The media coverage has the power to create a one-sided story that is contrary to reality. The capability of the media to preside the perception of the public is controlled by priming. The media cultivates a belief among citizens that stereotype people from different races (Bryant et al., 2012). Although South Asian American makes up to 5 % of the US’s total population, they rarely occur in the media. However, when presented, they are assigned a subordinate role that stereotypes the Asian community. South Asian American appears in the press with the inability to communicate effectively in English and with a dramatic Indian accent. The protagonists that are aired in the media swing their heads while speaking in a funny accent. The community is also cast with minor jobs such as running stores or secretarial works. Heavy consumers of the media content are likely to associate South Asian Americans with terrorism and treat all of them as such. The few characters of the community that appear in television are given weaker roles and less airtime (Bansal, 2019). Apu is an immigrant comic character in the Simpson. Apu represents the minority South Asian Americans who are perceived to have a massive and hilarious Indian accent.
The main problem with the character of Apu is the fact he misrepresents a larger group. The name stirs up conclusions about the South Asian American that lack authenticity. Apu dooms the humanity of Asians and shapes an incorrect image of the latter’s culture and nature. In the Simpsons, Apu is known for his funny accent, rib-cracking humor, and twisted culture. The character is also known as a criminal that forced his way into the United States, creating a false impression that all South American Asians are illegal immigrants. The character is a Ph.D. holder in computer science that runs an expediency store. Apu is a character linked with negativity that helps in stereotyping (Bansal, 2019). South Asian Americans have been frustrated by the minority character’s false impression on their behalf for three decades. Many of them despised being Indians because of Apu or disregarded the show. The group’s experience since school has been shameful, and they have been called by the name by stereotypes. The devastating part of the story is that Apu is a white character imitating the Asian culture. How can a foreigner best describe a community he knows so little?
In my perspective, the character of Apu should have never existed in the Simpsons. Although we must give credit to the show and admire the work of the series misrepresenting a group is highly unacceptable by all standards. Tragically, the character of Apu is taken by a person that does not originate from the community. Probably, the white protagonist will consciously or unconsciously create a misleading perception of South African Americans. The approach used by the character of Apu creates a single story that we can make a biased conclusion. The danger of developing a piece of generalized information from a minority is that it prevents us from exploring the universe’s beauty. For instance, due to the character of Apu, we may assume all Asians are objects of laughter destined for simple jobs. However, there are Indians that have heavily contributed to extensive research and can communicate fluently. If human beings shun away humanity and let the media take over, we will never realize the universe’s paradise (Adichie, 2009).
Adichie, C. N. (2009, October 7). Transcript of “The danger of a single story” [Video]. TED: Ideas worth spreading. https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_ngozi_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story/transcript?language=en#t-351994
Bansal, P. (2019, January 23). On the front lines: South Asian Americans need more representation in media. The Daily Targum. https://www.dailytargum.com/article/2019/01/south-asian-americans-need-more-representation-in-media
Bryant, J., Thompson, S., & Finklea, B. W. (2012). Fundamentals of media effects. Waveland Press.