(CNN) -- Sacha Baron Cohen's new movie, "The Dictator," is a modern-day minstrel show judging from the trailer and Cohen's comments promoting the film while dressed as the film's star, "Gen. Shabazz Aladeen," the leader of a fictitious Arab country.
Cohen, who is not of Arab heritage, plays this Arab character while sporting a long fake beard and speaking in a strong Arabic accent, which would be fine, except the character is showcasing the worst stereotypes of Arabs.
For example, at a news conference in New York City this week promoting his film, Cohen exclaimed: "Welcome devils of the Zionist media and death to the West." He then joked about liking TV shows that showed Arab terrorists killing Americans and admiring fashion designer John Galliano for hating the Jews.
To me, this is essentially the same as white performers in blackface portraying black people in buffoonish negative stereotypes for the enjoyment of white America.
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