Multi-faceted representation of Muslims in “Ramy”

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Lucman, Omar
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Research on the representation of Muslims in the media has predominantly focused on stereotypes that misrepresent Muslims. Sutkutė’s (2020) analysis on “The Kite Runner,” and Morey and Yaqin’s (2011) analysis on “Yasmin” both conclude that these narratives affirm the dominant discourse that represents Muslims as primarily violent and oppressive. This thesis examines the presence of more multi-faceted representations of Muslims through a narrative and discourse analysis of the Hulu series, “Ramy.” Critical race theory is used to deconstruct the presence of racism within the series. It is concluded that racism is only present here when the narrative wants to make a commentary on how Muslim characters are dealing with certain social issues. The dominant discourse of Muslims as terrorists is seldom present in the series and, when it is present, it is only there to be addressed with alternative discourses, such as outlining how damaging anti-Muslim coverage on the news is to Muslim communities. While the series does not promote the representation of Muslims as violent, it also does not promote Muslims as “perfect.” Rather, we get a nuanced representation that humanizes Muslims, illustrating their mistakes and their aspirations to be pious. There have been representations of Muslims in film and television that do not solely conform to negative stereotypes, but “Ramy” is unique in that it does not put the characters’ Muslim identity in the background. Islam is a moral anchor for all Muslim characters featured in the series. The tensions between one’s Muslim and American identity is a central theme. “Ramy” does not attempt to encompass an overarching representation that applies to all Muslims. Instead, it primarily focuses on its nuanced character arcs. Such a specific character-focused narrative provides us with more depth and specificity than is often seen from Muslim characters on television. I conclude by arguing that this is a step in the right direction for the future of Muslim representation.
Muslim representation in entertainment media