Two films that have been at the forefront of spreading awareness of Indian Americans.
Facts about Indian Americans from Bollywood:
1/ We're all light-skinned Hindus. (Unless our name is Khan and we are not a terrorist; we're actually endorsers of bleaching cream.)
2/ We don't worry about college loans, making mortgage payments, or being able to afford rent and other basics, because we're rich. I'm talking condos overlooking Central Park, mansions in the suburbs, designer clothes, brand name fuel-inefficient cars, "let them eat kaju barfis!" rich. (Unless our name is Khan and we are not a terrorist; we're actually endorsers of bleaching cream.)
3/ We mostly speak Hindi, even to white people. When we speak English, it's usually with an Indian accent.
4/ Our workplaces and neighborhoods are made up of white people and the occasional desi. (Too many people of color - including desis - and it would be too ghetto.)
5/ We're either more Indian at heart than any of the 1.2 billion people currently living in India, and spend the majority of our screen time pining for our Motherland (sitting alone in swanky houses and yearning to feel the Ganges lapping at our legs, smell the incomparably fragrant desh ki mitti, ride in crowded buses and boats and rail cars, etcetc); or we've been corrupted by an amoral Western society. For women, this corruption usually manifests in: wearing revealing Western clothes and/or ignoring parental directives such as arranged marriages and/or staying out late at discos and/or having off-screen sex. For men, it is: alcoholism and/or wife-beating and/or sexual assaults and/or infidelity.
Facts about Indian Americans from Hollywood:
6/ We exist?
8/ Didn't he turn out to be a terrorist?
9/ Let's face it, when we're not blowing shit up, we're just too ethnic to get roles. Even when playing ourselves.
For further reading on Indian Americans: Bollywood Quiz: Guess The NRI Stereotype.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!