The Little Things was kind of forgettable overall. It kept me engaged, but I was underwhelmed by the “twist” and the ending didn’t pay off well. It seems that the director thinks the movie is more subversive than it actually is. At least the score by Thomas Newman and performances by Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto were great.

But I want to highlight on something in the film that might seem really trivial. There’s a weird dynamic going on here with regard to representation and it makes me question, do we want white-passing people of color to play…


Warning: Major SPOILERS ahead for The Rise of Skywalker.

In his acceptance speech for the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1991, George Lucas stated, “I’ve always tried to be aware of what I say in my films because all of us who make motion pictures are teachers. Teachers with very loud voices.”

This quote stayed with me ever since I heard it. As an independent filmmaker, it inspired me to focus on the types of stories I want to tell. As a professional counselor, it was easy to connect the quote to Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory and George…


This post was originally published in December 2011.

It seems impossible to talk about the events of Karbala without also acknowledging the spiritual diversity within Islam. Unfortunately, Orientalist discourse on the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims have produced many misconceptions and distortions about Islam. It is also disheartening when Muslims internalize these stereotypes and reproduce Orientalist narratives which create barriers towards intra-community dialogue, understanding, and respect. For instance, whenever discussions arise about “different sects” in Islam, it is often code for anything that is not Sunni. Sunni Islam, which represents the majority of Muslims worldwide, is not only the…


Another X-Men movie is out and, once again, it’s time to debunk problematic claims that Magneto is Malcolm X and Charles Xavier is Martin Luther King Jr. In an article about the X-Men film franchise in The Hollywood Reporter, Phil Pirrello described Ian McKellen’s Magneto as “taking a more Malcolm X approach” to the humans vs. mutants conflict “while Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier adopted a more MLK strategy.” …


Edward Said and Jack G. Shaheen did not do the work they did so that movies like Aladdin would still get made.

I say this as someone who has had a complicated relationship with the 1992 Aladdin animated feature. I loved it when I was a kid. For a long time, it was my favorite Disney cartoon. I remember proudly telling white friends and classmates in third grade that Aladdin was “about my people.” Although nothing is said in the movie about Aladdin’s religion, I read him as Muslim.

When I grew older, I read Jack G. Shaheen’s book, Reel…


Warning: Spoilers below for Supergirl seasons 1–4, including the Elseworlds crossover episodes!

If you had asked me who my favorite superhero was three years ago, I would have answered without hesitation, “Superman.” When people complained that the man of steel is “too overpowered,” I would encourage them to look beyond his superpowers if they truly wanted to appreciate him. Integral to his story is an immigrant narrative about belonging and identity. To me, Superman had potential to be radically reimagined as a character who stood against oppression and injustice, no matter who perpetrated it. It seemed possible to imagine an…


As you may have guessed, I’m very behind on the CW DC TV shows (aka the “Arrowverse”). I admittedly stopped watching Arrow after season 3 (more on that later), but continued to watch The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. As excited as I was to hear about a Muslim American superhero character being introduced on the show, the past year was quite busy for me (in a good way) and I got behind on my favorite shows!

I’m currently watching season 3 of Supergirl, season 4 of The Flash, and season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow. Last night, I…


Major spoilers ahead for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Do not read any further if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to be spoiled!

My first exposure to Star Wars was the famous speeder bike scene in Return of the Jedi. My dad was installing a new surround sound system and needed a movie to test it with. As my dad played around with the sound settings, my brother and I were in the room watching — and listening — in awe as the hover bikes zoomed through the Forest Moon of Endor. I didn’t know the…


I remember when I was interning at a mental health counseling agency during my undergrad years, an experienced counselor and I were having a friendly conversation about my career goals in the field. Upon realizing that we had not formally introduced ourselves, he simply asked, “What’s your name?”

It’s an innocent question that shouldn’t cause anxiety for most people, right? But throughout my life, telling people my Pakistani name has led to numerous experiences with racism, microaggressions, and conflict. In grade school, teachers would struggle with my name during roll call and many of my classmates would laugh at my…


Image description: A white poster board with black text reading: “Solidarity Forever.” A red heart shape is drawn in place of the ‘o’ in “solidarity.”

Although I’m a mental health counselor, I’m often hesitant about writing articles that come off as “how-to” posts. It would be unethical and presumptuous for me to assert that there is a simple formula for dealing with racism or helping a friend through it. By no means is this post a“universal” framework that neatly applies to everyone. There are no easy solutions to dealing with racism and not every strategy is going to work for each person. As intersectionality reminds us, our experiences with oppression are not exclusively determined by a single aspect of our social identity, but rather by…

جہانزیب

Pakistani, Muslim, counselor, independent filmmaker, Star Wars geek, prequelist.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store