Why Do Indians Fake An Accent in Front of White Folks?

Social Commentary

Why Do Indians Fake An Accent in Front of White Folks?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

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n 2013, my first year as a student in Los Angeles, a classmate mocked my Indian accent. He likened it to Dr Vindaloo’s from Courage the Cowardly Dog. Then expressed surprise that I knew about Courage the Cowardly Dog – he assumed all Indian children didn’t have access to Cartoon Network. Or TVs. Suddenly, all the Yankee ignorance I’d been warned about was shoved right into my face. It’s part of the reason I was conscious enough to start rolling my Rs just a bit more. The struggle to fit in when living abroad is real, especially if you are an impressionable teen.

Pop culture has taught the world that Indians sound like Apu from The Simpsons, and for better or worse, that’s a source of amusement for the rest of the world. Naturally, diaspora Indians feel the need to mask any notes of desiness that might slip off their tongue.

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