Friday, February 3

Muslims Only Make Up 1% Of Characters On TV, Study Finds


Despite making up 25% of the worldwide inhabitants, Muslims solely account for 1% of characters on widespread tv exhibits, in response to a report launched Wednesday.

The findings, which come from an evaluation of 200 top-rated tv exhibits aired within the U.S., U.Okay., Australia and New Zealand between 2018 and 2019, point out but once more that the worldwide leisure trade has both sidelined Muslim voices totally or solid Muslim actors in roles rooted in stereotypes.

“What we’re seeing is content material creators and casting administrators that don’t have any creativeness,” mentioned Stacy Smith, the founding father of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and the lead creator of the research.

“This is individuals being lazy with a bunch of those that routinely are being dehumanized as both perpetrators or victims of violence, or with disparaging feedback.”

Such storylines can contribute to a number of issues in the actual world, together with aggression towards and worry of Muslims, Smith mentioned.

The report, titled “Erased or Extremists: The Stereotypical View of Muslims in Popular Episodic Series,” was launched with help from the USC initiative, Pillars Fund and the Ford Foundation, in addition to actor Riz Ahmed and his manufacturing firm, Left Handed Films.

Among the exhibits evaluate as a part of the research, 87% didn’t characteristic a single Muslim character. The 200 scripted collection included simply 98 Muslim characters out of 8,885 talking roles — a ratio of about 1-to-90.

Muslim characters are often portrayed as violent and foreign on screen, according to a new study.
Muslim characters are sometimes portrayed as violent and overseas on display screen, in response to a brand new research.

Courtesy of USC Annenberg

When Muslim characters did make an look on display screen, they have been largely portrayed as violent or overseas, and referred to with phrases like “terrorist,” “predator” and “monster.” Thirty p.c of the Muslim characters within the pattern perpetrated violent acts towards one other character, and practically 40% have been targets of violence.

Despite the truth that Muslims are essentially the most racially and ethnically numerous non secular group on the planet, the vast majority of talking Muslim characters have been depicted as Middle Eastern or North African. Only 13% of all Muslim characters have been proven as native to international locations that aren’t majority Muslim. Meanwhile, two have been depicted as immigrants.

Of all of the talking Muslim characters within the scripted collection, about 70% have been male and 30% have been feminine. Muslim women and girls on display screen usually confronted some form of misery, together with emotional duress or bodily hazard.

“We didn’t see them actually main their very own storylines or exhibiting them in empowering roles — which, once more, creates this gentle that Muslim ladies can’t be leaders they usually can’t be empowered,” mentioned Al-Baab Khan, one of many authors of the research.

She mentioned such depictions are dangerous as a result of they reinforce the picture of Muslim ladies “as being oppressed, as being fearful or as being less-than, which isn’t true.”

A separate research launched by the identical researchers final 12 months discovered that fewer than 2% of movie characters with talking roles have been Muslim.

“We see that even throughout all media content material in movie and TV … Muslims are extraordinarily erased on display screen. And that poses an enormous subject as a result of after we take into consideration Muslims in the actual world, we make up 1 / 4 of the world’s inhabitants,” Khan mentioned.

“It’s actually onerous to even justify such a disproportionate illustration on display screen. And it’s actually unhappy as a result of rising up in America, you need to have the ability to see your individual group.”

The subject isn’t distinctive to Muslims. Hollywood has lengthy confronted criticism for its abysmal track record on diversity and the shortage of Black, Asian, Hispanic and Latino actors in lead roles.

Pillars put up a billboard in Los Angeles ahead of next week’s Primetime Emmy Awards to highlight data from the report.
Pillars put up a billboard in Los Angeles forward of subsequent week’s Primetime Emmy Awards to focus on knowledge from the report.

Courtesy Pillars Fund / Illustration by Mona Chalabi

Pillars, which points monetary grants to Muslim teams, put up a billboard in Los Angeles forward of subsequent week’s Primetime Emmy Awards to focus on knowledge from the brand new report and begin an overdue dialog concerning the lack of Muslim illustration within the trade.

“We needed to make use of Emmy Award season to have of us take into account one thing else, which is that the amount and high quality of characters on display screen has a huge effect on the day by day lived experiences of Muslims across the globe,” mentioned Arij Mikati, the managing director of tradition change at Pillars.

But for many years, she mentioned, tv has not included the “magnificence, pleasure, variety, and richness of our communities and Muslim communities.”

“Representation for illustration’s sake is definitely not our aim. The high quality and content material of characters on display screen have a very huge influence on how individuals all world wide really feel about Muslims and likewise how Muslims really feel about themselves,” she added.

“Film can act as a method for audiences to establish with Muslims, and I actually imagine it’s a chance to create larger empathy for and fewer prejudice in direction of Muslims off-screen.”

Shows depicting Muslim lead characters with nuance are slowly changing into extra widespread.

“Ms. Marvel,” which options the primary Muslim superhero in Marvel Studios’ “cinematic universe,” debuted on Disney+ earlier this 12 months and rapidly turned one of many manufacturing firm’s highest-rated tasks.

Meanwhile, Netflix’s “Mo” — primarily based on the lifetime of Muslim comic Mo Amer — paperwork the story of a Palestinian refugee in Houston. And final 12 months, the British sitcom “We Are Lady Parts,” which follows a punk band made up of Muslim ladies, premiered on Peacock.

“We know that persons are hungry for these tales. They are distinctive and relatable, and we’re actually excited to ask different Americans to study extra about our vibrant communities,” Mikati mentioned. “This is a chance for the trade to see the expertise that has lengthy existed in abundance.”


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