by Payal Shah
In order to showcase common stereotypes of South Asians thought of by Caucasians, comedian and actor Neel Kolhatkar from Australia made a YouTube video inspired by Buzzfeed’s style of videos and put a hilariously, accurate spin on cultural reality.
Kolhatkar currently has more than 200,000 subscribers on YouTube, and while he may have parodies on perfume commercials and “how to” sketch comedies on approaching girls, many of his videos focus on social and political issues.
His video “What White People Say to Brown People Reversed” provides comic relief to a highly relevant immigrant issue: How do we perceive ourselves in a society that is entirely different from ours?
The sketch revolves around three conversations, where white-Americans have a stereotypical and one-sided discussion about desi culture with a South Asian person.
Each exchange initially revolves around desi names being too difficult to pronounce, confusion or ignorance about the uniqueness of Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and Bollywood and its generic dance steps.
Then, the conversation reverses and the South Asian listeners become the speakers. They parody the first set of conversations with a stereotypical evaluation of white-American culture, with this spin the audience gets a clear idea of how crazy and absurd some of the put upon desi stereotypes really are.
Kolhatkar’s video is an entertaining and hilarious take on immigrant issues that are known all too well. Cultural identity is critical in order to understand ourselves as individuals and as a populace, and with videos like Kolhatkar’s we can realize that stereotypes come with every culture, so let’s all start thinking outside of the static rudimentary cultural persona box and more about the dynamism of our characters.
The embed code for this must-see video was disabled but click here and watch it for yourself, let us know what you think in the comments below.
Payal Shah is the new summer intern at Brown Girl Magazine. She is a student on her way to do big things. She is a lover of lifestyle and culture related writing and 90s sitcoms. Shah is also passionate about life.