Two things got me thinking the last couple of days. Incident 1 involved Joe Biden, a Democrat from Delaware ( and a presidential hopeful) talking about Barack Obama to the New York Observer – “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
The second incident involved students at Tarleton State University in Texas organizing a party on MLK day – it involved students wearing faux gang apparel, drinking malt liquor and eating fried chicken. Atleast one white student was seen painted in black.
So brought me to thinking about stereotyping. Its not just that the minority is stereotyped. After all, if anyone remember the movie “Big Fat Greek Wedding” – I remember a dialogue in it – about how all Irish-American white folks were categorized as “dried toast” – a reference to how most Irish American are perceived as somehow de-sensitized, logical and people without passion. It was hilarious but revealing.
So in the face of all the controversy these incidents have generated, I think its important to realize that its only natural to stereotype based on what we are all exposed to day in and day out. After all, as a desi, I always see desis being stereotyped as nerdy, socially inept technologists. No hard feelings. Most of us are like that.
So as long as the stereotype is really about how most of us are like – I dont see any reason for anyone to get offended. If we do take offence in someone acting like what afterall, is our predominant trait – maybe then something is wrong in our own perception of the pre-dominant trait.
Anyways, I am happy being stereotyped as a socially inept, curry-eating technologist. My retort would be – better curry than a cold turkey sandwich.