This week we are talking representation of Brown people (specifically Indians) in Hollywood. This will be a two part episode. In Part I, We travel the gamut from personal slights, how many characters it takes to represent us, what representations of Indians offend us, and how some companies still see diversity as bad for earnings.
You can listen to the episode here:
Also some show notes so you can follow along with us if you are unfamiliar with the topics:
We start with a crime against Indian Women’s Fashion everywhere:
The passage from Goblet of Fire (Chapter 23: The Yule Ball, pg 412 ) that describes the twins’ outfits :
“Parvati was waiting for Harry at the foot of the stairs. She looked very pretty indeed, in robes of shocking pink, with her long dark plait braided with gold and gold bracelets glimmering at her wrists.”
“‘Hi,’ said Padma, who was looking just as pretty as Parvati in robes of bright turquoise.”
Just for comparisons sake check out how Indian women normally show out:
We. Don’t. Play.
We then turned to representations that leave a sour taste in our mouth (and childhoods) featuring:
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
A note about Ahimsa can be found here:
Ahimsa or non-injury, of course, implies non-killing. But, non-injury is not merely non-killing. In its comprehensive meaning, Ahimsa or non-injury means entire abstinence from causing any pain or harm whatsoever to any living creature, either by thought, word, or deed. Non-injury requires a harmless mind, mouth, and hand.
Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injury. It is positive, cosmic love. It is the development of a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love. Ahimsa is true sacrifice. Ahimsa is forgiveness. Ahimsa is Sakti (power). Ahimsa is true strength.
We talk about name changes and “color-blind” casting with Iqbal Theba (Principal Figgins on Glee), Kal Penn (Seth Wright in Designated Survivor), and Aziz Ansari (Tom Haverford in Parks and Rec).
Fisher Stevens playing and Indian
And the characters we see ourselves as
Puja: Mindy Lahiri, Kelly Kapoor, Olivia Pope
Miranda: Christina Yang, Blossom, Lisa Simpson
Anju: Joey Potter, Daria, and every snarky best friend/sidekick
Puja throws some love to The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl, Issa Rae’s first web series, you can still catch them on YouTube.
We also talk about creating our own content for our communities like with artists such as Lily Singh, Jus Reign, and @Super_rass
We talk about interracial dating and how most iterations are always a minority paired with a white person (except for Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala) and the dating and traditional lifestyle representations from Bend it Like Beckham
And finally, we close part 1 talking about Miss Marvel and the recent comments from Marvel VP of Sales , David Gabriel:
“What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales.”
But check out two titles that are doing diverse story telling right, and help their sales a little (eye-roll):
Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates and the World Of Wakanda (pre-quel) by Roxanne Gay
Miss Marvel written by G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona
We will drop part 2 of this discussion later in the week!