SEVERE WX : Dense Fog Advisory View Alerts

'Black Panther' inspires more than African Americans

The box-office success of "Black Panther" gives me hope that one day my minority group, Arab Americans and Muslims, w...

Posted: Feb 19, 2018 7:03 AM
Updated: Feb 19, 2018 7:03 AM

The box-office success of "Black Panther" gives me hope that one day my minority group, Arab Americans and Muslims, will see a superhero from our community on the big screen.

Maybe there will be a future superhero named "Muslim Man" or "Super Samira"? Or, just to scare the bigots, wouldn't it be fun to see "Sharia Man," whose power is flying around America taking pork bacon from people's plates and replacing it with turkey bacon?

Regardless, the popularity of "Black Panther," which took in $192 million in North American theaters its opening weekend, lets me -- and people of other minority groups -- dream of one day seeing our own superheroes. After all, Hollywood is a business. And when entertainment executives see that something works as stunningly as "Black Panther" has, some will likely start thinking about who the next minority superhero could be.

My excitement about "Black Panther" potentially helping other minority groups is not intended to take away from the significance this film holds for so many African Americans. As I learned in discussions with both racial-justice activists and listeners on my SiriusXM radio show, this film represents a milestone for their community.

More specifically, I could hear the emotion in the voices of African-American listeners who spoke of growing up and seeing black people almost always depicted as criminals and drug addicts in film. Now, finally they have a superhero they can look up to and identify with. It's taken too long for Hollywood to get behind a major superhero movie which features black actors on screen and black creatives behind the screen.

Many of my listeners were also quick to point out the Black Panther, played by actor Chadwick Boseman, hails from an African nation that's depicted as both wealthy and technologically advanced. To many, this was the perfect response to Donald Trump reportedly calling Africa a "shithole" (a comment he has since denied making).

I look forward to the day when my community can be this excited to see a movie that showcases one of us as a superhero. What a contrast it would be to how cruelly Hollywood has depicted Muslims and Arabs in both TV and films for decades.

As the late scholar Jack Shaheen documented in his seminal book, "Reel Bad Arabs," between the mid-1970s and 2001 there were more than 300 films that portrayed Arabs in a negative light.

In other words, we have been treated to film after film in which Arabs and Muslims are depicted as terrorists, evil villains, sinister billionaires and, of course, silenced women. Think about how such images would impact your sense of self-worth.

And, worse, think about how that makes your fellow Americans see you and your community.

Some white people, as I have heard firsthand, simply don't get why positive minority representation in entertainment is vitally important to my community. That's because they've grown up constantly seeing people who look like them -- be it Superman or Wonder Woman or Batman -- saving the day. We, as a society, are taught from a young age that the hero is white and the person of color is bad -- or, at best, a victim to be saved by the hero.

Let me be brutally honest: If you are a minority, it's challenging to not be angry with Hollywood for the irresponsibly negative ways it has depicted blacks, Latinos, Muslims, Arabs and other minority groups -- all in the pursuit of making millions, if not billions, of dollars.

Don't get me wrong: I understand that Hollywood is not a charity. Nor are executives of big media conglomerates motivated by making sure minorities are depicted in a positive light. Their job is to make movies and television shows that sell.

But that's exactly why I'm hoping that "Black Panther" breaks box-office records. In turn, that means we will see black superheroes in countless movies and TV shows going forward. And here's hoping "Black Panther's" popularity translates into other minority groups getting a chance to see someone who looks like them save the world.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
Clatsop6695
Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
Fresno79950932
Alameda65679757
Ventura59061412
San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Medford
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 47°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 38°
Medford
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 38°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 30°
Mostly cloudy Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Astronomers discover "Super Earth"

Image

Super Planet discovered in Milkway Galaxy

Image

OREGON REPORTS LARGE AMOUNT OF NEW CASES 1/16/21

Image

Oregon reports 41 new deaths, 1,173 cases, only 1 death away from 1,800 deaths

Image

5 SHOW

Image

GOV BROWN UPSET CLIP

Image

Saturday, January 16 evening weather

Image

MIDDAY 12/24/20

Image

Day After Capitol Riots

Image

Saturday, January 16 morning weather