Sikh-Face — Today’s Version of Blackface

This week’s episode of NBC’s My Name is Earl (thanks, anonymous tipster) features a neighbor in the trailer park who is supposed to be a Sikh. But he looks more like the usual “turbaned” convenience store clerk/taxi driver stock caricature who shows up in Hollywood movies and TV shows from time to time.

sikh face my name is earl.jpg

Is it offensive? Going by just the image, I would say yes, and not just to Sikhs. I think it’s offensive to all South Asians, perhaps even to all immigrants. In a sense the “Sikh” neighbor here stands in for all funny-looking/sounding foreigners in the imaginary world of My Name is Earl, just as Apu does in The Simpsons. It’s not just the wrong-looking turban and the glued on beard, it’s the accent — he’s even wearing a Sherwani suit! (While living in a trailer park!)

On the other hand, it could be pointed out that this particular episode is making fun of the anti-terrorist hysteria that swept the U.S. after 9/11 (the conceit is that the show is actually an episode of “Cops” filmed in 2002 — and the claptrap about catching terrorists is of course all the more absurd since the show is set in a small town). It shows law enforcement officers as particularly incompetent and clueless in their attempt to “profile” suspected terrorists, including the character above. But if your goal is to make fun of hysteria using silly caricatures that actually reinforce the ignorance you’re supposedly satirizing, what are you really doing?

It could also be pointed out that a show like My Name is Earl is so generally politically incorrect (and self-conscious about that political incorrectness — “Look, see, we’re being politically incorrect!”) that getting offended about this one thing seems out of place. (Look at how women are represented in the show, for instance.) I’m not sure — but one does think of the recent controversy over the reference to the Philippines in a recent episode of Desperate Housewives, which got a fair amount of media coverage; this, it seems to me, is much more offensive.

You can watch the show on NBC.com here; it’s episode 307. The “Sikh” character (he self-identifies as a Sikh) shows up briefly in the beginning, and then again in the last third of the show.

What do you think? Is it offensive? Are you planning to write NBC?

[UPDATE: One other thing -- in case you're wondering "what self-respecting Desi would take this role?" -- the Sikh character is played by an actor named Alex Endeshaw, who is ethnicity isn't entirely clear to me from Ethiopia originally.]

91 thoughts on “Sikh-Face — Today’s Version of Blackface

  1. I haven’t seen the episode yet, so I won’t comment on whether it’s actually offensive or not. My inclination is to give it the benefit of the doubt though, it’s generally a pretty smart show (about not-so-smart characters) and usually they’re pretty conscious of the stereotypes they’re playing to and not mean spirited about it.

    “… since this guy is really the only South Asian/foreign character you’re going to see on a show like My Name is Earl, and in some sense he stands in for all funny-looking/sounding foreigners in the imaginary world that is the show.”

    Actually they had a reoccurring character a while back who was identified as Bengali (and actually spoke Bengali!). He was, of course, a convenience store clerk.

  2. I guess we all need to lighten up a little. When you make a movie or write a story,you do want to pick an extreme character to make a point. Nobody’s going to find a suited-booted, Americanized NRI interesting in such situations.

    They also stereotyped people of Italian descent in “Friends” through the character Joey. Didn’t see people going up in arms over that…

    A sense of humor goes a long way in battling perceived racism.

  3. “But if your goal is to make fun of hysteria using silly caricatures that actually reinforce the ignorance you’re supposedly satirizing, what are you really doing?”

    That is a question that often bugs me for hours on end. On one hand I think “Well, anyone with half a brain has to realize that s/he’s a caricature”. On the other, I think “Well, how many people have even half a brain?”

    I suppose the intelligent and worldly type will realize the ridiculousness of a small-town cop mistaking a Sikh for an Islamic terrorist (and also wonder where in America a Sikh lives in a trailer park), whereas the rest will continue associating anyone who has a beard and a turban with terrorists.

    I’m interested to see what other people have to say about this, because I have not found any easy answers.

  4. there’s no way such a kala-face could be a real scythian anyway…so it is obviously satire.

    He looks like a less handsome version of my dad with his hair permed -

  5. Amardeep – The show satirizes blacks, women, italians, whites, indians….so why should sikhs be any special?

    “in case you’re wondering “what self-respecting Desi would take this role?” “

    Cheap shot.

  6. Why couldn’t they just hire a brown actor for the part? I think that would have made their point more clearly (and would have been funnier to me–there’s nothing worse than a fake desi accent).

  7. I don’t watch the show so I can’t comment on this particular instance. I’m still in therapy over Fisher Stevens’ portrayal of a desi in Short Circuit II, lol.

  8. While on the subject of acting, twenty years ago Ben Kingsley played Gandhi to acclaim. Since then, after Indian versions of classic English novels, we have had Indians or individuals of Indian origin directing mainstream movies in English. I hope the day is not far off when such an individual can play, let us say, Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford or in a comparable screen version.

  9. I saw the show last night and honestly can’t think of anything at all offensive about the Sikh character on the show. If anything–he was shown in an incredibly sympathetic light–everyone else around him, his (so-called) white trash neighbors were the idiots.

    The only really funny thing about him was his accent…but really–that’s the way a lot of Indian pronounce English words..and let’s face it, the Indian accent can be pretty funny.

    I’d be upset if anyone actually wrote to NBC complaining about this…there was a message My Name is Earl was trying to send with this episode. That post-9/11, this country went into a fanatical pro-US mode that was out to catch “terrorists” which were most likely people of color.

  10. razib said:

    there’s no way such a kala-face could be a real scythian anyway…so it is obviously satire.

    Why is that? Isn’t the point of being an actor to encompass the image of a character? Why does one’s ethnicity necessarily negate his ability to portray a character if he looks the part?

  11. i’m just tired of fellow desis telling me that we need to have a sense of humour. you know what? we do have a sense of humour. some of the most subtle and beautiful humour that i’ve read and heard has been from desis (and i don’t mean russell peters).

    but when you are repeatedly barraged (is that a verb?) with portrayals of desis with little or no research (dress, accent, etc.) whatsoever, it just gets tiresome. i think that “having a sense of humour” in this case is a cop-out.

    and, as manish pointed out some time back, making fun of blacks, jews, italians, the irish, etc. is different because all of these communities are now more-or-less accepted in mainstream society here in the u.s. indians are not.

    and even if all of these communities went through the rigmarole of racial harassment, that’s no justification for it to continue today.

  12. Thank you for posting this.

    This shyt is annoying when Hollywood do it… but doesn’t the same shyt go on in Bollywood? The sardarji buffoon characters really annoy me… probably because I see it in the tradition of black minstrelry.

    And unrelated:

    The Inevitable rise and liberation of NIGGY TARDUST:

    http://www.niggytardust.com

    Download the new collaboration between Saul Williams and Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)

    When I was in college, an Indian friend of mine was making fun of me because he found a Lynyrd Skynyrd CD in my car. Apparently, I’m only supposed to listen to hip-hop.

    But yeah, this shyt kicks all that lame half-assed hip-hop in the balls.

    NIGGY!!

  13. i’m just tired of fellow desis telling me that we need to have a sense of humour.

    Can you believe HR told me this when I complained about a co-worker who would not stop mocking the Indian accent even after I asked nicely?

  14. I guess it’s a TV show and either you dig it or you ignore it, that’s all these shows are worth. However,

    Can you believe HR told me this when I complained about a co-worker who would not stop mocking the Indian accent even after I asked nicely?

    This is serious $hit and bugs me more. You thought about suing the crap out of them? Protected class and all that, doesn’t your HR know that?

  15. I am with the people that find the character offensive right down to the choice of clothing. One good contrast Aseem Batra in scrubs, she has joined this season as an intern and I didn’t see any references to her ethinicity and she is a regular character with a very high pitch voice, she is also the story editor and writer on some of the episodes.

  16. This is serious $hit and bugs me more. You thought about suing the crap out of them? Protected class and all that, doesn’t your HR know that?

    Where do you think they get their ideas from to do that? Stupid TV shows with blackface Indians caricatured like minstrels. But you’ve got to have a sense of humor you see. That is mainstream American TV and film for you. Get ready for more when Mike Myers brings his new movie out, he’s playing an Indian sex counsellor guru — prepare for Peter Sellars part 2 and a whole new repertoire of phrases for the macacas in America to have to put up with.

  17. The Great Ganesha wrote:

    but when you are repeatedly barraged (is that a verb?) with portrayals of desis with little or no research (dress, accent, etc.) whatsoever, it just gets tiresome.

    That’s fair, but how is this applicable to the character from “My Name is Earl”? I saw nothing that told me they hadn’t researched the Indian dress and turban, and his accent sounded like my uncles.

  18. I disagree that this is an insult to a broad swathe of people. I am not discounting an individual’s right to feel uncomfortable at the characterization. It’s just a guy in a turban and a fake beard. an average person might not know better, but then (the royal) we dont deal with average people. :-)

    btw – myers’ character pokes fun at the hippies who spend some time in india and come back ‘enlightened’. he doesnt claim to be desi when playing guru pitka. plus buddy’s from scarberia – he’s grown up around enough desis to know better :-) .

  19. What does anyone think letter writing can do? This is an Emmy winning show which garners millions of dollars for NBC. I think you need something stronger than this to actually get something done.

  20. Mizuho said:

    “Why couldn’t they just hire a brown actor for the part? I think that would have made their point more clearly (and would have been funnier to me–there’s nothing worse than a fake desi accent).”

    I don’t know…because Kal Penn was busy working on House?

    DUCKS

  21. Can you believe HR told me this when I complained about a co-worker who would not stop mocking the Indian accent even after I asked nicely?

    may be you should NOT say it nicely. practise it in the mirror.

    “That’s eNough!” “but it’s how all indians talk”. “I dont like it and that should be enough.” “O! dont be embarassed zen. I dont think you are like that. You’re different.” “that is not the point. I hope I have made myself clear.” “Oooo! are you scaring me_ ” “I find your behavior hostile. It affects my productivity. I can not work like this any longer and I will talk to HR.” When representing yourself to HR, talk in context of loss of productivity. Rudeness isnt a good enough reason to have them put the brakes. It makes the case easier to represent – and write it out before plannign to go all out.

    Personalities differ Zen, and I suspect you’re far more articulate than I in real life – but I have worked with a true blue office psychopath and have learned the hard way that these people are emotionally untouchable.

    if that doesnt work… let out the claws in real life. Pour down an egg in the stem of his chair or put a paper clip under his delete key. these are the only ones i can type in public. go wild. you got a barbed blog zen. I’m sure you can think something up.

  22. 7 Cheap shot.

    It’s not a cheap shot, because one of the best ways to combat ethnic stereotypes is for actors to refuse to perpetuate them. Hollywood writers will keep coming up with this garbage, but the community of Desi actors is small and relatively approachable. (I know that Kal Penn has at least paid attention to complaints about some of the roles he’s played — it’s not clear that he’s going to radicaly change his approach, but at least he feels the pressure.)

    11 I saw the show last night and honestly can’t think of anything at all offensive about the Sikh character on the show.

    Ask anyone you know who is a Sikh to take a look at that picture and see if it’s offensive to them. That’s not what a Sikh turban looks like, not remotely.

    21 What does anyone think letter writing can do? This is an Emmy winning show which garners millions of dollars for NBC. I think you need something stronger than this to actually get something done.

    Well, then letters to friends in the media and through them, advertisers. ABC came out with an apology at least for the “Medical school in the Philippines” comment immediately after it got complaints. You have to let them know you’re watching, and you don’t like it. Otherwise nothing changes.

  23. As someone who has defended Apu on the Simpsons and even Fisher Stevens on Short Circuit(I knew someone like that in real life), I gotta say, the Sikh caricature was ridiculous, especially considering one of the main writers is Indian(Valli Chandrasekharan? I think that;s his name, he appeared in the Diwali wepisode of The Office). THat makes it worse for me. At least get the freaking caricature right. There is one scene where the Sikh makes a reference to seeing Joy’s elbows and finding that sexy. Well, Sikhs are not exactly anywhere close to some of the religious nuts in Saudi Arabia for that kind of “elbows” reference.

    It was more GUnga Dinish to me than Apu.

  24. Second Razib – that’s an Ethiopian name and an Ethiopian face. Also found, by googling, other Ethiopian Endeshaws.

  25. When representing yourself to HR, talk in context of loss of productivity. Rudeness isnt a good enough reason to have them put the brakes. It makes the case easier to represent – and write it out before plannign to go all out.

    Khoofia, thanks for all that. It was actually in a less enlightened time (1995) at a British company (go figure). I now work in a technology company where no one would dare say such a thing (in public)…

  26. #11 I saw the show last night and honestly can’t think of anything at all offensive about the Sikh character on the show. Ask anyone you know who is a Sikh to take a look at that picture and see if it’s offensive to them. That’s not what a Sikh turban looks like, not remotely.

    Absolutely, if you wanna go into details, the turban used there is actually 180 degrees from anything near reality. It is like showing a Jewish immigrant with a opposite Jewish head-gear (dunno what it is called Kippah I guess) & think about that happening in a NBC show.

  27. HA What about 2007′s Transformers. The one scene where they’re on the Qatar field battling the evil Decepticon, all the while trying to get thru the Pentagon – and the call is picked up by the desi in India where all the outsourcing call centres are! Well, this Desi is blooding picking his nose, while talking to Josh Dushamel’s character. Two seconds! That’s all it took for everyone to laugh at the Indian person. And no one was laughing at the accent! And all I could think of was, What self respecting desi would take up THIS role? Why oh why! I still cringe everytime I see that scene. Come on! there’s more to us than that…

  28. Does anyone know if there is evidence of African in Mallu blood? Ethiopians generally look very Mallu to me. Punjabi, not so much.

  29. “his (so-called) white trash neighbors were the idiots.” they’re the only ones you can get away with trashing nowadays.

  30. Kurma, we’d like you to put that forth as a rumor and we’ll make it a legend. There may be some links via the Orthodox nature of Churches in Kerala and Ethiopia but nobody has claimed Ethiopian thus far. After all being called a Kala-Kaloota Jadugar all through out my childhood must have its basis in some legend no?

  31. I am a Sikh. Saw the video and am not offended. I can learn to laugh at myself and my community. Let’s stop whining. The representation, while taken to a different level than I would have liked, is representative of the larger South Asian community – folks that self-segregate themselves, barely speak english, and who don’t want to assimilate. If it takes these satirical shows to push ourselves to think about what WE need to do to change ourselves, so be it.

  32. Hey Kurma,

    It seems that all Indians are amateur geneaologists. It seems that Chechnyans, Russians, Pakis, Afghanis, Middle Easterners, and even Germans are all Gujurati.

    Here’s something that I found on the internet about the achievements of Gujuratis: From: http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showflat.php?Number=297106

    They believe that: 1. The Province Chechenya in Russia was named after “chehce” gotra. 2. Iranians, Afghanis, Pakis, North West Indians, central Asians, Russians are Gujjus!

    3. Germans are known as the Best Race of this Universe.

    About the Most Royal Community of INDIA

    Arond 6 villages of Royal Gurjar Community are located here.They came here many years ago than the Mughals.They have their Kings like The Great Mihir Bhoj. They ruled over India, Mid-east, Europe, Russia….

    About words about Gurjars:

    The Gurjars of Kashmir, Gujrat, Himachal, Rajshtan, UP, Delhi, Haryana, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran adn Mid-Asia speak the similar Language that is called Gujari, Gurjari, Gojari or Gurzi.

    when Alexander came and resided in Taxila over two millennia ago he encountered the original Gujar inhabitants

    ChhatraPati Veer ShivaJI Bhonsle (Derived Surname in Gurjars is Bainsle)was also a Gurjar and His Senapati was Prataprao Gujar.

    The famous places like Gujrat, Gujranwala, Gujrat(Pakistan), Gujarkhani(kashmir), Gurzistan(Afghanistan) etc. took their name after this caste name ‘Gurjar’ only (Even some historians claim that the country named “Georgia” was “Gurjiya” originally, and the natives pronounce it as “Gurjiya” but that is a different argument), The Province Chechenya in Russia was named after “chehce” gotra.

    There are, by common accounting, 30 million Gujars in Pakistan. Gujars claim common quaum status with Checheniyans (the break away former Soviet republic). Georgia was traditionally called Gujaristan, and all Georgians are really Gujars. Some Scholars also argue that Gujars went as far as Germany and many Germans are really Gujars. Germans are known as the Best Race of this Universe.

    The Word “GURZ”(An Award in wrsteling) is derived after “Gurjar”.

    In the Haryana region the Tomara a feudatory of the Gurjara-Pratihars originally founded the city of Dhillika (Delhi) in 736.

    Other examples are The City Ambala (Ambate), Lahore (Lohmod), Gwaliar (Gujargarh ) Khaariyaan (Khaari), The Famous Mehrauli (Mihirawali), Bhopal (Mihir Bhojpal) etc.

    The Leva Patidaar community of Gujrat and northern Maharashtra are originally Gurjars (Sardar Patel was from the same community). In Gurjars Lohiya (Lohmor) and Khari Do not intermarry. Because of some misunderstanding between them while fighting against the Shakas in 2nd century BC.

    Same in Gujrat The Lehva(originally Lohmor) and Khadhwas(Originally Kharis) do not intermarry. Gurjars are included among “Kunbis” in Nortern Maharshtra and Gujrat.

    Pt. Jawahar Lal in his book “Discovery Of India” has mentioned Gurjars as a very Loyal caste, He called them the real patriots.

    The Holy Cave of Amarnath is believed to be found by a Gujjar. The same is believed about the Naina Devi Temples in Himachal

    Pratihaars, The Imperial Gurjars Dadda, the founder of Pratihara dynasty, established the Gurjar rule at Nandipur (Nandol). Dadda III wrestled Broach from the Maitraks whose citadel had started shaking. After Him Yashpal(1024-1036)

    were the famous Gurjar-Pratihaar kings of India.

    ‘Gurjeshwar’ BheemDev-2 Solanki(1036-1064), Who attacked & almost destroyed Mahmood of Gazni when Gazni was on his way back after looting the holy “Somnath Temple” (made by “Gurjars”),

    Geographically, during the period of Muslim conquest the Rajputs were the pratiharas, or doorkeepers of India Also known as Parrhiar. Like the Solankis and Chauhans the Parihar clan is held by some to have originated from the Gurjar invaders who came with the Huns in the 5th and 6th centuries, and if so they were the first of these Gujar Rajput clans to emerge into prominence. Mundawar or Mundodri was the capital of the Parihara, which owned the sway of this tribe before the invasion and settlement of the Rathor clan. They were dominant in Bundelkhand before the Chandels, their last chieftain having been overthrown by a Chandel prince in AD 831. A parihar-Gujar chieftain, whose capital was in Bhinmal in Rajputana, conquered the dominions of the great Harsha Vardhana, and established himself there about AD 816. Kannaj was then held by Gujar-Parihar kings till 1090, when it was seized by Chandradeva of the Gaharwar Rajput clan. The Parihar rulers were thus subverted by the Gaharwars and Chandels, both of whom are thought to be derived from the Bhars or other aboriginal tribes. After this period the Parihar are of little importance. They appear to have retired to Rajputana, as col. Tod states that Mundore, 5 miles north of Jodhpur, was their headquarter until it was taken by the Rathors. The walls of the ruined fortress of Mundore are built of enormous square masses of stone without cement.

    After 7th century A.D. the Gujjar rulers established their full authority over the entire Northern India. Thereafter the Gujjar rulers, named several provinces, cities, grand buildings, temples and fortresses after the name of Gujjars. The Gujjar kings felt proud of their being called Gujjars. Several edicts found so far bear testimony to this fact. An edict of 1139 AD which was found in Dohar, Jai Singh Barh Raj, has been stated to be the king of Gujjar Mandal.

    The King Prithvi Raj Chouhan United the Kingdoms of Ajmer and Delhi, when he ascended the throne. He established a federation by the name of “Gujjar Mandal”.

    During the Gurjar rule, the Gujari language was made as an official language and all official work used to be carried out in it. The Arab historians recognised the Gurjar rule as the most stable and powerful. After ruling for centuries together over India, their down fall began during the reign of Muslim rulers. In 1697 Al-ud-Din Khilji over ran Analwada Gujrat resulting in the end of Gujjar rule in India. All the territories that belonged to Gurjar rulers, were taken away from them and they were once again subjugated by others. They left their territories and took shelter in mountains and deserts. Gurjars were ruthlessly suppressed and presecuted. They were even deprived of the jobs. Numerous plots began to be hatched against Gujjars. Under these bad and hostile conditions some Gurjars ran away for safety while others disliked to be called “Gujjars” and in a way they converted themselves into communities, other than Gurjars, Like Baniyas and Punjabis. Some went into hiding in mountains and forests, and began to call themselves as Rajputs and not Gurjars. Later on, some persian historian recognised them as Rajputs as they failed to under their identity. Even the English rulers recognised there as Rajputs. The name Rajput became so popular among the historians that the names of Gurjars disappeared from the history.

    VERY RECENT KINGDOMS

    SaharanPur was called Gujarat till 1857 as it was the last kingdom of Gurjars.

    The last Nagpur Prince was a Gurjar.

    In 1823 there were 5 Gurjar Kingdoms called Daadri “Surname Bhaati” (Greater NOIDA), Teemli (Surname Chhokar), Parikshit Garh “Surname Naagadi or Naagar”, Behsuma( Near Roorkee ) and Landhora “Surname Panwar” (Near SaharanPur) in UP Vijay Singh Gurjar(1816-1836) was the first King who started the fight against the British in 1823(34 years before Mangal Pandey).

    His Army Head kalyan Sigh Haamda or “Kalua gujar”, was like a nightmare for the british as he vanished and looted british Arms from the british Army many times.

  33. Speaking of bigotry, here is Michael Savage at his best.

    Click the audio link on this page.

  34. The only really funny thing about him was his accent…but really–that’s the way a lot of Indian pronounce English words..and let’s face it, the Indian accent can be pretty funny.

    Maybe the Indian accent is funny according to you, I don’t think people from India sound “funny”. It has become “funny” only because of idiots like Peter Sellers and Hank Azaria and now Russell Peters and all the other lazy desi comedians (Dan Nainan, Mark Saldana) who get laughs just by making fun of their hapless parents’ speech. Hey, if a desi does it, why, it must be OK to make fun of all those brown people! I have an annoying colleague who used to attempt a fake desi accent with me, and a fake Spanish-speaker’s accent with my Hispanic co-workers, until we let her know that it was not funny at all.

  35. I have an annoying colleague who used to attempt a fake desi accent with me, and a fake Spanish-speaker’s accent with my Hispanic co-workers, until we let her know that it was not funny at all.

    Sigh! Who hasnt met that clown.

  36. If it takes these satirical shows to push ourselves to think about what WE need to do to change ourselves, so be it.

    Arguably, what “we” need to do to “change ourselves” is show some backbone when racist caricatures of ourselves appear in the mass-media.

    An image can be satirical AND still offensive. This is one of those cases.

  37. I think getting offended by something as small as this only makes desis look insecure. Its not a big deal and letting (non-desi)people laugh at us once is necessary to show that we are comfortable with ourselves. Also, not all desis in America are as suave and assimilated as those on SP, I think sometimes people forget that there is a wide variety of desis that exist.

    Especially when there was at least an attempt by the producers to combat the post 9/11 hysteria.

  38. meh. we stereotype and ridicule “foreign looking” people all the time in Bollywood, it’s all good :P

  39. 32 Kurma wrote:

    Does anyone know if there is evidence of African in Mallu blood? Ethiopians generally look very Mallu to me. Punjabi, not so much.

    Read “Before the Dawn” by Nicholas Wade. Ethiopia was the “Garden of Eden” for Homo sapiens. All modern people descended from a small group of people in what is now modern day Ethiopia. The first migrations of people was into South India. There have been many more subsequent migrations of people from Africa to India. Are you aware of the 14000 present day African Indians (Habshis/Siddis) in Karnataka?

  40. Just to add to my comment (#44) the existence of the Habshis/Siddis in Karnataka has been traced to the 14th century.

  41. I dont know if anyone mentioned this, but one of the writers for this show is Indian.

    I know he most likely didnt want an Ethopian to play a Indian, but the “suits” on the show are most likely responsible for that.

  42. For me , the irony of the episode is, that it was the most preachy episode and the point of the cop tackling the Sikh was how he confused him with a terrorist, yet the stereotype attributed to the Sikh was actually confused with the stereotype of the terrorist where he talks about seeing Joy’s elbows. So the humor kind of backfires for anyone who knows the type of people stereotyped. Plus let’s not forget the main writer is Indian.

    By the way, Peter Sellers in the Party reminded me of this one graduate student in my college.

  43. How can anybody say that this man does not look like a sikh. Maybe he was a convert to sikhism. Not all sikh’s are punjabi’s.

    But there are much bigger issues for the sikh community to deal with. In Vancouver which has the biggest sikh community in North America. There have been like 8 or 9 sikh[I have lost count] men who have killed there wifes the past year, which is an issue that should get much more attention from the sikh community.

  44. i think it is ok for an ethiopian to play a sikh. an eritrean, on the other hand…

  45. This shyt is annoying when Hollywood do it… but doesn’t the same shyt go on in Bollywood? The sardarji buffoon characters really annoy me… probably because I see it in the tradition of black minstrelry.

    Word. I haven’t seen this show (and I’m not on an internet connection that allows me to), so I’ll refrain from commenting on it, specifically, but I must say that I find depictions of Sikhs in Bollywood pretty offensive for the most part.

    As a satirist myself, I know very well that satire is very easily misread–think of the contemporary response to Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” I don’t think that artists should dumb down their work because of audiences’ tendency to “misread” satire, but the artist should make a deliberate effort to make her intent clear to all. Judging from comments by people who did watch the show, it seems that the producers were sloppy and inconsistent in their depiction of this character.