I have grown up knowing that non-Indians have certain stereotypes for Indians. As a first generation child in the US, I’ve gotten the best of both worlds. I was thinking about some of the most common stereotypes and how some of them are actually true. However, it bothers me to know that some people think these stereotypes hold true for all Indians.
Many are taking stereotypes to their advantage in media. A few years ago, a low budget movie came out called American Desi. Desi is a slang word for being Indian. It is about American born Indian college students who have a rough time in college when they meet students actually from India. These American raised kids feel embarrassed to be Indian because of the stereotypes they have to face. They are cultured enough to know that they are Indian but don’t have any respect for their heritage. Some of these include Indian people majoring in engineering, science, or math because these three fields of study are the most common. Another time of feeling humiliated when seeing an Indian professor eat typical Indian food in the dining hall. This article summarizes the situation these students were in. After this movie, several others came out that similarly made the same point of how difficult it is to be cultured as an Indian and an American.
The Simpsons on Fox is probably the best example of how there is prejudice and stereotypes against Indians. This blog summed up a lot about Apu and his role on the show. Apu is stereotyped with a typical long South Indian last name that is too complicated to pronounce, owns a convenient store and repeatedly says “Thank You, come again!” Stereotypes are humorous like Apu but then again it is offensive for Indians because people begin to think that all Indians are like Apu and have tons of children and own convenient stores.
Common stereotypes that I’m familiar with are Indians being ridiculously smart and going to Ivy league schools, being computer nerds, smelling like curry, being cheap, owning franchises(Dunkin Donuts, 7-11s…etc), and having arranged marriages.
Are you from an ethnicity that also has many stereotypes? How do you feel?