different news stories about Syrian refugees or health refugees, but that they actually, they This wasn’t like a direct or an actual story that had happened. So I, my experiment was a three level experiment. I use something called moral mappings of which I’m not going to get too in depth into and but this comes from something called moral foundations theory, which is predicated on the idea that there are a finite, essentially a finite amount of
Laura Partain 19:45
moral foundations or outlooks that influenced the way that people see the world and the way that they interact with. So for example, um, I took these ideas and then I match them with presidential rhetoric that occurred during the presidential election cycle. And so if a if a candidate talked a lot about police, or talked a lot about the military, for example, that would reflect an idea of authority, subversion, and that was, maybe would be used there. So then another manipulation of manipulations, or nationalities. So I’ve manipulated whether people received a condition with a Palestinian story, a Syrian story or a Norwegian story. And I also manipulated racial phenotype as well. So accompanying every story that the people received, they would receive two images, one with presidential rhetoric and one with a story about a refugee or immigrant family trying to resettle in the US. And every story would have one, either one image either of Syrian family with a lighter phenotype or with a darker phenotype. So the categories of hypotheses that I looked at pertain to rhetoric, nationality, and race, as can be reflected in the experimental design. I measured participants emotional reactions, their expectations, as well as their specific attitudes towards refugees and immigrants. I went through, I collected a lot of demographic data. And I ran this experiment, if anyone who’s in quantitative studies is interested, I ran it as a single model with the three manipulations as well as the participants own religious affiliations. So for some of the demographic results, when I conducted this, I did allow people to select really like 20 stuff from 27 different religious variables. And so for example, Jewish denominations were broken up into, you know, orthodox, conservative or reformed Jewish. But by and large, almost everyone concentrated in these three categories, which or I recoded, to be kind of an atheist, agnostic, non religious, there were very few participants in the Jewish denomination, but I thought it was important to keep that and then also at Christian denominations racially, it was, again, like I said, predominantly made up of white participants. And education level people were fairly highly educated who participated in this, but we also had a kind of a nice spread of people from different educational backgrounds. Also a fairly nice spread in terms of age, although once again, we had I had mostly a younger set of younger people taking this. In terms of nationalism, we I had, again, fairly high levels of people who held nationalist ideas, participate in this study, and then for their political identity is, and it was about a two to one ratio of people who were democrat taking this. And then quite a few people who didn’t support any political parties, which I was a little surprised by, but maybe I shouldn’t be quite as much given the current state of politics. So um, some of the results that I found, which these really are some of the results, because I want to note that
Laura Partain 23:20
I was examining quite a few things. And I did find results for the moral manipulations, as well as things more pertaining to the nationality of the refugees. But by and large, the results that I found are the results that I’m presenting, which make up the core of the analysis have to do with race and the religion of the people who took the experiment. So, um, for kind of a breakdown, there were a lot of positive reactions. When people received the darker phenotype representation, such that they were more likely to believe that this refugee story was reliable or truthful, they were more likely to believe that the US should welcome refugees and immigrants in general. And they helped significantly higher levels of feelings like feeling disturbed over us policies demonizing refugees and immigrants. And I almost reached a level of significance. But this is still an important finding that people who are seeing darker phenotype representations were almost more likely to support the assertion that people have a right to flee their homes of origin, and they were more likely to support Refugee and Immigrant resettlement. They felt sadder for the refugee families in the story, and they also held significantly higher feelings of acceptance towards the refugee, the refugee family. People who received the lighter phenotype representations were more likely to agree with the statement that white Muslims are less violent than brown Muslims because they are still culturally more similar to the west. And they were less like he received the lighter phenotype versus the darker phenotype, they were less likely to agree with the statement that it would be foolish for Muslims to demand access to all levels of society. Which, once again, the flip side of that is that people who received the darker phenotype were statistically more likely to believe that Muslims that it was foolish for them to demand equality to all aspects of society. And those who received the lighter phenotype also believed they could recognize I’m a Muslim by their physical appearance alone, and they’re almost less likely to hold neoliberal expectations, which are a set of expectations that has to do with public role or like reliance on certain government support for refugees and immigrants. So right, so even though I have more things to get through, just as a summary, what we can kind of see here for the racial for when people received the darker phenotype representation, by and large, they had more of an an altruistic or sympathetic response to the refugee family and towards immigrants and refugees in general. And when they received the letter phenotype representation, people were more likely to display anti muslim racism attitudes, and to have kind of show more of a preference for lighter phenotype or have higher, better, more nicer, if you will, of us towards later phenotype, refugees and immigrants. In terms of the religions effects. What I found was, were mostly differences between Christians, and ignatian, and the group that is agnostic or atheist or non religious. And so, you know, just search for anyone, again, who runs statistics or is interested in the quantitative aspect of this, I did run poke post hoc analyses to ensure that there were significant differences between those two groups, and that it wasn’t just something thrown off by there being a smaller group of the Jewish community participating in the survey. So this is mostly comparison comparing the Christian groups and the non religious groups. So that means that Christians were less likely to believe that immigrants and refugees had a right to challenge us policies. They were less likely to believe that immigrants and refugees should have input on their treatment.
Laura Partain 27:43
They were less likely to support resettlement in general, and they were less likely to be disturbed over negative rhetoric about these communities, they are more likely to believe there should there should be higher legal standards. for immigrants and refugees, they’re more likely to support an English requirement prior to resettlement. They’re more likely to hold anti muslim racist sentiment, and they are also more likely to hold higher expectations that refugees and immigrants assimilate have positive feelings or attitudes. And for them to not rely on us aid or resources at Christians were also believed that they could spot a Muslim by physical appearance alone. And they also thought it was foolish for Muslims to have access to all late levels of society. Additionally, participants who believed that whose faith was more important to them, who believed the US should welcome all faiths equally, and who also believe that the US is a unique safe haven for Christians and Jews. Over all had less positive use for us immigrants and refugees hold higher expectations for immigrants and refugees. And we’re less likely to report or to support resettlement. So we can kind of see even within this that people simultaneously believed that the US does welcome all faiths equally, but then at the same time also believes that the US is a unique safe haven for Christians and Jews. Right. And so we kind of see there being a wrench thrown into some of these ideas are these worldviews? So then how do we explain these seemingly contradictory results where we have a situation where, where people seem to have a nicer or more positive view of later phenotype, refugees and immigrants, but also really would prefer to have darker phenotype refugees and immigrants be resettled? How do we kind of rationalize this idea that Christian community is our that in the US historically, a lot of Christian communities have been the ones who are leading the way to have refugees resettled or who find homes for refugees, but then also, you have a situation where they are the ones who have the least positive view between Jewish Christian and non religious communities in the US towards these groups. So we can kind of we can understand this best if we understand it through a lens of Arab American history, right. So until the 1960s, Arab Americans were not considered European white, but they also were not deemed as antithetical to whiteness itself. Nor did they threaten the ideological integrity of the US racial system. interviews that were done with Arab Americans in around the 1960s 1970s 1980s have shown that some Arab Americans actually thought they were perceived as a model minority. And the reason is, that is the race put on these communities living in the US really fluctuated over time, depending on the needs of whiteness to discipline US citizens and incoming immigrants. So Arab Americans avoided being wholly raised in the US not because they were an identifiable as an other. Indeed, many Arab Americans were included in categories along with Ottoman Turks, Greeks, Italians, and other Mediterranean groups based on the context and at a time and these other groups were not yet subsumed into categories of whiteness.
Laura Partain 31:20
They were not yet raised because the history of Arab American Immigration coincided with moments when they were permitted, or sometimes demanded have to assimilate into normative cultural definitions of whiteness. Although this points to the very fluidity of the US racial episteme itself, Arab Americans racial adaptability has been a product of their adjacency to whiteness, whereby this community at times was able to legislate their own identities in a way that African or indigenous Americans, for example, could not, despite whiteness as affordances, to Arab American communities, their subject position was always determined through white intermediaries, rendering their racial identities, both subjective and often very precarious for these communities. So the reason that Syrian and Palestinian Arabs in particular avoided rigorous racial identification until the 20th century derives from shifting immigration policies that aim to keep as many quote unquote, undesirable immigrants out of the United States as possible. And we can see this because if we’re looking, I pulled up this map, to hopefully be a little bit of a help to us. And so this is early Arab immigration to the US. And sorry, I’m moving my clicker up so you can see it. So early Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian immigrants to the US were referred to, by and large as Syrians. And this was due to this whole area, and many often being referred to as Al Shams. And US citizens would just call them all Syrians, because they didn’t really understand the complexity of the region. But within this area of Al shams, we see like here is Syria. Here’s Jordan, there is Palestine. Sorry, I’m trying to look and Lebanon and trying to see where it’s listed, please, it’s right here. So, um, what happened was the inability for people to recognize some of the differences led them to just be all together categories in the US as Syrian for some time, right, the first large scale immigration to the US occurred between the 1880s and 1920s. But it’s important to note here that I’m as Alexa naff or Alexa naff has demonstrated in her fantastic and really foundational work on Arab American communities as that individual Arabs had actually been traveling immigrating to the US or traveling back and forth between the US and in their country of origin really, for several hundreds of years for several hundred years before that. So around that time, we had a number of immigration restrictions, which I wish I could get into, I don’t have time to go over all of them. But there was the Naturalization Act of 1790, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and 1889. That’s when the US began using race specifically as an additional immigration category to screen entrance into the US there was the 1917 Immigration Act, and then also the Johnson reacted 1924 and then there were additional immigration acts after that to either consolidate previous Immigration Act support to change them. Right. So,
Laura Partain 34:32
Laura Partain 34:34
they, so Arab Americans did not avoid the early stages of specifically racialized violence in the US, because white Americans were benevolent towards this group. But instead because whiteness as an ideology benefited from categories and Arabs as temporary citizens of whiteness. For example, Arab Americans have historically acted as a boundary line between whiteness and otherness, often stemming from their unique identities. Arabs have historically been had a higher since you’ve been part of a higher socio economic group. They are predominantly middle class or wealthy landowners and entrepreneurs, religiously, Arabs before world war two were 95%. Christian actually, and racially, they were able to once again litigate their their whiteness in courts. So as becomes clear, the confluence of racial, religious and presumed cultural identities have resulted in a contemporary system, whereby era of whiteness, veil, systemic inequalities that this community faces, prevents air of access to resources designated from marginalized communities, and renders Arabs as threatening because of their ability to assimilate. So Arabs marked the limitations of whiteness, Asian communities have historically precipitating or precipitated the hardening of racial boundaries. And we can see that through some of the cases on litigation that occurred in the early 1900s. One of the first ones was for Costa George MNsure. He, he had lived in the US for a long time, but because of an earlier, earlier acts that said that Chinese Americans could not be naturalized, and he was forced to litigate his whiteness, and prove that he was, quote, unquote, not easy at all. And then in another case, in 1910, Tom Ellis also had to try to litigate his whiteness in court. And it’s important to remember that during this period, judges would use a width fluctuate and what types of rationale they would use for why someone was or was not white, whether it be the visual representation, or the scientific racism, addition, an addition to other categories. And so for Tom Ellis, he had to he was on the borderline. And what allowed the judge to rule in his favor, was that he spoke English, which was an example of his literacy, but also that he was Christian, which therefore imply that he had good moral character. And so what these what this demonstrates is they’re, oftentimes that race is unstable over time, but by and large, that when Arabs were able to litigate their whiteness, they did so at their expense, and by the same logic that really held up white supremacy at the time. And also, again, this does not necessarily mean that they always benefited from this, rather, they are often perceived by the wider public, and not to not be white. And there are also for example, situations or cases where Arab Americans were lynched as well. So they did not necessarily receive any sort of positive treatment just because they were able to quote unquote, litigate their whiteness.
Laura Partain 38:03
Okay, so, um,
Laura Partain 38:06
Arabs really sit in the middle of these discussions on racial identification, their national identities, position them as belonging to the Asian continent, but their phenotypic variation, predominantly Christian identity is an economic fit with contemporary American capitalist values were not positioned to come in stereotypes about Asian communities, that Arabs are visibly recognized as non indigenous or indigenous American or black, but not commonly accepted as white LED to various attempts to litigate their whiteness to claim its privileges, as we talked about. So, Arab Americans also, hold on let me Here we go. Arab Americans also relied on Christian faith practices to establish their whiteness in US legal proceedings. And this reaffirms kind of the complex mutual dependency of national and ethnic origins, and religious affiliation a historically constituted race as natural rather than a constructs. Although explicit mention of race. Sorry, religion is often alighted from conversations on race, scholars and whiteness studies diligently on Earth, the role that religion symbolically and materially held in the violent disenfranchisement of racially marked marginalized communities in America, scholars target the 1700s and 1800s, as a period where codification of racial hierarchies in the US took hold. So scholarship examines how the groundwork for race hierarchies has been in place for centuries, that Christians brought a tradition of the binary of black and white moral dualism to bear on an enemy that could be perceived as black. So the Crusades were thus part according to Dyer have a heightening awareness of skin color differences, which they further inflected in terms of moral attributes. So what we see here is that over time and specifically in the United States, Christianity had worked to uphold racial binaries between whiteness, which was associate seated with ideas of purity, morality, holiness, and these same values that were used to rationalize slave holding in the United States, were similarly also used as a way to perpetuate taking over or the genocide of indigenous Americans, as well as us imperialism abroad. So really, um, in the US, Arab Americans were perceived as white by and large and tell the quote unquote, question of Palestine in the 1960s, when they were increasing wars between Israel and Palestinians and the other surrounding Arab countries. And between the Cold War when Arab Americans and Muslim Americans became kind of the new Boogeyman, and in post 911, America, we we saw, again, kind of the ratification of the binary between or the perceived binary between Christian and Muslim communities in the US. So, for further information, I’d really recommend these books which are fantastic on Arab immigration, Arab Americans race and immigration in general. So some of the takeaway results from this experiment are really that these results unveil a system of participant belief where my darker phenotype refugees are more recognizable as victims. These experiment tests are not examining whether people feel sympathy overall, but they’re really based on the differences between when people received a darker phenotype image or later phenotype image. So we found that, or I found that
Laura Partain 41:44
by and large, those who are the participants in the study have more altruistic altruistic views towards darker phenotype refugees. And this evidence really supports an explanation whereby the belief that lighter phenotype individuals possess inherent character traits that predisposes them to success, and that failure to live up to the success is a personal rather than systemic condition. For example, I found that there were higher expectations that were placed on lighter phenotype roughyeds, or lighter phenotype, Norwegians, and darker phenotype Syrians, so while they were higher expectations for darker phenotype Syrians, higher expectations were placed on lighter phenotype Norwegians, because of the supposedly racial in group out group differences. So here the US racial hierarchy really disciplines immigrants and refugees into perceived appropriate roles for these communities. And traits, like language, racial phenotype or cultural presentation are used to mark certain communities as the other and therefore requiring additional surveillance. So for white Christian citizens, survival is then predicated on being able to essential eyes, the other and hear essential icing on the other reinforces sameness. So without persisting categories, or categorization of outgroups as possessing inherent similarities, whiteness really risk the weakening of its ideology of supremacy through Middle Eastern and Muslim communities, perpetually demonstrating cultural, religious, linguistic and political differences. So even though there was more sympathy for darker phenotype, refugees, this is also potentially because they are markedly the other and therefore do not really disrupt systems or coherent systems or racial hierarchies. So I’ll go through the survey quite quickly here. Oh, sorry. Okay, so I took these experimental results then. And I presented them to a participant pool of Syrian Americans in Palestinian Americans. But before I did that, I actually presented these groups with the exact same new story. And I also presented them so with the new story, and then a set of questions from the new story. And then I presented them with the results from the experiment. So I asked them a set of demographic questions, we had about 46 participants, which is a fairly small demo, or a fairly small pool of participants. But we had a really nice spread of people of different religious beliefs between non religious atheist. We had Sunni Muslim and then a variety of Christian denominations. These communities were from all over the globe are born in different places. And they also held very national or ethnic identities. Some of the other results that I found is that these communities by and large, felt really connected to their ethnic international community is that they spent a lot of time practicing or they spend most of their time relating to their community. Through practicing and artistic activity, but they also connected to their communities through other religious activities, or political and general social activities. And that Palestinian and Syrian Americans use social media very often to represent themselves, or represent their national or ethnic identities. And that when they did, so, they were most likely to use Facebook and then Twitter. And so I had a pretty solid amount of people who identified this was a self identification. So people were able to enter in or select multiple racial identities, as well as enter in other ones that they thought better represented themselves today, and a lot preppers are self selected Brown is racial identity, or white as a racial identity. And because I had a smaller participant pool, I then recoded these into, even though these
Laura Partain 45:59
names are not quite like what I would like them to be, um, I had to recode them into people who identified as white only, and then people who identified as multiple identity is or in some way identified as white, in addition to other racial or ethnic identities. So I didn’t find importantly, when I used race as a mode of stratification to understand the results from the survey, I didn’t find any differences according to race in how people participate in an activity is, there was no difference in their connections to their identity is our connections to others in the community. There was no difference in how they identified in terms of their citizenship status, whether it be immigrant asylum, seeker or otherwise. There also is no difference in terms of how people identified racially come in how they identified religiously, or whether they were born inside and outside the United States. And this is important because these could be explanatory mechanisms for what I found, because what I did find is that for participants who identified as white only, they participated in fewer religious activities. But they also held higher expectations for the immigrant and refugee family that was in the news story. So they were more likely or they they held feelings that they expected the refugee and immigrants to be grateful to the United States for letting them in or that they should leave. They also expected them to be happy and have feelings of happiness, in general feelings of gratitude, right, and they were also less likely to agree with the statement that immigrants and refugees should input regarding us policies and treatment of immigrants and refugees. But at the same time, when I presented the survey participants with the results from the experimental study, which is a reminder was primarily was native born US citizens who 87% of whom are white, the participants who the survey participants who identified as white only, and were more critical of immigrants and refugees and held higher expectations of them. They rejected the experimental results or negative views on their communities at the same rate as people who didn’t identify as white only. So some of the takeaways from this are that we can understand or that to understand racial identity and social identity theory, you really should be complicated by power structures, and understanding that, that social identities may actually fluctuate depending on who you are the information you receive or who is at a time, again, or perhaps against your in group. Right. And I’ve also, my takeaway would be that internalized whiteness may be an important lens with which to understand contemporary racial and social politics among marginalized communities.
Laura Partain 48:57
So I think I have like 10 minutes.
Laura Partain 49:03
Does anyone know that? Do we still have a few minutes to go over the interview portion?
Vivek Bald 49:13
Sorry, I was muted. Yes. Um, take take the time that you need.
Laura Partain 49:18
Oh, okay, great.
Laura Partain 49:21
Okay, so the last section of
Laura Partain 49:25
the last section then, are the interviews. And these interviews were conducted with Syrian Palestinian artists, six different artists over about 19 hours of Talktime. And I use something called grounded theory to assess these or to analyze these interviews. And grounded theory in this case really centered the interviewees own experiences and their demonstration of how their experiential reality itself is pedagogical. And it’s really useful in also breaking down some of the historical barriers between the academy and the quote unquote, real world if you will. So I use Robin D.G. Kelley’s work to kind of guide to that grounded theory. And my research question for this was how does the contemporary us news media ecology affect Syrian American and Palestinian American artistry? So the artist, and the first one is Amal Kasir. She’s pictured right here. She’s a Syrian American woman from Denver, Colorado. She’s a poet, a spoken word artist, a teacher. She’s known for her TED Talk, she’s performed at the Kennedy Center. She was also recently representative to the UN International Women’s Day on behalf of protected Syrian women.
Laura Partain 50:54
The next artist is Bessel Madani. He is a Syrian American man from Canton, Ohio. He is a soul and funk musician as well as a logistics expert, consultant manager. He really, yeah, all of these artists. I want to comment on how they all had multiple jobs, and you just have multiple jobs. But they all had multiple jobs they spent a lot of their time on. And I was really grateful for them to take the time out to talk to me. And so he’s known for being the lead singer for bassel and the supernaturals. And they have performed that many music venue, including South by Southwest. I also talked to Tariq Luthun, he’s a Palestinian American man from Detroit, Michigan. He is a poet community organizer and a data analyst he’s known for he won a regional Emmy Award. He’s also advised on major political campaigns in Michigan, and has been the face of a lot of active local activism in Michigan. So one of the other artists is DJ Fatin. She’s a Palestinian American woman from Brooklyn, New York. She is a DJ and activist. And she’s known for being the quote unquote, female Palestinian DJ, a title or label which she kind of rejects, but also appreciates for its sentiment. Um, she’s performed at the Kennedy Center, she’s been invited to perform an embassy is she’s she’s known globally for her dJ dJ. And the next person is C. Gazaleh. He’s the one who painted this mural. He’s a Palestinian American man from Dearborn, Michigan and San Francisco, California. He grew up between both communities so identifies as coming from both and he’s a visual artist who paints, murals, paintings, digital art and clothing and among other forms of art. He’s known for some of his commissioned art around San Francisco, the US even around the globe. And he’s also known for his Oakland Palestine solidarity mural. The last person that I interviewed was Sammy Obeid. He is my Lebanese, Syrian Palestinian Italian interviewee from San Francisco, California. Yes, he identifies very much with all four so we didn’t limit you know, um, and he is with a comedian, a host. He does like 50 jobs. Amazing. He’s known for he was one of the hosts on the Netflix show the hundred humans. And he’s been on America’s Got Talent, Conan, the last Comic Standing and he’s known for his performance of literally 1001 nights of comedy in a row. I don’t know how he kept that up. So I talked to them a lot about their experiences with producing art and producing important cultural products. In light of or during a time when the news, media sphere and news and media in general, produced not quite so kind printer ideas or rhetoric about these communities. And so Tarik cunber. Earnhardt’s thoughts on this are really important and useful. And so I wanted to read his thoughts. And rather than kind of outlining my whole theory of my own here, so I think that’s also what’s been difficult about being Palestinian about being a person of color. Often, you know, you’re always asked, Well, how bad is your oppression? Really, it’s like, you can’t point to one moment that was racist, and like, I’m always living under it. It’s like I’m always seen it. I wake up every day, knowing that my family back home has limited resources and limited access to health care has limited freedom, right? So like, I wake up every day knowing this. So when we talk about media portrayals, there isn’t one single media moment that I feel like impacts me. They all weigh me down to a greater and greater extent with every passing moment. And so long as we’re not free, it will always be weighed down, whether I see it or not, you know, like whether I see it or not, I know the perception, I understand the way in which media has contributed or been complacent and complicit in the portrayal of my people. So there isn’t one moment, there isn’t like one time, but I can say that it definitely frustrates me, it definitely makes you want to, it makes you feel like you’re going crazy because, like hear you, you can see tangible things that you believe in know, are true. And yet an entire population of people thinks that your truth is not real. And so
Laura Partain 55:28
this was a sentiment that was expressed widely among the participants, the idea that I’m the media, and here most often referring to American media gaslit them and made them feel like what they were seeing what they were experiencing, wasn’t really what the reality was. And so this was something that a lot of them worked through, or that they were, they were, that was weighing down on them while they were presenting their work to me. And while they are creating their, their art every day. So, um, when I was looking at this as an entire body of interviews, you know, I worked with people from really varied backgrounds who were in different artistic mediums. But really what struck me was that all of them and acted what I termed preservation, which is a form of collective memory. And so their work is adjacent to news me to a news media landscape that both excludes Palestinian and Syrian self representation. It’s important to note here that I in my work, don’t conflate Palestinian and Syrian identities or conflate Palestinian and Syrian experiences, they are quite different. However, there are, there are cultural similarities. And there’s also a lot of solidarity work between these communities. That led me to put these into a comparative analysis. So they’re artists work in Acts, processes preservation, through collective memory building via social media and in person platforms through a coherent body of work that is neither stagnant nor actively dissipating. And there’s the recognition of historical array Sure, they maintain critical identity constructs in diaspora and the user geographical distance to build more protected infrastructures of representation in ways that some of the communities add in their, the ethnic identities that they identify with, and the ways that they might be unable to at certain times. And this also extends post memory literature into a future orientation. So this is necessarily predicated on a group’s experiential reality of an existential threat to their identity. So such a threat motivates the art to act as both a carrier of aesthetic experience as well as the Museum of historical reference. bassel talks about this when he discusses videos of footage of ISIS and he said, it’s like the last thing that represents during people dodge and yeah, in fact, like they, they like these are the people who are working actively erase the memory of Syrian culture, who are actively destroying well preserved ruins from the beginning of time to create their own dynasty and whatever you had, these are the people were attaching Syrians, people think of Syria, this is one is one of the first things that comes to mind. And so basil really critiqued the perpetuation of that, especially recently in the news that always rhetorically connects ISIS with Syrian communities while I’m so they both kind of fetishize this connection, while also hollow out Syrian historical and cultural identity that is very rich, and very different from anything relating to ISIS. And Tarik said, we’re not fighting to just be free of occupation we’re fighting, we’re fighting to amplify these beautiful components of the culture that do not get heard because of the occupation. Right? Like it’s a different angle by which to take this it’s not Oh, we want to stop being killed. It’s Oh, we want to live. And this idea was really was at the forefront of what Hart talked about, because it’s a really common phrase that Palestinians like,
Laura Partain 59:20
exists to resist. And, and he brought up what happens when we are no longer having to resist what happens when we then live in a place where we have some sort of self determination. We want to have a society where we can be able to bring our expertise or our you know, education really to the forefront. So the idea with these people, is that the artists are preserving traditional cultural values and practices within contemporary work that can be altered, reimagined, or imported into future communities. So this was also our conversations were often marked by references 911 and how this had a an effect on their own self conception of their identities. Whether it was one of the artists recalled an incident where his teacher in the classroom, jokingly told him to not use an Uzi to shoot up the classroom. Um, but we also have, like someone like Sammy talking about how 911 really, it wasn’t that he didn’t know at all that he was Arab American before. But it was after 911, that he began to understand what being Arab American meant, within a US within the US space. So there, I don’t want to go too much longer here, because I want to get questions. And but I do, I’ll briefly go over some of this, um, that there are, I talk about three specific modes of preservation, from these interviews, and they’re having to do with form tradition and relationships. And terms of form a great example was DJ Fatin. Um, she often performed for both within Palestinian communities, but also within the wider Muslim communities in her area. And she saw it is really a service to the community. Because a lot of the traditional celebrations like for weddings, a lot of times, there was a need for a woman to be able to play music or entertain at these cultural events. And so she was able in this In these instances, to preserve some of the cultural tradition in terms of music, or the celebrations themselves, but also start to bring in kind of more egalitarian views about women in the service industry. So I talked about with this with other artists like Chris as well, there was a lot of talk about food and land, Chris made a comment that I just see fez, Allah made a comment that I just love, which is I may not have grown up speaking fluent Arabic, but we ate fluent Arabic, you know, and, and I will reflected on this when she said that, um, you know, she was talking about the differences between Syria and Palestine into the F, for example. So, food is often a really important holder of memories that has an effect an effective and also material relationship between the people and their, their, their wider communities. So Sal, or Chris talked about how the men from his grandmother’s garden allowed him for when he arrived in Israel, his actually, US neighbors who have who also had Israeli citizenship picked on Chris up from the airport. And how when he looked down in song meant that it reminded him of home It reminded him of his Palestinian grandma’s mid that she the garden that she had kind of recreated in the US. So I would love to go over this poem, I just want to I don’t have time to read over it. But this is almost food and land poem. And it is incredibly powerful and moving, I would really recommend going and looking at my grandmother’s farm. And she talks about the role of food in PSAs in persisting through the the current the the war in Syria, and I’m thinking about having to rebuild after the war.
Laura Partain 1:03:25
And I just got rid of my video.
Laura Partain 1:03:27
Um, so I also talked about textiles such as touch trees, the CFIA for both Syrians, and Palestinians, as well as the importance of flags and their work. I talk about relationships, and having to do with religion, which is really important, particularly for amo, who talked about the the way in which the war in Syria really reconstituted certain relationships having to do with faith among Syrian communities, as well as for Palestinians, and the relationship between Palestinian and our Christian and Muslim Palestinians. And I also talked about intergenerational relationships and how this really comes into a lot of their work in preserving certain certain traditions and understanding family structures, but also trying to also kind of that tension between first and second generation and third generation immigrants in a different country trying to kind of hold on to some of these traditions while also progressing in a certain way. So I talked about, um, I’m only going to briefly go over this, and race and preservation through instances of solidarity. This was really important for a lot of the artists because they’ve been called racial slurs, but many of them also grew up among other communities of color, where they felt like they belong much more so than in the in white communities and said, they are where grew up with these solidarity, solidarity with them. But also, all of them spoke to the importance of having of carrying out solidarity work as part of their work with their own community. So in conclusion, and some of the summary is that whiteness is an ideology and contemporary use Christian rhetoric, uphold racial hierarchy in the US, as pertains to Arab immigrants and refugees. And there is seemingly internalized whiteness among Arab Americans. And identifying with whiteness as an ideology rather than a phenotype is highly correlated with negative views towards incoming Arab refugees and immigrants. I also found that Arab content creators are aware of media messages, their effects, and they take steps to preserve their historical traditions, while also anticipating a complex and generate a future in which this idea of being able to quote unquote practice and being able to have a very thorough knowledge of their relationship to to tradition will allow the carrying on of those within the more egalitarian space in the future. And I have several other projects underway, right now that look at interventions and devices and stereotypes. And I think most importantly, in going back and connecting this to the beginning, is that they also look at, I’m starting a project that looks on how immigration policies in like, in particular, can have impacts on Arabs and Iranians, for example. So I’m not going to cover anything else. I’m just going to stop here.
Laura Partain 1:06:43
So I’m going to go Okay.
Laura Partain 1:06:51
Have I unshare? My screen, you know,
Laura Partain 1:06:55
okay, let me stop share.
Vivek Bald 1:06:57
Okay, there we go. Great. Thank you, Laura. I have a bunch of questions. And I’m just gonna ask one to start things off, and then let others jump in. And that was it, it relates to the the final section of your presentation just now about the various different artists that you interviewed. And so the way that you described their work in, in one of the slides was that it existed adjacent to the kinds of media representations, negative media representations, that your, your quantitative work, addresses. And, and you talked about the, those artists seeing, or you spoke about the artists work in terms of preservation. And And I’m just wondering whether, in your interviews with the artists, whether whether they characterize their their work as challenges to the, like broad media, stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, in which case, the audience would be of a broad audience as well, right, sort of, like engaging with those stereotypes on the larger realm of popular culture and media, versus working to the kind of preservation work that you’re describing, in some ways, implies a kind of an audience of others within the same or connected communities and kind of building a certain kind of strength from below, right, as opposed to using their media work, you know, cultural and media work as a way of of combating stereotypes on this larger stage. So yeah, I’m wondering about those two kind of modes of media politics or cultural politics and and how they’re articulated by the artists you spoke
Laura Partain 1:09:30
to. Great, thank you. That’s a really important question. And it actually so first to address whether or not they themselves addressed media stereotypes or who their audience was, I think is really what we’re getting at here. And it was split down the middle for the most part. I will say that really, particularly Palestinian Americans were not speaking to a different outside audience. They were not trying to Combat certain stereotypes, for the most part, those passing in Americans were instead, and really kind of more focused within their own community, but with the hope. And with the additional, the goal would be that other communities could, you know, view their work witnessed or work, see their work, and then have some sort of way to kind of have access to this conversation. Whereas really, the Syrian American artists that I spoke with, were much more kind of outward looking in terms of who their audience was. So they mostly were trying to either represent Syrian Americans, Syrians in general, to audiences that were not of their own communities. So they were speaking to their communities, they were speaking in solidarity, but by and large, they were trying to kind of enact a type of educational experience. And for, for people in the US or or globally. And so that is part of the first question. And I’m trying to remember. So that then, part of that also gets into being adjacent to the media. And I think that that’s, I use that very carefully. Because oftentimes, there is the kind of over determination of the word resistance. And I think we often like to attribute that everything that communities who have been marginalized or oppressed in some way that everything they do is resistance. But I think to some extent, that also then serves to recenter those narratives that are harming their communities. And so they exist in this space where they acknowledge that these occur, they know it, it’s weighing down on them. But I think that for the most part, they are trying to create objects or trying to speak in such a way that they can show unity with their people that they can, whether join them something beautiful, or whether it be showing them something that they can relate to when they’re walking down the street, that those communities are, that they’re, they’re just trying to connect with them. They’re not necessarily trying to combat a specific media stereotype. Is there Can you remind me that…
Vivek Bald 1:12:28
You covered everything that I asked, asked about. That’s great. Thank you. Um, so there, uh, what do we see either a couple of questions that have come up in the QA, but also, I wanted to just see if anyone immediately has a question, Emily.
Emily Grandjean 1:12:48
Yeah, thank you. And, Laura, thanks very much for the wonderful presentation. very comprehensive. Um, so I had a question about your earlier quantitative media effects. Research, you were talking about how participants who identified as white only often held the assumption or the belief that immigrants and refugee communities needed to kind of act happy or kind of present gratitude for being in the US or else they should leave. Um, and that reminded me of a an econ, the lump of labor fallacy, which is that like immigrants coming in, only really take up jobs and don’t also create demand for jobs. And so I was wondering whether you’ve seen in your own research or other research, whether being presented with information about how immigrants contribute in various ways to communities or the economy, whether like by, you know, accelerating innovation or paying taxes or taking jobs that citizens often don’t want to take a sort of attenuates those feelings that they need to be grateful or act happy. Just sort of thoughts about that.
Laura Partain 1:13:59
Yeah. Thank you, Emily. That’s a fantastic question. I kind of work along that line of research and other things that I do as well. And I didn’t measure in term. So. So what you’re talking about is something that I sometimes deem respectability politics, which when it comes to refugees, and immigrants, can mean that there has to be a narrative that these communities contribute most often fiscally to the United States economy, in order to be worth it or to be deserving of being able to come into the United States. And so you walk this really tightrope between acknowledging that you’re that really Arab American Arab communities and Iranian communities in the United States actually do and they are known for their entrepreneurial capabilities. They have been, to be honest, some more middle class, even upper class in terms of it immigrants in general, and they’re highly educated, you see a lot of Arab Americans also becoming physicians, so they do occupy this place. But on the flip side of that, that same rhetoric then can also serve to limit who is allowed to come into the United States. And that’s what we’ve also seen with this new part public charge rule. And with subsequent quotas put on, on on immigrant communities that really limit how many communities can just be able to be accepted into the United States for just being a refugee. And so, um, there, there is the extent to which, like humans of New York, and hony, has, you know, ran a great series on Syrian refugees a few years ago. And so things like that do have the capability to somewhat humanize or bring positive information about a group to the wider public. But then you also have situations where I had, or I completed a study on all of the news reports about the executive order that I talked about in the beginning that prevented Muslim communities from Muslim majority countries from entering into the United States. And I found that most of those stories for the exceptions are people that really should be left in that it typically focused on the military or it focused on people who were families that were split up. And so what really happened were communities who will they’re escaping war they’re, they’re fleeing violence, that that wasn’t deemed as a important enough exception to to be granted asylum, for example, or be granted an exception. So that is something that’s been studied a lot. And it’s really hard to find the balance of using that type of information to humanize and really broaden knowledge about these communities, but also not reinforce something that is harmful to these communities in the first place, which is this idea of respectability. So
Laura Partain 1:17:10
Did that answer your question?
Laura Partain 1:17:13
Yeah. Thank you very much.
Vivek Bald 1:17:18
Ámbar Reyes 1:17:20
Hi, Laura, thank you so much. I have a quick like, in the last part, you talk about intergenerational relationships. And I was wondering, how do you think like media narratives can generate disparities in these relationships? And if you think they can have they can
Laura Partain 1:17:42
give me how they can kind of complicate the intergenerational relations. Yeah. So interestingly, I think I had it on my slide. I didn’t get to it. But almost every person referenced Rami, the show Romney, which he, you know, he he’s one now, right, a golden, a Golden Globe. For an Emmy for the show. It’s a very, it’s a wildly popular show. And it’s about a man who’s Egyptian American. And he kind of has to deal with balancing all of the this like intergenerational expectations, and understanding what it really means to be Egyptian American in the United States at this particular time. And kind of carrying all the to some extent, the burden of what the family expects of him and cultural and traditional values, while also trying to fit in, or be part of us society. So I think what I seen, and I don’t know if I can speak to shows as a whole, but I’ll use this as an example, that I’ve seen a lot of Arab Americans really relate to it. And I think it’s, it’s something that there’s there been criticisms on it, that maybe that romney doesn’t always present a really complicated narrative about women. And I think that he did a better job with that in the second season. But what I’ve seen, by and large is that people feel like they’re being seen or feel like this idea of being in this liminal space of caught between two cultures, where they are feeling poles from different generations, that is something that they can relate to. And also, it almost gives them like, not just a language to use when speaking to friends, but it’s almost something like they see it, and then they can talk to a friend and they’re like, Oh, you saw that like, Oh, yeah, that happens all the time. And I think we see that a lot too, increasingly, with like, YouTube videos that there’s a lot of, you know, first second third generation immigrants creating YouTube channels and painting like and kind of showing this tension. And so I think that it can be really productive for for second third generation immigrants or refugees or asylum seekers, who maybe realize that other people had these experiences But I think that there’s a lot of attention around. And I think even the portrayal of it is that it’s not, it doesn’t always have to be frustrating either that at certain points that can be kind of funny, or it can create really beautiful moments between generations where they they can have a space to come together. So um, I think I mean, I love Remy, I think that other shows that are similar. Like even Jane, the virgin is a really nice example, too, that they can be really useful and helpful for people to have conversations on topics where they might not know where to start. Otherwise.
Vivek Bald 1:20:41
I’m going to take a couple of the questions that have come in on chat and in our q&a. And the first was earlier on Suzanna, who’s one of our alum asks, What is the concept of a unique safe haven for Christians and or Jews in a discourse with American Christians? Me? She says that confused me Christianity is the world’s predominant religion, right? Is there some implication that Christians are persecuted globally?
Laura Partain 1:21:19
The answer is yes, there is the perception among American Christians and specifically evangelical Christians that Christians are persecuted globally. And this has been something that has really I would say, has really intensified since perhaps the 1980s. And the increasing rise of some of the like, for example, Liberty University, Jerry Falwell, Jr. And in the last presidential election, we saw that Christians were quite upset that President Obama brought in Syrian Muslims, and they just couldn’t understand why he would be bringing in Syrian Muslims to the United States were refugees, because they’re like, Oh, well, ISIS is is also Muslim. Right. And and so without understanding some of these really complicated nuances, and showing up and wondering why there wasn’t a preference for Syrian Christians to be resettled over Syrian Muslims. So there there is this notion that Christians are persecuted globally, that they are increasingly being persecuted and targeted in the United States. We’ve seen this also with the idea of the war on Christmas, for example. And so a lot of evangelical Christian commentary or rhetoric does kind of construct you as as a safe haven as some sort of unique place, which really does also kind of harken back to earlier Christian communities, whether the 1900s 1800s that viewed the US as a new Israel, to Christians and for this community. And so this unique safe haven for Christians and Jews also comes out of a lot of my findings that have shown that Christians really believe that they are much more similar and related to and hold the same values as American Jews, for example, than they do American Muslims. And so for many American Christians, there has been this kind of division where they see it even they call it Judeo Christian belief systems. And and and that Muslims do not fit into that narrative. And so measuring that was more so a measure of kind of this, this rhetoric, that situate has a situation where Christians are perceived to be globally persecuted more than other faiths at the moment, or that they’re being increasingly persecuted. And then in the US, there’s a risk of losing personal freedoms. So that’s really where that came out of, kind of this idea of isolationism and nationalism, but also some of these these binaries between Christians and other religious communities. So I don’t know if that answers the question, Suzanna. that’s a that’s a great question and
Laura Partain 1:24:19
definitely needs explanation. So.
Laura Partain 1:24:23
Vivek Bald 1:24:26
Great. So I’ll take another question from this is from q&a from from our attendees. And this is from kimia Jalali poor. And the question is, Could you expand on why you think the internalization of white ideology may occur among Arab Americans or other marginalized communities?
Laura Partain 1:24:51
Yeah, thank you, Camille, for that question. That is a great question. And in my mind, the internalization of whiteness does come from what we’ve seen originated with delegation of whiteness in the earlier 1900s. And this pressure to either assimilate or adopt certain practices that align with whiteness, so as to avoid marginalization. And so over time, the weight of avoiding margin or trying to avoid certain instances of marginalization has in some cases resulted with that, that internalization of whiteness as an ideology in order to potentially avoid experiencing negative consequences that other marginalized communities may experience, or really, that they’ve been so socialized into this white ideology, that it’s something that is part of their, their worldview, or part of who they are just as a person growing up in the US. So I think there may be a number of reasons for this. And I think that would have to be something that would be studied with a much, much larger participant pool as well.
Vivek Bald 1:26:07
Thank you. Um, there are, there are a couple more q&a questions, but I thought I would bring it back to see if there are any questions from our graduate students.
Laura Partain 1:26:19
Is it possible, let me just
Laura Partain 1:26:22
Laura Partain 1:26:24
You can’t see me, unshared it. And if anyone is interested in asking me some of those questions, or you can always email me them at all pertaining mit.edu. Sorry, go ahead. My apologies for interrupting
Vivek Bald 1:26:39
No, no problems.
Vivek Bald 1:26:42
So I’ll go to another q&a question. And that is from Hamid, Drazen asSiri. And who writes there is this issue of looking at refugees by either being kind to them or rejecting them, while the root cause of having of having been refugees is ignored. So when we have Syrian or enduring refugees, there is that binary perspective, but little conversation on the significant impact of us interventions in those places in causing mass migrations, the 2009 coup in Honduras, or the role of the US inciting war in Syria are not discussed. So the question is, I’m curious, if you asked your interviewees not just about their sympathy or openness, but about their responsibility toward refugees for the wrongdoings of their own government.
Laura Partain 1:27:46
Then I think he follows it up with to clarify masking, but surveys from US citizens, especially, but also maybe how the artists think about that issue. Thank you. Um, hamidreza thank you so much for that, um, that is a such an important question that really gets at the heart of a lot of which what I do, which is trying to be able to bring to light not only some of the underlying colonialist or imperialist policies that further demonize these communities, and also, but they also, in many ways contribute to the displacement in the first place. So I think that is something that very much needs to be looked into in in this current work. I did not look into that. But I think that is actually a really fantastic way to go forward in a different direction would be to get some of these would be to get reactions from participants, if it’s reframed, instead of something that these communities are fleeing from, you know, usually the, the event or the the instance from which they’re fleeing is often, you know, it’s unrooted or unmoored from its origin, right. And so it just happens. That’s what oftentimes these like events or just seem to happen, or it just happens over there, because of their history or their identities. And so I think that it would be really interesting to bring that to participants to maybe instead Freeman to them as their accountability and being and being part of a democracy that has democratically elected representatives who do have some influence over us policies abroad. So I didn’t ask them about that I, the artists that I talked with, we did have many conversations and understanding the political relationships between the US and different governments around the world. So so that is something that we talked about quite a bit, but I really love this question. And I Gosh, I need to conduct another experiment with this questions. I think You so much.
Vivek Bald 1:30:04
Okay. Um, any I’m going to go back to our our group online here to see if there any other questions. And there’s one more in the QA that I can get to as well. Okay, okay, I’m going to go back over to the q&a. And Laurie, you can probably you see this too, right. So the question is, does the editorial position slash makeup of the US media matter? In other words, do you? Oh, do you I guess, do you show the same story presented by a AlJazeera? Fox News and MSNBC? Oh, do you think it must be there’s a missing word, but would generate differing results have shown to the same control audience?
Laura Partain 1:30:57
Okay, that is a great question. Thank you, Jonathan. Um, the first question seems a little bit different from the rest of it. You know, I think they are related. I do think that the editorial position or I do think that the, that it matters who is presenting these stories? I think that even what I found with my survey participants is the criticism that by and large conversations on their communities did not come from the communities themselves. They were not rooted in the historical demands or goals of the communities themselves. So I think that the representation and in all levels of media and media production is absolutely necessary, relevant and does have an effect on the types of stories that are being put out. In terms of do I think the same? I think you’re asking if I think the same story presented on different news stations would generate different results? And the answer is yes, I do. Which is why I used the same use every ABC, I think, for that I didn’t use fox news or MSNBC on purpose. I didn’t use Al Jazeera on purpose. And because very much what we can see with, um, with politics right now in this country, is that polarization doesn’t only just occur occur from what’s being said, but really from the source that seen it. And so I think that right now with ideas of fake news or legitimacy, that it was important for me to keep the news station the same. Because in that experiment, I didn’t manipulate the new station. So in the future, that would definitely be something and I’m sure that other people have manipulated new stations and other experiments. And my experiment would have gotten too big. But yeah, the answer is yes. I think that’s a great, great point. And it would affect I think, participants, views.
Vivek Bald 1:32:53
All right, well, we’ve gone over time, but okay, I’m just waiting to see if any, any other questions are there? I have more questions, but we’ll have to do that offline. At some point. So thank you so much. That was really wonderful talk. And, and we look forward to hearing within our own community here hearing more about your work and thank you so much.
Laura Partain 1:33:29
Thanks Vivek. Thank you to everyone who is here today.
Vivek Bald 1:33:33
All right. Take care everyone.