For the past week, the Indian community in the US has been enraged by Joel Stein's article in TIME - My Own Private India.
Many, including Kal Penn, have penned their responses. Being brown and a "passive activist", I decided to join the others and also write a response. The best way to counter attack satire is by satire…so forgive my first and amateurish attempt.
An open letter to Joel Stein.
Dear Joel Stein,
After reading your apology appended at the end of your article, I understand the point of your article better. As an Indian immigrant, I can relate to you in many ways. I too feel "uncomfortable" when I shell out $20 for a yoga class being taught by a white person, especially b'coz I didn't think it was cool to do yoga when my granddad offered to teach me back in the eighties in India. And its the same feeling I get when I walk into a Starbucks and see "Chai Tea Latte" on the menu. I feel like yelling at the pierced-and-tattooed baristas "Go back to…err…" college? Yup, I feel the same about my culture, as you feel about your hometown being invaded by foreigners.
I am not sure how and when my culture became so cool that its been adopted my hipsters along the coasts (seriously, can they be more creative than getting a tattoo of the Sanskrit word "OM" ). Its probably b'coz the doctors and engineers and then the not-so-smart cousins that followed, couldn't come up with offensive enough racial slurs or acts of violence (why, Gandhi, why the non-violence?) to scare white Americans from visiting the Indian strip malls, restaurants or even India. By proudly displaying our multiple headed gods, showing our movies overrun by song and dance sequences, feeding others our spicy food and following a path of non-violence, we have failed to assimilate into the American culture you so fondly remember from your childhood.
Instead we should have been teaching white kids how to do petty crimes. Our bad.
P.S.You may also want to read response by Sandip Roy. Now, that's funny.