The American television network channel NBC just started airing a television sitcom called Outsourced about a couple of Americans who move to India to run a call-center full of Indians selling novelty items to clients back home in America. I’ve watched the pilot episode and a few others since then.
As you know, I’m a desi. And from my perspective I’ve thought for while about writing a review about the sitcom. But I’d like to perform a simple experiment instead. Read the following sentences on racial and cultural stereotypes and think about them.
Indians don’t have any food. They are dirty. They defecate on the street.
Americans are unemployable. They are materialistic. They deal drugs on the street.
Some Indians and Americans certainly do fit these stereotypes. But definitely not all of them.
So do any of these stereotypes offend you? Are you indifferent to them? Do you just laugh off as ignorant nonsense?
Now look at the cartoon below which I created. You might find it funny as an Indian or as an American. Or as an Indian or as an American you might find it deeply offensive.
I do not know where you’re coming from. Perhaps, your job got shipped to India. Perhaps, you felt insulted when someone treated you differently because of the color of your skin. I am not saying it doesn’t happen. And I can definitely try to empathize with you either way regardless of your nationality or ethnicity.
I also understand your viewpoint if you laugh at others. I admire you if you can laugh at yourself.
But keep repeating the stereotypes you find funny now over and over again. Don’t you find them kind of annoying now? Like uninspired stupor masquerading as humorous banter?
That is my problem with Outsourced.
© Text, 2010-2012, Anirban