NPR logo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/15290058/15292415" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Aliens in America

Aliens in America

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/15290058/15292415" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The CW's new sitcom Aliens in America takes a crack at the heightened cultural tensions between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in America post-9/11. It's Borat, light. I find myself naturally and unapologetically laughing at the parodied stereotypes. And then the guilt sets in: why is this funny and what purpose does it serve? That's when I came across Eboo Patel's blog post "'Aliens in America' About All of Us" on his Washington Post blog The Faith Divide. He presents a complicated view of the cultural politics involved in the show, and sheds light on the notion of what's really "alien" in America. And I finally realized that what I'm laughing at is the inherent ridiculousness — nay, the inanity — of mistreating others simply because they're different. This is a show that pushes us to places that are uncomfortable, and sometimes that's precisely what's necessary in order to gain a modicum of self-awareness. Do you feel like an "alien" in your own neighborhood? What are the cultural divides you face? And how do you try to bridge the disconnect? Tell us your thoughts. And you can continue the conversation with Eboo and others on the Interfaith Youth Core blog.

NPR thanks our sponsors