Jewish World Review Sept. 10, 2002 / 4 Tishrei, 5763
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Terrorism is likely to continue against the United States because teenagers around the world view Americans negatively, due in large part to American movies, TV and popular music, a Boston University study said yesterday.
There's apparently little that can be done immediately to change the widespread negative attitudes of these anti-American teens, the breeding ground for future terrorist acts against the United States, the study's authors say.
"There appears to be a significant probability that the threat of terrorist acts against Americans will continue in the years ahead," BU professors Margaret H. DeFleur and Melvin L. DeFleur said in their study.
"It would take some triggering incident and the presence of messianic militant groups to ignite, but it's a collective perception with the scary potential of becoming a bloody reality when these global teens come of age."
The DeFleurs based their conclusions on responses from 1,259 high school students from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, South Korea, Mexico, China, Spain, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Nigeria, Italy and Argentina.
Teens in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain held the most negative views, closely followed by those in South Korea and Mexico. Teens from Nigeria and Italy were generally neutral, while only in Argentina did teens view Americans somewhat favorably.
The shared negative beliefs and attitudes create a hard-to-crack foundation for breeding future terrorism, the authors said.
For the attitudes to erupt into terrorist action, they must be combined with religious differences, provocative incidents by the United States and the existence of militants bent on harming Americans, the DeFleurs said.
The foreign teens generally viewed Americans as violent, materialistic, dominating, disrespectful to those unlike them, not generous, lacking concern for the poor, without strong family values and not peaceful.
They also believe many Americans engage in criminal activities and American women are sexually immoral, according to the study.
"The findings suggest that problems for Americans are likely to continue into the foreseeable future in terms of terrorism threats," the researchers said.
The DeFleurs also said that while it is clear that these teens developed their understandings and interpretations of Americans from American movies, TV, video games, and music CDs, "gaining some sort of easy way to manipulate that complex communication process that will produce (positive) results quickly seems most unlikely."
While possibilities for immediate action by Americans are limited, the authors suggest there may be long-term remedies.
Those would include public information campaigns, reviews or evaluations of movies and other media products.
The public should also make clear to producers and distributors of media content to other nations, the researchers said, "that what they are now providing has in many cases become a source of very negative and harmful definitions of Americans and their way of life."
(The full report can be found at the Web site: bu.edu/news/releases/2002/defleur/report.pdf)
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