Mindy Kaling isn’t Responsible for Being Your Diversity Councillor
This discussion does not apply if you have not seen The Mindy Project. The discomfort that I felt therein but convinced myself that at least it is helmed by Mindy Kaling, smart as woman.
The same sort of discussion one can have about the character of Rajesh Kuthrapalli in The Big Bang Theory. Does it make me uncomfortable that his Indianness can be the butt of jokes or that every character is given equal treatment in that sense. So if Sheldon’s social inadequacies are the source of much amusement, why not Raj’s inability to pick up women?
I know that it is a hard balancing act. Getting gigs to write, to produce, commercial considerations and being a person of colour who has fought and fought to even to be there. Diversity? Representation? Or keeping the job and getting more?
When I produced for Radio New Zealand I had to be very mindful of not making all my work about ‘ethnics’ but all New Zealanders. That I am Indian and speak in a strange Indo-Kiwi-down-with-the-bros accent was enough ‘representation’. That I could do mainstream stories without anyone questioning their legitimacy AND could then go on to tell a story about Muslim women, which no one dare question. I was lucky.
But when it came to producing an independent gig it had to be about Asians. I mean, I could not do the blokey New Zealand humour and get funding could I? The trick then was to bring a huge dose of irreverence. (Hail Jon Stewart!) The Asian Radio Show was on air from 2008-2012. I was lucky.
So I feel for Mindy yet I know what the ladies are talking about in this post from Neelika Jayawardane. The thing for Mindy Lahiri now is to have a East Asian nerdy boyfriend and for him to dump her because she is too frivolous. Yeah even if she and Danny have kissed as we knew they would from the first episode.
Yoga? Heavyset and Black Women Need Not Apply
Yoga and the Western world. Yoga in the Western world. Yoga for the Western world. Yoga comes from the Western world. Know what I mean? These last two weeks there are has been an online storm about yoga and appropriation, especially by skinny white women. This post ‘It Happened To Me’ brings to the fore how removed yoga is from its Indian roots except for the use of Sanskrit words and concepts of mindfulness that suit the ideas of existence within these parameters only. Attend a yoga session with someone who cannot pronounce the Sanskrit words, who talks of being in the moment and does it all slowly and deliberately, and then you will know. It cracked me up. I really don’t need white people telling me about my culture and practices the same way I don’t need bearded patriarchal self-styled gurus turning yoga into a mystical art. To me, yoga is about self awareness and practicing it as a way of life. But when someone from a privileged existence turns it into a race issue and body issue, and hence political, that becomes a matter for discourse.
Neelika Jayawardane analyses it well in her post linked at the top of the page.
Now for an academic analysis.
From one of my favourite blogs Africa Is A Country.
Songs for, about and dedicated to Nelson Mandela. RIP. I am lucky that he was a living inspiration in my life and not a figure from the history books.
By Us I mean the ‘other coloured folk’, middle class migrants chasing the American (replace with any other Western country) dream. What does the shooting of and subsequent acquittal of the shooter, George Zimmerman, mean to us? Do we think that something like this will not happen to us because we are:
d-acquiesce with the dominant white folk
Just because we, the other coloureds, categorise ourselves more like the white but not those black/indigenous/dole bludgers blah and blah we continue to be an accessory to discrimination. Our rights did not happen automatically. Many Treyvons gave up their lives so we could be treated as ‘equals’ in this world. To forget that is to deny our skin colour and place on this earth. Because one day it might happen to us one day.
Many words have been written and said about the acquittal and many academic arguments had about race. This post encapsulates it perfectly.