Ra's al Ghul

My partner and I decided to watch a series on Netflix called the Arrow. It's about a superhero so it seemed like a light-hearted show to watch. The show portrays a rich young man who finds himself stuck on an island in the North China Sea for five years, then comes back to his city as a vigilante. I thought it was a fun show, for the most part. 

Sadly, the group who leads most of the trouble in the city is an Arab organization. There's even a scene where an Arab woman arrives to the U.S. through the airport and kills the customs agent who questions her. The leader of this organization is Ra's al Ghul, a common supervillain character, whose name translates to Demon's Head in Arabic. 

So many movies and shows have been complicit in contributing to the point we're now at in the Western view of the Arab - the narrative of fearing the other, stereotyping them without knowing them. Fictional programs use Arabic language as a language of terrorism, killing, and blowing things up. No one has ever questioned what kind of message these shows carry about otherness. My hope is that we can begin to change this.


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