In the U.S., Arabs and individuals of Middle-Eastern descent have often been ignored or stereotyped in films and mostly portrayed as terrorists.
A 2018 study by the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition found that there are only three actors of Middle Eastern North African descent who portray a complex character on American television—and of those three, only one speaks Arabic.
That one is Rami Malek in “Mr. Robot.” The show was actually created by another Egyptian American, Sam Esmail.
Malek has said that he struggled with castings in his early career and kept getting terrorist roles. He finally put his foot down and told his agents not to send him stereotyped roles.
People have taken those stereotypes and internalized them and politicians have made platforms and policy and garnered enthusiastic political support based on those stereotypes.
Now that screens control everything around us and movies/TV shows are readily available, it’s important that every ethnicity and religion is represented fairly.
Malek, who recently won an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in “Bohemian Rhapsody” took time to call out his faith in his acceptance speech and became the first Egyptian American to win the award in that category. His success will hopefully lead to more Middle Eastern representation in movies and television.