The "R" word

little indiaThere’s something strange going on with the portrayal of Indians in American media.

First there was the crazy Metro PCS ad, featuring “Ranjit” and “Chad,” two buffoonish characters who evoke the most ridiculous desi stereotypes you can think of.

I laughed that one off.

Then there was the AP article that wondered of politicians like Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal were disowning their heritage by anglicizing their names and changing their religions.

I didn’t think it was a big deal.

Now comes an offensive article by Joel Stein in Time magazine about the changing face of Edison NJ. An excerpt – townsfolk started calling the new Edisonians “dot heads.” One kid I knew in high school drove down an Indian-dense street yelling for its residents to “go home to India.” In retrospect, I question just how good our schools were if “dot heads” was the best racist insult we could come up with for a group of people whose gods have multiple arms and an elephant nose.

I’d like to vent my spleen on the author, but I’m just going to link to Sandip Roy’s excellent piece in the new America Media’s Ethnoblog entitled “Joel Stein and the Curry Problem.”

..this American anxiety about its browning will not change. A recent study said white birthrates in California were declining faster than expected. Expect the backlash to rise. There’ll be no chai served at this Tea Party.

I’m not laughing anymore.

Now, that is not funny.

1 thought on “The "R" word

  1. Geeta Padmanabhan

    No, it is not funny at all. And I can’t help thinking, doesn’t it parallel with what the Jews felt in Europe once?



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