How does the media influence society? How do media representations of South Asians, as racial and ethnic minorities, perpetuate stereotypes about this group? How do advancements in visual media, from creative storytelling to streaming technology, inform changing dynamics of all non-white media representations in the 21st century? Analyzing audience perceptions of South Asian characters from The Simpsons, Slumdog Millionaire, Harold and Kumar, The Office, Parks and Recreation, The Big Bang Theory, Outsourced, and many others, Bhoomi K. Thakore argues for the importance of understanding these representations as they influence the positioning of South Asians into the 21st century U.S. racial hierarchy. On one hand, increased acceptance of this group into the entertainment fold has informed audience perceptions of these characters as “just like everyone else.” However, these images remain secondary on the U.S. Screen, and are limited in their ability to break out of traditional stereotypes. As a result, a normative and assimilated white American identity is privileged both on the Screen, and in our increasingly multicultural society.
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About the Author
Bhoomi K. Thakore is visiting assistant professor and director of the sociology program at Elmhurst College.
Table of Contents
Foreword: The Browning of American Media and the Whitewashing of Inequality, Matthew W. Hughey
Preface: Just Like No One Else
Introduction: South Asians in 21st Century U.S. Television and Film
Chapter 1: Seeing is Believing: A Brief History of Non-Whites Representation in U.S. Television and Film
Chapter 2: A Snapshot of South Asian Characters in U.S. Media (2010)
Chapter 3: Three Degrees of Ethnicity: Racialized Representations of South Asians
Chapter 4: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Representations of Gender, Ethnicity, and Nationality
Chapter 5: What’s the Matter with Outsourced?
Conclusion: The Future of South Asians on the U.S. Screen
Appendix A: Research Methods and Data
Appendix B: Survey Questions
Appendix C: Interview Questions