“Homeland” Is Racist, Just Read The Writing On The Wall

“Homeland” showrunner Alex Gansa learned a few important lessons this week when some subversive street art made it on this week’s episode. The most obvious of these lessons is to never trust a graffiti artist, but the more important one is to take accusations of racism more seriously unless you want to be embarrassed.

As entertaining as “Homeland” can be (cue Carrie cry-face), over the past four-plus seasons it has also become the weird uncle of premium cable shows — it’s used to being called racist and it doesn’t really care. Last season, Pakistan officials openly criticized the portrayal of their government, and in 2012, Lebanese Tourism Minister Faddy Abboud threatened to sue over how Beirut was depicted on season two of the series.

For the first time on Sunday, it was the show’s own set that called out its racism. The show’s set designers had hired Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Stone, a trio known as Arabian Street Artists, to do some graffiti on the walls for a particular outdoor scene, probably to add grit and authenticity or something. Amin, Kapp and Stone were instructed to be apolitical with their graffiti – but to an artist that’s basically a dare. The result was background graffiti that read, amongst others, “Homeland is racist” in Arabic. Other messages included “Homeland is NOT a series,” “The situation is not to be trusted,” and “This show does not represent the views of the artists.” According to Arabian Street Artists, this was not a mistake or an impulsive decision, but rather the reason they took the gig in the first place.

“Given the series’ reputation we were not easily convinced, until we considered what a moment of intervention could relay about our own and many others’ political discontent with the series,” Arabian Street Artists said in a joint statement. “It was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself.”

Well played.