Sunday, March 20, 2016

Muslims Represented in YA Fiction


I can't quite remember a time when I didn't read. I progressed from Ladybird books to Enid Blyton to Nancy Drew to Jeffrey Archer to Jane Austen and then much later to Suzanne Collins. Despite devouring hundreds of book, I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen myself portrayed in these books

I identify as a South Asian Muslim. And the handful of books that have portrayed people of color? They have always gotten it wrong.

Misrepresentation is not just a problem relegated to literature. A study released by 416 Labs reveals that the New York Times portrays Islam/Muslims more negatively than alcohol, Democrat, cocaine and cancer (WAIT. WHATTTT?!!) among other benchmarked words. It's no secret that the media often favors sensationalism (who cares about facts and stats, amirite?!) over balanced coverage. But what's surprising is prominent 'feminists' like Tina Fey in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a movie that reinforces white superiority, erasure of Afghan women and the role of white saviors in 'rescuing oppressed Muslim women'. Not only are warped representations of Islam and muslims being propagated by media but now racist statements being tossed about in public by fear-mongering politicians. And it doesn't end there. We have Ayaan Hirsi Ali and other pseudo-experts on Islam who perpetuate offensive and untrue ideas about Muslims.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

#OwnVoices - Is it my story to tell?

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign initiated in 2014 has brought about a significant shift in publishing trends. This is wonderful.

Except, the stats suggest that things may not be wonderful as they appear to be.