Ida Yalzadeh

Unpack Middle Eastern stereotypes in Hollywood.

The Southwest Asian/North African (SWANA) community is one example of a group that has faced harmful representations and stereotyping in Hollywood. A 2016 report uncovered many findings that support this fact, particularly on television. A majority of television characters from this region (67%) appear in crime or geopolitical dramas. Among those characters, 78% are “trained terrorist/agents/soldiers or tyrants,” which reinforces the stereotype that this group should be understood as a threat. On top of that, two-thirds of all television characters from the Middle East “speak with pronounced foreign accents,” solidifying the idea that those from the region will always be “foreigners” in the United States (MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition). In other words, these findings illustrate how Hollywood co-signs the belief that those in the SWANA community do not and cannot belong within the bounds of the nation.

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