Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Connections: Discussing "The United States of Al" and representation on television


A new CBS sitcom called “The United States of Al” tells the story of an Afghan interpreter who is reunited with a Marine veteran in the U.S. after escaping the Taliban. It’s a familiar story – and an often long and painful process – for interpreters who come to America on Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) after serving with the U.S. military. Even before it aired, the show’s premise was under fire. Some critics called it racist and a “brown savior project.” Writer and executive producer Reza Aslan responded, “As Brown people in this country, we know better than most, the sensitivity that a lot of people have about the way that Hollywood has represented them….The dream for us has always been to get a Muslim protagonist on network television, someone who could really reframe the perceptions of so many Americans about Muslims or people from this broad region.”

Local SIVs and veterans have watched the show. They join us this hour to discuss its premise, representation on television, and more. Our guests:

Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.
Related Content