Two of the most prescient and funniest comedians around today have parents who emigrated from India. Both Hari Kondabolu and Aziz Ansari are Americans who give lie to the anti-immigrant rhetoric that is fueling the Republican Party’s campaign this year and except for their skin color, certainly crush the stereotyped characterization of people of Indian heritage. However, both of them are acutely aware of the bigoted stereotyping aimed at people of color in America and play with it in a way that shows its stupidity.
As a Jewish American, consciously aware that I’m only two generations removed from my own ancestors coming to America, I find empathy and common ground for all the ethnicity’s that have come to this country and while finding success, have also had to deal with hurtful negative stereotyping. What makes the whole thing so ironic is that all Americans, save for the true Native Americans and those brought to this country unwillingly as slaves, are the children of immigrants. For the Native Americans, ironically still called “Indians” by many, they represent the only true inhabitants of this land mass called North America. For Afro-Americans, brought to this country in chains and treated despicably ever since, in my view their oppression entitles them to be seen as true descendants of this land.
Each successive “wave” of immigrants of different ethnicities brought with it hurtful negative stereotyping and indeed for many whose skin is not lily white, these stereotypes continue to exist. In this time of such stress I thought it might be a change of pace to listen to two of my favorite comedians. As you listen to them please try to see the reality that ALL humans are quite similar despite their ethnic backgrounds and the seeming differences imposed by bigotry. The ethnic differences between us all are aspects of human uniqueness to be cherished, because beyond them in our emotions and desires we are all one humanity.