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Idol Chatter

Have you ever noticed how many South Asian doctors there are in the United States these days, but none on “Gray’s Anatomy”? So has Labid Aziz. The filmmaker and aspiring television producer, profiled in the Boston Globe yesterday, is hoping he and the growing numbers of South Asian Muslims in show business will change how television portrays them. Aziz sees hope in shows like the CW’s new show, “Aliens in America,” debuting this fall, about a Pakistani Muslim exchange student in small-town Wisconsin.
Television’s treatment of immigrant groups normally moves from egregious stereotypes to supporting roles, to granting them their own shows–the arc from “Chico and the Man” to “The George Lopez Show.” The events of 9/11 seems to have interrupted Muslims’ natural evolution. “Let’s stop portraying South Asians, Arabs, and Muslims as terrorists, as 7-Eleven owners, as cab drivers,” Aziz says in the Globe piece. “Let’s have characters who are real and who have depth.”
If shows like “Aliens in America” are successful, Aziz hopes, it will open the door for more Muslims like him to develop shows that portray their world more sympathetically and accurately. And that can only be good for all of us.

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