#RumiWasn'tWhite

Wake up, Hollywood. I'm so sick of this bullsh*t.
  1. If you had a good literature teacher in high school or college, or love literature or poetry, chances are you know who Jalaluddin Rumi is.
  2. If you were in my high school lit class, or my college lit classes, or my college Islam class, or my college Persian studies class, chances are you love Rumi.
  3. If you have no idea who the hell Rumi is, please crawl out from the rock you live under and tab over to your web browser and read about him on Wikipedia.
  4. You might also stumble across other important names like Shams Tabrizi, or Hafiz, or Allama Iqbal.
  5. These men were not only considered great during their time, they have come to hold such an important status among Persians, Sufis, Muslims, Pakistanis, and so many other groups that their works are often recited at family gatherings, parties, weddings, and funerals.
  6. Their works speak of a divine love in such a beautiful and romantic way that one could argue no one else has even come close to producing such beautiful poetry about the intense personal relationship one can have with God.
    Basically, Sufism.
  7. Simply put, they are revered as the closest things to Gods amongst men by many who understand their work.
  8. And Hollywood seems to not understand this as it pertains to Rumi, Shams Tabrizi, or countless other POC.
  9. How? Because Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Downey, Jr. are seen as ideal actors to play Rumi and Tabrizi in a film by screenwriter David Franzoni.
  10. This is Rumi.
    He was Persian.
  11. This is Leonardo DiCaprio.
    He's white.
  12. This is Tabrizi.
    He was Persian.
  13. This is Robert Downey, Jr.
    He's white.
  14. I look back on older films and, sure, you can argue, we were ignorant when "The Ten Commandments," "Cleopatra," and "Lawrence of Arabia" were released.
  15. But it's 2016, y'all.
  16. And Emma Stone played a woman of partial East Asian descent in "Aloha" last year.
  17. And we are talking about using two white guys to make money on a film about two of the most important Persian cultural icons and Sufi Muslim poets in history.
  18. I worry about how my ethnically half-South/Central Asian, half white son will view himself and how his confidence will be affected when he is constantly bombarded by the message that he is not even worthy of publicly representing himself or others that look like him.
  19. Can we not keep doing things that are reminiscent of whites wearing blackface?
  20. Can we stop with the cultural appropriation for greed and profit?
  21. Can we stop whitewashing show biz and give others a chance?
  22. Can we stop with the subversive, "If it ain't white, it ain't right" rhetoric?
  23. Can we stop shaming minorities and people of color for their ethnicity, while using them and their culture when it's convenient?
  24. Rumi wasn't white.