Master’s of None-Indians on TV
- How does “Indians on TV” deal with race?
“Indians on TV” depicts how difficult it is for minorities especially Indians to succeed in the entertainment industry due to the normalization of racism. The episode shows the minorities struggling to get a casting role on TV in America. It shows how representation and diversity lack on television (Hodkinson, 2010). In this episode, Dev is seen watching how Indians are portrayed in shows and movies. There is a scene where a white actor is seen taking the role of an Indian character. This actor adopts a stereotypical Indian actor while talking to a robot. This scene shows how Indians are portrayed by media, a form of racism.
Then, the episode shows how Indian actor, Dev, struggles to get a casting role. As an aspiring actor, Dev, and the friend, Ravi, are auditioning for the TV show. Because of his race, Dev is told that he won’t be doing an accent so he shouldn’t expect a callback. He is told that a white actor, Kingsley, had done an accent for an Indian character, Gandhi. With this, the episode shows the racism experienced by minorities in Hollywood. It shows how media promotes racism (Hodkinson, 2010).
Lastly, the episode shows the underrepresentation of Indians in Hollywood when the director says that only one Indian can join the show for it to be relatable to a large mainstream audience. This shows how television influences people to see the world as stated by cultivation theory (Hodkinson, 2010). Hollywood influences people to embrace popular culture, whiteness, at the expense of minorities such as Indians promoting racism in the entertainment industry.
- How does Aziz Ansari take an ethical position in this episode?
In this episode, Dev accidentally receives an email from the creator of a show that he had auditioned for. The email states that there can never be two Indians in the show. According to the email, having more than one Indian in the show would confuse the American audiences. More than two Indians would suggest that the show was meant for Indians. This email is offensive to Dev but he has to make an ethical decision. He has to choose between leaking the email and keeping quiet now that he has evidence that Danvers is discriminatory. Leaking the email would destroy the opportunity to get a casting role in Hollywood. Not leaking the email means compromising and letting racism to slide into the entertainment industry. While this is not the best ethical decision, it is, unfortunately, the reality in entertainment (Hodkinson, 2010).
- In what way does this episode consider “outsider” voices? Why do you think this addresses social values?
“Indians on TV” considers the voices of ‘outsider’ by showing how media promotes racism (Hodkinson, 2010). The episode shows how ‘outsider’ is denied equal opportunities as the ‘insider’. It allows ‘outsider’ to show how the entertainment industry favors ‘insiders’ at the expense of the ‘outsider’. Dev is given a main role in the episode alongside other Indian actors with the purpose of showing racism in Hollywood. Considering ‘outsider’ voices addresses social values because it shows the importance of a healthy relationship between the majority and minority in society. It stresses the importance of social values in society for social order stability. This consideration stresses on the importance of social values such as fairness in sharing casting roles. Such a move influences the general public to embrace social values promoting social order stability. After all, television has a significant influence on the opinions of society about society.
Hodkinson, P. (2010). Media, Culture and Society: An Introduction. SAGE Publications Ltd.