Über Desi

Keeping it real, desi ishtyle

That’s racist

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Ashton Kutcher’s popchips ad is racist, plain and simple. I’m not sure how else I would classify a white actor in brown face mocking Indian accents. That most white people, black people and other races are not offended by it, while sad, is understandable. Other people of Indian descent may not be offended by it and that’s their personal choice.

It’s *NOT* about the fact that no one would dare don a blackface today. (If you said Robert Downey Jr, please take your discussions to this forum – link via @sepiamutiny). In 2012, to don brownface and mock a foreign accent is just plain unacceptable.

As an Indian man with brown skin and an Indian accent, who gets ribbed on it every now and then, it does sting a little to view these mock portrayals on TV. I don’t have a choice on how I look or talk, Ashton does when he signs up for these ad campaigns.

Re-purposing an immortal quote from a great leader, I have a dream that my yet-to-be-conceived children will one day live in a nation where they will not be mocked for the color of their skin or the accents of their parents.

Also read MetroPCS’ unfunny commercials

Also, feel free to tweet Ashton Kutcher @aplusk and tell him what you think about this topic.

Desis in liquor ads – Part 2- Grin and Beer it

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In a continuation of our series of liquor ads that feature desis (See the last one here) , UD presents the Carlos Menica Superbowl ad that debuted last Superbowl. Reminiscent of the old “Mind your language” British series (Remade badly in Hindi as Zabaan Sambhal ke) , the ad features Mencia teaching an English as second language class to an assorted bunch of guys. I found this ad funny even though it relies on the tired device of supposedly “funny ” accents. The ad ends with a desi looking character who just can’t say “Bud lite” !( Other versions of this ad show him getting the girl so it can’t be all bad !!)

Desis in Kenya feel the effects of violence

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People of Indian origin living in Kenya, mostly Gujaratis, are feeling the effects of the ethnic violence sweeping the nation after last week’s election results were announced, but are largely safe. [link]

Kenyan Desis

People of Indian origin hard hit by riots in Kenya
img: via CNN-IBN

The violence in Kenya seems to read like it was right out of an Indian newspaper. Supporters of the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, are upset over the victory of President, Mwai Kibaki, because they believe he was cheated of victory and have gone on a rioting spree. It should be pointed that the two opponents represent different ethnic groups. Kenya has a sizable minority ethnic Indian population (unrelated to the above mentioned ethnic groups), largely Gujaratis, who have been caught in the crossfire.

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Malaysia accuses agitating Indians with LTTE links

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This tactic is a tried and tested technique and has worked well in certain Western nations.
1. Arrest individuals of ethnic minorities
2. Nations or groups related to #1 protest
3. To prevent a foreign relations disaster, pick out a world renowned terrorist group
4. Accuse #1 of having links with #3
5. #2 backs off.

Malaysia has now played that card well and India has backed off. [link]
Could these charges be true? Certainly within the realm of possiblity. The timing and accusations seems too convenient though.

Thoughts? Opinion?

Malaysian Macaca Mutiny

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More developments in the ongoing saga of ethnic minority [ÜD post] Indians versus the Malaysian authorities. Peaceful demonstrators are herded into a temple compound and bombarded with teargas and water cannons [link via]. The irony of it all – people of Indian origin living abroad protest peacefully when they gather in mobs (gandhigiri), while mobs in India – the less said about them the better (gandoogiri, I prefer to call it).

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