Dominic Cooper is playing Uday Hussein, the son of Saddam Hussein in Lee Tamahori’s The Devil’s Double. Cooper is also playing Latif Yahia, the man whose memoir the film is based on and who served as Uday Hussein’s double. So Cooper is playing not one, but two Arab men. Is he Arab? I could not find any evidence indicating that he is anything other than English. I guess there is a shortage of Arabs in the world, especially Iraqis, considering the US has been killing them since well, 1990ish.
The most recent episode of Nurse Jackie, “Play Me”, featured two minor characters: street vendors who had gotten into a fight over money. The two men yelled loudly at each other, one with burns on his face and the other with a his fewer through his cheek. My sister and I realized we heard Farsi phrases and listened more intently. And then we heard it. Two languages. These men – and I cannot find them credited, so forgive my not giving their names – were yelling at each other in two different languages. We the viewer are then left to assume the men are Desi, as Sam (Arjun Gupta) communicates with them in their apparent one language. Way to go Showtime and Nurse Jackie producers. You managed to cast two Middle Eastern men, one Iranian and hey! I don’t even know where the other guy is from. But according to the IMdB credits of the show, one of the daughters is listed as “Armenian teen”. So is Sam Armenian? Does he know Armenian? Is this just another random Middle Eastern person who happened to be in the same episode because I am really not used to us getting so much screen time as a general region of people!
By having men of two different ethnicities, speaking two different languages, play characters who are in communication this show is just perpetuating stereotypes that we are all the same. Even if just us Middle Easterners pick up on this serious mistake, that doesn’t matter. It’s old. It’s tired. Next time get Jake Gyllenhaal in there. He plays Iranians like nobody else. And at least he’s hot. Right.
Way to be racist.
with warm regards and khafeh nashid Inshallah,