Homeland Gets Called Out For Being Islamophobic
Do you think these graffiti artists went too far? Or did they prove the point?
Season 5 of Showtime’s massively successful drama Homeland kicked off earlier this month and fans have been tuned in en masse to find out how Clare Danes’ Carrie Mathison is adjusting to life outside the CIA.
The political thriller follows the fortunes of several US government security operatives as they deal with the fallout in the Middle East since the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
So where did the problem stem from?
In recent decades, the Western entertainment business has tended to portray their typical bad guys as whichever enemy has been that particular flavor of the month. You’ve got to love the endless conveyor belt of generic Russian bad guys in films during the 80’s and 90’s during the height of tension with the Soviet Union.
Well, over the last decade and a half, it’s been no surprise to see the antagonist become a cliché Arab terrorist, and Homeland certainly falls into this category. Unsurprisingly, this does not sit well with the Muslim community around the world who can justifiably take issue with being constantly negatively portrayed in the media.
They wanted to prove a point
This prompted street artist Caram Kapp, who was hired by the show to decorate is Syrian refugee camp sets with Arabic graffiti, to cover the place in slogans such as ‘Homeland is racist’. Amazingly, the content of the graffiti fell through the cracks of showrunner scrutiny and made it into the final edit. Kapp says that his team took this approach as they disagreed with what they see as a reductionist portrayal of Arabs and other minorities in the show – “this was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself”.
So What Happened?
The ensuing bombshell went viral online and, if nothing else, has shone the spotlight on how Muslims are portrayed in the media, and given people pause to stop and think about how easy it can be to pigeon hole other cultures into a broad stereotype.
So what do you think about it? Was Kapp right
to make this point, and will it make a difference in how Arabs are portrayed in
Western entertainment? Or will it just make producers of shows like this more
thorough when trying to appear ‘authentic’?