Although in recent years Hollywood has apparently shown an important advance in the representations of races, the problem within the industry is still quite remarkable, and sometimes this is fundamental for the response within society, especially when they feed negative stereotypes resulting in real life hate crimes against people who are part of a different culture.
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The attempt by the film industry to give more attention and prominence to African-American characters has become evident, without taking into account that there are many other people of various origins who continue to suffer discrimination due to negative stereotypes about them. One of the negatively stereotyped representations that have suffered the most is that of Muslims.
After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the villains represented by Muslims became one of the most watched elements, especially in Hollywood cinema. Few actors in this social context have managed to come out with leading roles that have nothing to do with the subject; An example of this is the case of Riz Ahmed, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for his work in Sound of Metal – 100%.
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Through his YouTube channel, the actor shared a video in which he explained what is the problem that continues to be present in the film industry and how this negatively influences the life of the Muslim. The goal of your video is to demonstrate the problem and invite the big franchises to end it. The interpreter also shared a series of studies that delve into the representation of his culture on the big screen.
The problem of Muslim misrepresentation is impossible to solve. [Además] ignored … and it’s a problem that a handful of prominent Muslims in the business can’t fix.
Ahmed highlighted three Oscar-winning titles that have held an important place in terms of negative and toxic representation of his own: Sniper – 72% Clint Eastwood, Fear Zone – 97% by Kathryn Bigelow and Argo by Ben Affleck.
[Son] films that dehumanize and demonize Muslim characters, insofar as they are the perpetrators or victims of violence, unworthy of empathy or incapable of empathy.
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Riz Ahmed shared a study titled “Missing & Maligned: The Reality of Muslims in Popular Global Movies.” In this document about 200 films were analyzed, of which 100 Americans, 63 from the United Kingdom and 32 Australians stand out; where only 2% had characters with an important speech or dialogue, while 39% of the tapes turned out to be those who commit acts of violence, 53% were targets of violence, 58% were immigrants or refugees, 88% did not speak English or have a strong accent, and 75% wear clothes typical of their religion.
The actor claimed that he had been shattered by the fact that one of his favorite shows, The Boys – 90% have also contributed to this type of representation. He also pointed out one of the biggest Marvel Studios movies where they got it right by making a different and positive portrayal of black characters, Black Panther – 90%, where, however, in the first minutes some Muslim kidnappers are shown.
In the words of the actor, based on studies, all these representations on the screens influence the violent acts against the people of his culture. Ahmed concluded by assuring that the few positive roles that Muslim actors have obtained will not generate a great change if the industry in general does not choose a new path.