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The whole Apu thing has really got me thinking about stereotypes, people are absolutely furious about Apu; the lovable, gun-toting, "Thank you come again," convenience store owner being a racist stereotype. And he might well be, but guess what, he always has been! Apu has always been the same character, voiced by the same non-Asian White man, he's always had the same over the top mannerisms, in fact, some might call him cartoonish.
But why are people offended now? Why are people suddenly outraged at something that has been there and they have enjoyed for decades? Is it because people are more easily offended now? Or is it simply because someone else pointed it out and people need to be seen to be politically correct? But be careful, if any more people join the crusade, you're going to need a bigger bandwagon.
Step away from the keyboard.
And before the mob light their torches and grab their pitchforks, I'm not a racist monster, I'm a woman of Indian origins and I, like countless other people of color, have experienced actual racism. So I know that there are bigger problems in the world than a convenience store owner in a fictional world. The first experience of racism I ever had was when I was about four, and we were on a holiday to Wales and someone had spraypainted the words "No Pakis" on the wall outside of our chalet. I consider behavior like that a problem, that's something worth getting angry about.
But people are right, he is kind of stereotypical, and as I said, nobody objected until 2018, and they really went all out. But strangely, nobody has objected to Groundskeeper Willie, the cheap drunk Scotsman, Luigi, the overdramatic Italian restaurant owner, Julio, the bitchy effeminate gay man, or even Fat Tony, the Italian American mobster. And let's not forget Cletus, the rich Texan, bumblebee man, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky, Uter, Akira, Cookie Kwan, and the Germans who buy the nuclear power plant. I'm sure I have missed out loads, but you get the idea.
Are you racist?
Does this mean if you have ever laughed at any of these characters then you are racist or homophobic? No, it just means you are taking things as they were intended, as a joke. If Apu was meant to be a serious character, that was meant to represent the South Asian community, I can understand people objecting as much as they have been, but he's not, he is supposed to be a cartoon character.
But this still doesn't answer the question of why people don't object to the stereotypes of these characters and yet there is uproar about Apu. Is it because he is an ethnic minority? No, Cookie Kwan, Akira, Uter, Fat Tony, and Luigi are minorities, it's because of the color of his skin. According to everyone who objected, it's okay to stereotype White people, but not anyone with a darker skin tone. Why? It shouldn't be okay to do this to anyone, you don't get to call yourself a good person because you are selectively offended when a dark-skinned person is stereotyped, that still counts as discrimination. Either be offended by them all or by none of them!
But oddly enough, that's the one thing that The Simpsons writers haven't done here, they haven't discriminated, they stereotype people of any age, race, skin tone, and sexuality.
It's a cartoon!
I'm not saying that Apu isn't a stereotype, and I am not saying the way they handled the whole thing was right either, but if Hank Azaria stops playing Apu then I am holding each and every one of you social justice warriors personally responsible.