Ask yourself these 5 questions when you see a Muslim character in a movie.
​Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images.

It's no secret that Hollywood has a diversity and representation problem.

For years, Hollywood has produced television shows and movies that often portray Muslims, South Asians, and Middle Eastern people with harmful stereotypes.

According to Jack Shaheen, a writer focusing on Arab representation in cinema, Muslim and Arab characters are often confined to three archetypes. He called them "the three B's": bombers, billionaires, and belly dancers. And sometimes, in addition to swinging their hips as belly dancers, some of the women are depicted as living under oppression in black abayas and burqas.


It's quite easy to find shows that fit the bill. The grand majority of Muslim characters in "Homeland" are either suicide bombers or Arab billionaires. Even in beloved children's movies, like "Aladdin," the characters are based in a "faraway place / Where the caravan camels roam / Where they cut off your ear / If they don't like your face / It's barbaric, but hey, it's home!"

But it's time to change the outdated and redundant negative typecasting of Muslim and Middle Eastern characters.

A new test has been introduced to measure how Muslims and Arabs are portrayed in television and film.

The Riz Test is a concept formed by a small group of film buffs that were inspired by a speech that Riz Ahmed, known for "The Night Of," made to the U.K. Parliament about the Bechdel test and media representation.

"We're passionate film buffs but we're tired of the same old stereotypes and tropes being perpetuated in Films and TV shows," the group wrote in a tweet.

Like the Bechdel test, which measures how women are portrayed in fiction, The Riz Test has a quite simple criteria.

The Riz Test asks the viewer to consider five questions if their film or show includes one identifiable Muslim character:

  1. Talking about, the victim of, or the perpetrator of Islamist terrorism?
  2. Presented as irrationally angry?
  3. Presented as superstitious, culturally backwards, or anti-modern?
  4. Presented as a threat to a Western way of life?
  5. If the character is male, is he presented as misogynistic? If female, is she presented as oppressed by her male counterparts?

There have been some great improvements in recent years. A few television shows have featured Muslim characters that don't fall into the traps of The Riz Test, such as "The Bold Type's" Adena El Amin character and "Queer Eye's" Tan France.

It's important now, more than ever, to include accurate representation and portrayal of Muslims and Arabs on the big screen.

Hollywood is often a reflection of the society that we live in, and sometimes, it serves as an introduction to the unknown.

In the United States in 2017, Muslims only made up 1.1% of the general population, and not a lot of Americans have ever befriended a Muslim in real life. This means that most of the understanding Americans have about Islam, Muslims, Arabs and their society often come from what they see on television, films, and the news cycle. And with 80% of the media coverage on Islam and Muslims being negative, it's no wonder there's still a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment and misunderstanding across the country.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

But accurate portrayals isn't just about improving the way Americans view Muslims; it's also about benefiting our society as a whole.

As Ahmed said in his Parliament speech, "If we fail to represent, I think we're in danger of losing out in three ways, the three E's: (1) We're going to lose people to extremism, (2) we're going to lose out on an expansive idea of who we are as individuals and as a community, and (3) we're going to really lose out on the economic benefits that proper representation can bring to our economy."

In other words, the time is now for Hollywood to generate diverse and accurate portrayals of Muslims and Arabs on the big screen.

You can watch Riz Ahmed's speech below:

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.