Time: 1 class period
Level: Grade 6-12
Materials: "Who You Callin' Arab?" article, essays on Stereotypes from TeachMideast.org
Outcomes: Students will be able to define each of the three groups: Arab, Middle Eastern, and Muslim. They will understand and be able to articulate the differences between the three groups and the characteristics two or more groups share using a Venn diagram. Students will work cooperatively in both large-group brainstorming and small groups.
1. Have students read the article, "Who You Callin' Arab?" and the associated essay Arab, Muslim or Middle Eastern? You may also want to assign the articles What is the Middle East? and Stereotypes of Arabs, Middle Easterners and Muslims. Discuss as a class why there is so much confusion between the categories Arab, Muslim, and Middle Eastern.
2. Many people's identities overlap more than one category; others may be represented by only one of the three. Brainstorm categories of people who would be Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern; those who would be Arab and Middle Eastern but not Muslim; those who would be Middle Eastern and Muslim but not Arab; Arab but not Middle Eastern or Muslim; etc.
3. Statements should reflect the diversity within each group, e.g., Many Arabs live in the Middle East. Some Arabs live in Europe, North America and other non-Middle Eastern countries. About 20% of Muslims are Arab. About 80% of Muslims are non-Arab. Turkey, Iran and Israel are non-Arab majority countries in the Middle East.
4. After 10 minutes of brainstorming by the full class, have students break into working groups of 3-4 students. Have them complete the Venn diagram together, using both statements like those collected by the full class and further statements generated by the small group. Each student should fill out their own diagram. The activity may be completed as homework if classroom time is insufficient.
Is each group defined by language, culture, location, religion or other characteristics?
What kind of diversity exists within each of the categories under consideration?
Where would groups with different characteristics live?
Where could you find further information on each group in order to further refine and add to your Venn diagram?
Have students do some demographic research and create alternative ways to present the data. How many Arabs are there worldwide, and where are they located? In what countries are they the majority of the population? Where is the Middle East? How do you define it? Where do the world's 1.4 billion Muslims live, and in what countries are they the majority? In what countries are they a significant minority?
If you create three different maps with these data sets, how do they compare? If you created cartograms with each of these data sets, how would they compare?