Like every other blogger and their cousin, I headed to the Kwik-E-Mart recently – the one in Burbank specifically – and had maybe just a little less fun than everyone else. After all, with the gazillion photos already posted from the madeover 7-11, there was little I hadn’t seen.
But as I watched some of the Indian staffers smile for the cameras, I couldn’t help but wonder if this might be more humiliating than fun. After all, they weren’t having their photos taken because of their Kwik-E-Mart uniforms – but for the color of their skin.
Manish at Racialicious writes this is all racist “in the extreme”:
There’s no other character in the Simpsons where a small, relatively new minority is the butt of a crude ethnic joke… Apu is such the icon of racist taunts against Indians in America, when Kal Penn takes back the phrase ‘Thank you, come again’ in Harold and Kumar, it’s a key applause point.
I think it would be disingenuous to pretend that on any average day, one wouldn’t expect to find a man or woman of Indian descent behind the counter of a Los Angeles area 7-11. But I’ve never personally encountered anyone who sees a man or woman of Indian decent walking down the street and assuming they work at a convenience store.
Anyway, I find myself in one of those moral quandries, wondering if I should be offended, or if I just think I should be offended.
What do you think? Is 20th Century Fox’s “Simpsons Movie” promotion creating a stereotype of Indian Americans?
…photo by ax2groin, used under Creative Commons… much more blog coverage and discussion on the subject at Buzzfeed…
Sidebar: According to the Movieweb blog, Fox even went so far as to replace the usual employees of the 7-11s with non-Indian actors with makeup:
They have makeup on to make them look East Indian. Yes – you read that right. So, they displaced the ACTUAL minority employees for FAKE minority employees. There are only 12 Kwik E Marts in the entire United States, so I’m sure this was to prevent theft of the collectable [sic] stuff.
Since this claim lacks any legitimate sourcing, I’m calling bullshit on it. It sounds like an urban legend that is being spread in the long lines outside the convenience stores… lets see how long before it hits Snopes.