The first Arab-American Superhero


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The Independent Online

Time was when the go-to nationality for villains in US pop culture was British (see careers of Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Alan Rickman etc.), but since 9/11 Arabs, and Muslims in particular, have been bearing the brunt of the stereotype. Will the newest member of DC Comics' Green Lantern Corps change all that?

Like his creator Geoff Johns, Simon Baz has Lebanese roots and hails from Detroit. Unlike Johns, Baz takes to stealing cars when he's laid off from his engineering job. The character will also be used to show how post 9/11 Islamophobia has impacted ordinary Arab-American families.

DC's previous stabs at ethnic and cultural diversity haven't all gone swimmingly. In 1976, they introduced the first African-American addition to the Legion of Super-Heroes. Unfortunately, he was a borderline racist stereotype called Tyroc, whose ultimate fate was to found a segregationist island off the coast of Africa for black people. Hmmm...