E. Alex Jung Essays
January 12, 2015 12:35 PM   Subscribe

E. Alex Jung talks about Margaret Cho and Mindy Kaling and their respective television shows.
posted by josher71 (44 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
My first thought on the Mindy Kaling piece was that the Mindy Project does joke about the fact that Mindy is Indian-- her character makes self-deprecating jokes about it and her boyfriends on the show make subtly demeaning jokes about it. Pretty much in the vein of 30 Rock Tina Fey/Liz Lemon making fun of her state of being female (and white), and male characters making fun of her being female (and white). (Sample Mindy joke: Someone implies she's not skinny, to which she replies, "excuse me, I am a petite Asian woman!" Sample boyfriend demeaning Mindy for being Indian joke: "It's not Mindy's fault she's a sex maniac. It’s a cultural thing — the spices, the colors. Why do you think those gods have so many hands?”) It's not taken super seriously, though it's not a super serious show. Anyway, I admit that the show is very easy to "access" as a white person and it's not especially great that there aren't more non-white love interests on the show, and worthwhile to point out (though Mindy Kaling is obviously aware of this and also jokes about it). Since this is true of like 95% of shows however... I don't know if she has a special responsibility here.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:00 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also adding a disclaimer that I fricking love The Mindy Project, and also that I don't know how much harder it is to sell the idea of nonwhite love interests to a network when the main character is not only nonwhite but Indian and female. I've also read a lot of apologias recently about rappers like Kanye and Jay-Z rapping about dating white girls to show they've made it and how this is a meaningful (and fraught) statement in its own way so I'm sure Mindy's depiction of romance in her show is somewhere in the midst of this.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:04 PM on January 12, 2015


I really enjoy The Mindy Project while recognizing that it definitely has some issues, but I think I disagree with the idea implicit in the article that it's Mindy Kaling's job to address race more than she does. I mean, I get it and I see how it is disappointing that she doesn't, but it's impressive enough to me that she's created a popular show that a lot of people like and is out there being awesome and visible. Burdening her with all these additional expectations of dealing with race and gender seems kind of unfair; that's really not what the show is and it feels like it consigns people of color to doing only serious, incisive stuff, not the same fluff white people get to do.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:07 PM on January 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


My wife and I have watched the first two seasons of The Mindy Project and mostly enjoyed it, but there are some weird race and class undercurrents that surface every now and again (eg. numerous gleeful jokes about how little her character pays her staff while she lives in an apartment that seems pretty opulent even by the standards of Sitcom Fantasy NYC Apartments).
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:09 PM on January 12, 2015


The thing that keeps surprising me about the Mindy Project is that it's just so guy-heavy. We have her two male colleagues, then the male midwives, then the new male doctor, the male nurse -- her best friend has disappeared. We have added importance to Tamara's role and that new doctor who sent her on a fellowship, but it's still weirdly unbalanced. I know it isn't fair to expect her to discuss race and gender in a show where it doesn't fit, but if you compare it to casting in what are comparable recent smart sitcoms, it feels really throwback-y.

That said I pretty much binged the entire thing in a month, so I can't complain about the show.
posted by jeather at 1:14 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I read the piece regarding Mindy Kaling and I have seen quite a bit of the show. It seems to me that Kaling is saying, "I love romantic comedies, and I don't see why an Indian woman can't be the star of one. I write. I act. I am going to write a romantic comedy for myself."

What in the world is wrong with that? She is not holding her show up as anything other than a romantic comedy television show. If she were, we could take issue with it. It seems unfair to require every show created by or starring a minority to focus on the issues of race/gender/etc. That is not what this show is about. Now, if we find that every show on television that stars or is created by minorities does this same thing, then we have a problem. The problem then would be with the networks for obviously making a choice to only give shows to people who avoid social issues. If there is a problem with the networks regarding this issue, then make that point. Otherwise, leave Kaling alone.

On the other hand, the thing I find troubling about the show is that the Mindy character is pretty much stupid. She shows signs of intelligence when she is being a doctor, but other than that the character is just not intelligent. A comedy featuring a stupid doctor is perfectly okay, of course. It has been done countless times. If a doctor is going to not be very bright, then that character should be a supporting character. This show goes for drama and realism at times. Having the main character be a doctor who seems to lack intelligence undermines the credibility of those scenes. Also, she is in a profession that not only requires a great deal of intelligence, but also has been historically dominated by men. To have her be pretty much an airhead sort of sends the message, "Isn't it cute that girls want to dress up and play doctor, too?"

Of course, I often read too much into things.
posted by flarbuse at 1:16 PM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yes, yes,THIS! Berate the American racial female minority for not being this or that! Then tell what she should be doing and how to do it!

It short, the article is remarkably dour, short-sighted and boring.

Kahling makes a funny show. That's pretty much all she has to do if that's what she wants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:18 PM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Stuff like this:

At first, “The Mindy Project” appeared as though it would be a clever reworking of the genre, but after three and a half seasons, it’s clear that Kaling isn’t interested in subversion. She has reproduced the same story of romance that has already been told countless times — and just made herself the star.

I'm sort of uncomfortable with the idea that The Mindy Project NEEDS to be subversive, and I actually think that just taking a normal sitcom plot and making Mindy Kaling the star IS a bit subversive. She's not particularly trim but she talks a lot about how hot she is and everyone just sort of goes with it! For me, that's huge! Everything is really told from her point of view; people accept what she says and the world of the show only makes sense if you think it's filtered a bit by her perceptions. Like:

It’s aggressively naive to suggest that none of her tall white boyfriends has ever said that he has a proclivity for Indian women, clumsily attempted to prove his familiarity with Indian culture or dismissed her for her race.

I think it's possible the character of Mindy Lahiri just doesn't hear that so it doesn't make it into the show. Again, also, telling Mindy Kaling what she should really include about the dating experience of an Indian woman makes me kind of uncomfortable, and implying that her dating life can't possibly be legitimately represented without that kind of jerk is unfair too. Let the woman do what she wants! If she wants to create a world where men aren't jerky assholes about her race, I think that's okay. There's a difference between silencing others and giving yourself a break.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:19 PM on January 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Well, this always happens any time a member of an under-represented group goes big in popular culture: they're expected to be a kind of progressive flag-bearer for The Cause. You can't just make a show for yourself anymore unless you're a straight white dude.
posted by Noms_Tiem at 1:29 PM on January 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeah, this kind of criticism can develop its own undercurrent of objectification. It's half-baked Zhdanev.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:33 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I might be completely off-base on this, but I remember Cho as being very much a fixture of the gay scene of the time, and felt like pigeonholing her in a show about being Asian (to say nothing of a show that gets that single joke so very, very wrong) seemed like missing the point of where her popularity was coming from.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:33 PM on January 12, 2015


tall white boyfriends

A sign someone hasn't watched the show recently...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:48 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually think that just taking a normal sitcom plot and making Mindy Kaling the star IS a bit subversive. She's not particularly trim but she talks a lot about how hot she is and everyone just sort of goes with it! For me, that's huge! Everything is really told from her point of view; people accept what she says and the world of the show only makes sense if you think it's filtered a bit by her perceptions.

Agreed. In particular, one of the most subversive and awesome parts about Kaling's comedy is that she presents an image of herself that isn't perfect. I'm not just talking "not white passing" and "not pencil thin." I'm talking about where she shows us the character/her as shallow or materialistic or petty or "stupid" or "airheaded". And then she demands the audience love her character and follow her narrative, in much the same way that we'd love/forgive a character played by a white actress for being that way.

That's awesome. There are no words to describe how awesome that is as an (East) Asian lady who looks a lot more like Mindy than, say, either the traditional East Asian or American ideals of physical/moral beauty.

On the other hand, as an East Asian lady, I'm unwilling to give Mindy a total pass on the super-whiteness of her romantic partners and guy-centricness of the character development. Internalized racism and prioritizing-the-backstories-of-dudes-as-an-outgrowth-of-misogyny, y'know? And even if those elements of her show don't come from internalized racism and misogyny, it reinforces that narrative. If she really wants to work in a world where race isn't an issue 99.999% of the time, when she was single back in the day, where was the meet-cute with the black media professional who lives in her building, or the Korean-American professor at NYU she spills her coffee over?

You don't get both to pretend that the racism cake doesn't exist, and also eat it, too.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:56 PM on January 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Speaking of the absence of Mindy's parents from the show, here's a relevant article. Key excerpt:
Speaking at the New Yorker Festival on Saturday, showrunner and star Mindy Kaling said that one of the reasons why viewers have yet to meet her TV alter ego's parents is because she's had trouble finding someone that her late mother would have approved of to play her. [...]

Kaling's mother died in 2012, just months before The Mindy Project premiered.
Also, Mindy Kaling's mother was an obstetrician, like the character Mindy Lahiri.
posted by mhum at 2:07 PM on January 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


You don't get both to pretend that the racism cake doesn't exist, and also eat it, too.

I don't see why not, it's all just fiction and Kaling has clearly created an appealing show.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:29 PM on January 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


It’s aggressively naive to suggest that none of her tall white boyfriends has ever said that he has a proclivity for Indian women, clumsily attempted to prove his familiarity with Indian culture or dismissed her for her race.

I think it's entirely possible that none of them ever did that.

I don't really watch the show, beside the odd episode here or there, so maybe there's a reason *in the show* that this is hard to believe? But race relations with Indians are really diverse, particularly with American born ones, particularly in white collar or high SES environments.

I'm Indian. I've dated at least a few tall white guys, and been hit on by at least a few more. None of them ever did that shit. Does it happen in general? Of course. Does it always happen (or HAVE to happen)? No.
posted by synapse at 2:44 PM on January 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Mindy's depiction of romance in her show

Well, one important aspect of this is that the entire show so far has basically been a setup of the Mindy/Danny relationship. And Danny is white. I can see it being sort of interesting if, up to this point, her previous partners were some kind of rotating who's who of South Asian actors, and then BAM Staten Island Italian-American dude. (Though I think it would have painted Mindy Lahiri as a very different character than the way she's actually written on the show.) And I would have liked to see her date someone who isn't a white dude at some point.

But in order to get Mindy and Danny, and in order for it to seem natural and not some kind of culture shock story, yeah, you need Mindy to be the Mindy as written on the show in this universe. And that Mindy is someone who has dated white guys.

FWIW I really like the fact that the show is kind of OK with presenting her various white guy boyfriends as clueless about race and culture. I would really hate it if they were all portrayed as saints on white horses who 100% always understood everything and could never ever joke or say something awkward.
posted by Sara C. at 3:26 PM on January 12, 2015


Now, if we find that every show on television that stars or is created by minorities does this same thing, then we have a problem. The problem then would be with the networks for obviously making a choice to only give shows to people who avoid social issues. If there is a problem with the networks regarding this issue, then make that point. Otherwise, leave Kaling alone.

Actually, Jung does say in the Margaret Cho essay that there is a recent trend for roles taken by Asian-American actors to pretty much never mention or sidestep their race/heritage. He mentions Steven Yeun (Walking Dead), Azis Ansari (Parks & Rec), Lucy Liu (Elementary), Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy), and John Cho (Selfie). And he writes that it's good that Asian-American roles are growing, but:
"Arguments in favor of characters who “just happen” to be Asian American miss a finer point that, while being Asian American should not be any character’s only virtue, it’s still a part of her identity. Taking the “Asian” out of Asian American doesn’t make its characters more American, but less so."
posted by FJT at 4:19 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite Mindy the person bits is where she talks about turning down panel invites on race in media because she's all 'I'm running a show by myself and insanely busy' so she doesn't have the time you're be responsible for also being an activist on race in media. I love that she refuses to act or feel embarrassed for not being a super perfect role model, and deciding to be successful at what she wants and can do very well.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:58 PM on January 12, 2015


I like that she's intelligent but stupid. I myself am intelligent but stupid. I'm a Jeopardy champion with a master's degree, and I have been known to lose my keys such that it takes me ten minutes to find them in a medium-sized purse, and I love Beavis and Butt-head even if my mom considers them "beneath you."

That's complexity: being able to have a character that does or says stuff just because she feels like it.

That's what feminism gets you, what equality is: the ability NOT to have to be a role model all the time, but do something for shits and giggles without a giant outcry about whether you should or shouldn't do it.

Same for her relationship with Dr. Danny: it's full of the stupid minutiae of a real relationship, the small things that remind you why you wouldn't want to be with anyone else (and couldn't tell other people about, because they're just that doofy).

I really, really like this show.
posted by Madamina at 5:04 PM on January 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't usually watch sitcoms, but I'm a fan of Mindy because her TV character is so interesting. She's actually kind of evil, but in a nice way.
posted by ovvl at 9:19 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd love for the Mindy Show or Mindy Kaling herself to talk about CLASS but she (and Aziz Ansari, who is mentioned in the Cho article as one of those invisible Asian Americans) and, I am certain, Jung himself are so drowning in class privilege that they don't even see it and it never occurs to them that having a relatable lead who is a doctor- one who, in the US, earns, what, $300k per year, at least?- might merit some analysis just as much as race does, but they're rich Americans, and rich Americans are blind to class.

Also, note to Jung: Sandra Oh is Canadian.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:25 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the case of Tom Haverford, at least, his race does come up, just not all the time.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:32 AM on January 13, 2015


Isn't he Libyan?
posted by elsietheeel at 6:37 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


He's from South Carolina.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:43 AM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


But in order to get Mindy and Danny, and in order for it to seem natural and not some kind of culture shock story, yeah, you need Mindy to be the Mindy as written on the show in this universe. And that Mindy is someone who has dated white guys.

I don't understand what you're saying here. 'Cause it sounds like you believe that in order for fictional inter-racial couples to get together, they have to date out of their race first? That doesn't make sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:00 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


If Mindy had spent two seasons dating with the frequency she has dated on the show, except every one of those guys was Indian, and then suddenly she falls for Danny (who was already set up as her workplace nemesis), you'd run the risk of that relationship feeling unearned. Like she hates this guy, and he's clearly not at all her type, they have nothing in common, but she falls for him why?????

If Mindy's dating exploits were not really a feature of the show, and then the big story is that she falls for Danny, it would feel like something that needed to be explained in some way. Like, wait, suddenly this show about an important career lady in the big city is actually a romcom?

Personally, I'd have chosen a middle way, where Mindy dates people of a mix of races, including Danny. But if the writers decided that part of Mindy's character mostly is into white guys, that's 100% fine by me.

FWIW I'm almost certain that the real reason Mindy dates white guys on the show is casting. Super easy to book up and coming comedian guest stars as Mindy's Boyfriend Of The Week if Mindy Lahiri's type just happens to be guys who look like the standard issue comedian "type" (AKA shlubby white guys).
posted by Sara C. at 10:33 AM on January 13, 2015


I'd love for the Mindy Show or Mindy Kaling herself to talk about CLASS

Class does come up quite a bit on the show, imo -- Mindy (the character) is a pretty huge snob. Just like she's kinda racist.

As a viewer of the show, you can't not identify with and care about Mindy Lahiri, because she's the star! Enjoyment of the show is basically contingent on you being able to do that! Plus, Mindy Lahiri is also likeable in a lot of ways. (And she's a doctor! talk about a "catch").

But even while you're identifying with her/caring about her, it's hard to ~not see~ that she's kinda this vapid racist snob, too. I think that's the point.

I don't think Mindy Kaling means for the show to be completely comfortable to watch, or for Mindy Lahiri to be completely comfortable to like or identify with.
posted by rue72 at 1:45 PM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


If Mindy had spent two seasons dating with the frequency she has dated on the show, except every one of those guys was Indian, and then suddenly she falls for Danny (who was already set up as her workplace nemesis), you'd run the risk of that relationship feeling unearned. Like she hates this guy, and he's clearly not at all her type, they have nothing in common, but she falls for him why?????

For the usual reasons that one dates someone, because they like them? Hell, it's been shown that Mindy has a lot of hangups of her appearance, but then Danny took the time to compliment her on her size and everything and that clearly registered with her.

Plus, it's been pretty clear that those two were going to end up together at some point, so it's not surprising at all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on January 13, 2015


Based on these two essays, I am thoroughly unconvinced of E. Alex Jung's credibility in assessing Indian-American culture, especially first-(or second-)generation Indian-American culture, or his credentials in criticizing Mindy Kaling's depiction of an Indian-American woman. I don't like that show (though I've only seen the first few episodes, so maybe it improves as many sitcoms do), but, other than her having a far superior education and better, in the Austen sense, romantic prospects, everything he describes sounds more or less like my life as an Indian-American growing up in Massachusetts (54% white in Boston, 80% white in the state). If he wants to call that racially naive, that's his prerogative, but it sounds accurate as hell to me.

Whether or not E. Alex Jung is himself the child of immigrants, every Indian-American over 30 is. There aren't many third-generation Indian-Americans, and there's virtually no fourth generation. New York City and New Jersey are probably the only credible locations for anything resembling an Indiatown, and neither have much of one because Indians typically don't feel all that segregated from the English-speaking community, being only 70 years out from the end of the British Raj and with English proficiency a prerequisite for immigration. Indians are used to white people. In many, many ways, they're more familiar with white people than with black or Latino or Navajo people, and often they're more comfortable with white people than others as well. Given all that, a depiction of an Indian-American that is rooted in white assimilation is not merely authentic but entirely believable. I'd love to see someone celebrate Diwali on television also. His criticism that she should, or that she's betraying the truth when she doesn't, is bullshit.
posted by Errant at 2:17 PM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Honest, admittedly ignorant question for Errant and other Indian-Americans in this thread: do you and many other Indian-Americans celebrate Diwali, or is it kind of like Hanukkah in that it's generally around the same time as Christmas and kinda about lights so it gets lumped in as "the Hindu version" of Christmas?
posted by Madamina at 2:45 PM on January 13, 2015


I'd love to see someone celebrate Diwali on television also.

Mindy Kaling did this on The Office, at least. I can't speak to the authenticity, but seeing as she was one of the writers, I'm guessing "pretty authentic."
posted by Navelgazer at 2:57 PM on January 13, 2015


For the usual reasons that one dates someone, because they like them?

Have you ever actually seen the show?

Because for most of the first two seasons, Mindy and Danny don't like each other. They hate each other.
posted by Sara C. at 3:34 PM on January 13, 2015


Because for most of the first two seasons, Mindy and Danny don't like each other. They hate each other.

But the kind of hate that, as you watch the very first episode, you know they are going to get together.
posted by jeather at 3:50 PM on January 13, 2015


In many, many ways, they're more familiar with white people than with black or Latino or Navajo people, and often they're more comfortable with white people than others as well. Given all that, a depiction of an Indian-American that is rooted in white assimilation is not merely authentic but entirely believable. I'd love to see someone celebrate Diwali on television also. His criticism that she should, or that she's betraying the truth when she doesn't, is bullshit.

E. Alex Jung's essays are not really questioning the authenticity of an Indian-American person being around white people all the time. He only mentions authenticity once, and it's more about how Mindy's boyfriends would act around her. Rather he points out the interacting with white people aspect to relate to his bigger point about "assimilation". Jung mentions the word in both essays and he seems to interpret the word essentially as a non-white person being white. He even says, "The Mindy Project is an assimilationist project: Its goal is to place a woman of color in the position of a white man, of making her like him." Jung basically thinks that by having a non-white person protagonist in a show with predominantly white supporting cast and by not regularly depicting other people of color (like her family or other people) on the show, the show seems to say that being successful means being or acting white. And also depicting everyone on the show as a white collar professional probably doesn't help either.

So, I'd guess for E. Alex Jung it is a problem when minorities are more "comfortable around white people" as opposed to other races. I don't think he's saying it's inauthentic or not accurate, he seems to be critical of that reality. And I think in some ways this does happen, because I remember the kids in school throwing around little jabs of being a "banana" or a "coconut" or being "whitewashed".
posted by FJT at 4:26 PM on January 13, 2015


Have you ever actually seen the show?

Of course, it's brilliantly written, Kaling has a sharp wit. It was a bit malformed in the first season and I dropped out for a while but caught up eventually. It's the sort of show that I'll watch repeatedly, with the repeats being on in the background while I do something else. Sorta takes the place of music.

Because for most of the first two seasons, Mindy and Danny don't like each other. They hate each other.

Dudette, this such a tv/movie trope, the couple that fights all the time and "hates" each other eventually fall in love. That was blatantly obvious from day one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:36 PM on January 13, 2015


Seriously, rewatch the first episode again. There's clearly attraction between the two, with Danny being painted as this guy who sees through all of Mindy's bullshit and gives her a larger idea of what being in an adult relationship should be.

Also, it's clear from the first 2 minutes that Mindy is romcom watching, Meg Ryan worshipping woman who's repeatedly drawn to the hollywood fantasy relationship. Danny is a foil for that messed up image.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:10 PM on January 13, 2015


New York City and New Jersey are probably the only credible locations for anything resembling an Indiatown, and neither have much of one

It's hard to squeeze an entire continent in a small state, but I think New Jersey has done a pretty good job.

(I had to stop watching Mindy twice this season because her decisions were TOO dumb-sitcom-y for me to handle. I think she's better than that!)
posted by armacy at 6:39 PM on January 13, 2015


Madamina: I think it probably depends on how devoutly Hindu you are and/or how tied to the local Hindu community you are. When I was a kid, surrounded by other Indian families, Diwali was absolutely the biggest gathering of the year. Now that I'm largely on my own, I don't ever know it's Diwali unless/until someone wishes me a happy one. But my experience is that it's definitely still a big deal.

FJT: I certainly agree with your interpretation of his thesis. My experience has largely been learning how to assert my own Indian-ness amongst white people and others, how to integrate it into my whole life rather than being American over here and Indian over here. I guess I'm just less critical of the alternative, though. I've been called a fake Indian by India-born Indians enough times that I have no problem with an Indian-American pursuing a participation in stereotypical (read: white) culture. A lot of us feel like we have no country at all. Rather than seeing it as an attempt to erase her ethnicity, I see it as an act of defiance. She's decided she's going to be American, whether anyone likes it or not. I don't think it's an abrogation of her identity, but an assertion of it.
posted by Errant at 10:15 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


My wife and I have watched the first two seasons of The Mindy Project and mostly enjoyed it, but there are some weird race and class undercurrents that surface every now and again (eg. numerous gleeful jokes about how little her character pays her staff while she lives in an apartment that seems pretty opulent even by the standards of Sitcom Fantasy NYC Apartments).
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:09 PM on January 12 [+] [!]



So.... You guys all know that Mindy Kaling is a long-time committed Republican, right?
posted by Bwithh at 9:50 PM on January 14, 2015


In many, many ways, they're more familiar with white people than with black or Latino or Navajo people, and often they're more comfortable with white people than others as well

and I'd add other (e.g. E.) Asians to this too. The Asian-American identity construct is totally bogus
posted by Bwithh at 9:53 PM on January 14, 2015


Bwithh, Kaling has said that she's not a Republican. I think it's just a case of people getting the character Mindy (who definitely espouses many republican beliefs on the show, although I can't remember if she ever defines herself as one) mixed up with real-life Mindy. Although the actual Mindy is apparently pro-gun.
posted by mr. manager at 8:45 AM on January 15, 2015


Indians are used to white people. In many, many ways, they're more familiar with white people than with black or Latino or Navajo people, and often they're more comfortable with white people than others as well. Given all that, a depiction of an Indian-American that is rooted in white assimilation is not merely authentic but entirely believable.

100% agree (Indian American over 30 here). I identify pretty strongly with Mindies Lahiri and Kaling, not because I'm a romcom celebrity worshipper but her identification with her own culture isn't as strong as the stereotype nonIndians have believe it to be or want it to be, but that's not "wrong" and it doesn't mean she's ashamed of it or needs to portray it a certain way. I mean I've also only dated white guys. It's mostly just who's around, but I've been criticized for it by white people. I'm really, really happy that Mindy Kaling has a show on network television that seems to be as close to her vision for it as she can possibly get, and the fact that I identify with it is just icing on the cake.
posted by zutalors! at 8:54 AM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am fairly sure Mindy Lahiri doesn't vote.
posted by jeather at 9:04 AM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


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