Tell Joel Stein and Times Magazine that Racism Isn't Funny
  • Petitioned Time Magazine Editors

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Time Magazine Editors
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Joel Stein

Tell Joel Stein and Times Magazine that Racism Isn't Funny

    1. Brittany Alston
    2. Petition by

      Brittany Alston

      Richmond, VA

Joel Stein's recent article in Time Magazine, "My Own Private India," strived to be a humorous take on the growing diversity of his hometown, but failed miserably, resulting in an article that's no more than a diatribe of racist epithets and offensive stereotypes about Indians.

An excerpt from his article shows that Stein doesn't use his "humor" to open a dialogue about racism in America, but serves to promote it instead:

"...when I was a kid, a few engineers and doctors from Gujarat moved to Edison because of its proximity to AT&T, good schools and reasonably priced, if slightly deteriorating, post–WW II housing. For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.

Eventually, there were enough Indians in Edison to change the culture. At which point my townsfolk started calling the new Edisonians "dot heads." One kid I knew in high school drove down an Indian-dense street yelling for its residents to "go home to India." In retrospect, I question just how good our schools were if "dot heads" was the best racist insult we could come up with for a group of people whose gods have multiple arms and an elephant nose.

Unlike some of my friends in the 1980s, I liked a lot of things about the way my town changed: far better restaurants, friends dorky enough to play Dungeons & Dragons with me, restaurant owners who didn't card us because all white people look old. But sometime after I left, the town became a maze of charmless Indian strip malls and housing developments. Whenever I go back, I feel what people in Arizona talk about: a sense of loss and anomie and disbelief that anyone can eat food that spicy."

- "My Own Private India," Time Magazine

After Stein received some backlash for his article he updated his Facebook status to "apologize" to those who were offended: "didn’t meant to insult Indians with my column this week. Also stupidly assumed their emails would follow that Gandhi non-violence thing."  

Stein's apology was inadequate and proves that he doesn't understand why his article and "humor" are inappropriate. Unfortunately, Stein completely missed his mark in trying to create a funny take on America's growing diversity and how people deal with it. We must demand that he and Time Magazine issue a decent apology to the Indian community (for example, one that does not involve more stereotypes). Please sign the petition telling them that the article was racist and offensive, and that an adequate apology must be released immediately.  

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Tell <i>Time Magazine</i> to Apologize for its Racist, Unfunny Snark

      Te-Ping Chen
      Petition Organizer

      There's a fine line that writers and comedians must walk when trying to deal with a sensitive topic like race. As Prerna wrote earlier this morning, Joel Stein's recent article in Time Magazine, "My Own Private India," emphatically fails that test....

    2. <i>TIME Magazine</i> Thinks Insulting South Asians Is Funny

      Te-Ping Chen
      Petition Organizer

      Joel Stein might be a writer with a knack for satire, but his latest TIME Magazine piece on how his beloved town in New Jersey was overrun by South Asian immigrants fails to tickle the funny bone.
      Satirical pieces are supposed to be humorous, but...

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