Can we please cancel the term FOB as something derogatory? Because from where I stand, South Asians are CRUSHING AT LIFE. We South Asian Americans, Brits, Germans, Canadians, etc. need to stop acting like that we are wholly superior because we were privileged to live outside the sub continent. And once upon a time, yeah, we were the cool kids. But, that doesn't stand any longer, thanks to an open economy. Some of the coolest, progressive, creative, intellectual Desis I know are from India. I feel honored and privileged to call them my friends. I also see the incredible work of Pakistani and Sri-Lankan creatives who are creating content that just makes you take a minute and think. I am constantly inspired by them and find everything they offer to be original and substantive. I cannot always say the same of my fellow NRIs.
In the past five years, there has been a surge in wonderful productions from the subcontinent. Utilizing Youtube, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, South Asians are creating shows of meaningful messaging that is shattering the patriarchy one dialogue at a time. The peak of this wave is Made in Heaven, the brilliant new Amazon Prime series that pulls back the veil of the "Indian Wedding". And the fashion. UGH. To have perfect dialogue, storylines, AND outfits?!
As a general rule, I do not show much emotions for T.V. or movies. But, there were moments where I had to choke back tears, where I punched my fist in the air because of this show. I've waited a long time for some of these norms to be challenged on such a platform. I mean, Bollywood tends to let me down time and time again. To see my culture challenged smartly and done without cliche, sigh, nothing felt better. There are so many young people on the sub-continent working everyday to change our culture for the better. And shows like this reflect that liberalism, which is permeating through all the social stratum.
Besides this show, there are a lot of amazing stand-up comics that have taken the world by storm like Vir Das or Sumukhi Suresh or Naveen Richards. I've constantly heard people dismiss their work because "they have accents' or "they are just trying to be American". Really? They just speak English. That is about all they have in common with an American comic. But what they talk about is truly the modern Indian experience and what they struggle with in life. You can't take away their talent because you don't like their accent.
I just don't think it is fair that we disparage our brothers and sisters of the sub-continent. I feel like we do so from a place of envy because they never had to truly doubt their identity. They know they are Indian or Pakistani or Bengali; I feel as though I am still learning to accept being American, not to mention navigating being Malayalee! Because we lived in a world where we were constantly pulled in two directions, American versus Desi, we lack their surety. So, for them, they operate in world where they are just trying to be the best version of their ethnicity.
Also, we don't own English as Americans, considering how appalling our grammar is, so let's just cancel this business of "FOB"simply because of an accent. Can't really go after immigrants when one considers our genesis in this country. In many ways, it is so disrespectful and unnecessary. I always think of my parents, aunts, and uncles who were told to go back to their country or insulted because they have accents. I fully hate the term and people have directed at me for appreciating my culture and being able to speak my mother tongue. Dude, that is the best you can come up? You gonna make fun of how I like my mom's Malu food over pizza? Didn't we have enough non-woke Caucasian kids do that joke? Don't we have enough division? Do we really need to keep this line in 2019?
Instead, let's celebrate what our fellow South Asians are achieving and show support. We, as a community, need to learn how to uplift and promote each other. We are naturally inclined to be in competition with each other. Let's cancel that! Because honestly, if Made in Heaven is any indication, there is gonna be a time that South Asian shows and stories are going to sweep every major award show. Now, there's a red carpet that needs to happen.