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

Regardless of making up 25% of the worldwide inhabitants, Muslims solely account for 1% of characters on widespread tv exhibits, based on 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 business has both sidelined Muslim voices totally or solid Muslim actors in roles rooted in stereotypes.

“What we’re seeing is content creators and casting directors that have no imagination,” stated Stacy Smith, the founding father of the College of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and the lead writer of the research.

“This is people being lazy with a group of people that routinely are being dehumanized as either perpetrators or victims of violence, or with disparaging comments.”

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

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 Basis, in addition to actor Riz Ahmed and his manufacturing firm, Left Handed Movies.

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

Muslim characters are sometimes portrayed as violent and international on display, based on a brand new research.

Courtesy of USC Annenberg

When Muslim characters did make an look on display, they had been largely portrayed as violent or international, 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 almost 40% had been targets of violence.

Even supposing Muslims are probably the most racially and ethnically numerous non secular group on the earth, nearly all of talking Muslim characters had been depicted as Center Japanese or North African. Only 13% of all Muslim characters had been proven as native to nations that aren’t majority Muslim. In the meantime, two had been depicted as immigrants.

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

“We didn’t see them really leading their own storylines or showing them in empowering roles — which, again, creates this light that Muslim women cannot be leaders and they cannot be empowered,” stated Al-Baab Khan, one of many authors of the research.

She stated such depictions are dangerous as a result of they reinforce the picture of Muslim girls “as being oppressed, as being fearful or as being less-than, which is not true.”

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

“We see that even across all media content in film and TV … Muslims are extremely erased on screen. And that poses a huge issue because when we think about Muslims in the real world, we make up a quarter of the world’s population,” Khan stated.

“It’s really hard to even justify such a disproportionate representation on screen. And it’s really sad because growing up in America, you want to be able to see your own community.”

The difficulty isn’t distinctive to Muslims. Hollywood has lengthy confronted criticism for its abysmal monitor report on range and the dearth 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 information 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 information from the brand new report and begin an overdue dialog in regards to the lack of Muslim illustration within the business.

“We wanted to use Emmy Award season to have folks consider something else, which is that the quantity and quality of characters on screen has a huge impact on the daily lived experiences of Muslims around the globe,” stated Arij Mikati, the managing director of tradition change at Pillars.

However for many years, she stated, tv has not included the “beauty, joy, diversity, and richness of our communities and Muslim communities.”

“Representation for representation’s sake is certainly not our goal. The quality and content of characters on screen have a really massive impact on how people all around the world feel about Muslims and also how Muslims feel about themselves,” she added.

“Film can act as a way for audiences to identify with Muslims, and I really believe it’s an opportunity to create greater empathy for and less prejudice towards Muslims off-screen.”

Exhibits depicting Muslim lead characters with nuance are slowly changing into extra frequent.

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

In the meantime, Netflix’s “Mo” — based mostly 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 girls, premiered on Peacock.

“We know that people are hungry for those stories. They are unique and relatable, and we’re really excited to invite other Americans to learn more about our vibrant communities,” Mikati stated. “This is an opportunity for the industry to see the talent that has long existed in abundance.”