Hank Azaria Says He's Happy To Retire His Version Of Apu

Image: Getty Images / FOX

The discussion about Apu in The Simpsons isn't going away yet, with the character's long-time voice actor revealing that he would be happy to see the character transition, or have his version of the character retired entirely.

In a chat with Stephen Colbert on the Late Show, Azaria said that his "eyes have been opened" following the discourse over the Simpsons character. Debate kicked up late last year following the release of The Problem With Apu, a documentary by comic Hari Kondabolu about Apu's stereotypical nature and the impact that has for other Indian-Americans, particularly given their lack of notable roles on screen.

The Simpsons referenced the documentary earlier this month, with Lisa asking Marge about something being found as politically incorrect decades after it began. "Some things will be addressed at a later date," Marge replied, to which Lisa said "if at all".

Azaria's explanation to Colbert, however, indicated that there might be a push to at least include more Indian and South Asian voices in the writers' room. "My eyes have been opened, and the most important thing is that we have to listen to Indian people, South Asian people in this country, when they talk about what they feel and how they think about this character, and what their American experience has been."

The voice actor added that he nothing to do with the Simpsons episode that referenced Kondabolu's documentary. But he also disagreed with people that believed the episode in question wasn't dismissing their concerns.

"I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers' room, not in a token way but genuinely informing whatever new direction this character may take," Azaria went on. "Including how it is voiced, or not voiced. I'm perfectly willing and happy to step aside, or help transition into something new. I really hope that's what the Simpsons does. It not only makes sense, it feels like the right thing to do."

Kondabolu responded to Azaria's appearance on Twitter, briefly saying he appreciated the sentiment:


Comments

    I’m sure a voice actor, who gets paid for how many characters are used per episode, is freely willing to give up part of his already limited pay check to step aside for a diversity hire. This sounds like a Network decision and using Hank to deliver it PR spin style.

      Isn't he one of the main voice actors for the show that has been running for how many years now? I'm sure he's got plenty of money. Are they even paid that way?

      Azaria makes over $300,000 per episode and the Simpsons wiki lists 25 pages of characters voiced by him.

      Plus there are people who are willing to do something simply because they believe it's the right thing to do. Even when it's to their detriment.

      He would be getting paid the same, whether he does Apu or not.

      Internet: LET THE ARTISTS MAKE THEIR ART WITHOUT SJW BULLSHIT

      Artist: I agree with the people who have raised this concern

      Internet: THE ARTISTS ARE PUPPETS FOR THE SJW AGENDA

      "Paid for how many characters are used per episode"? I can't imagine that Azaria is paid on a pro rata basis like that, but if he was surely it would make infinitely more sense for him to be paid for the number of lines his characters have in the episode, regardless of how many or how few of the character actually appear are used, seeing as how he's paid for his voice-work and not for the intellectual rights to said characters.

    Well are they going to stop stereotyping Willie too? How about Uter?

      It's better described in the original documentary, but those stereotypes have far less impact because of the range of broader roles available to characters from those backgrounds. Indian-Americans have very few roles, and they're pretty pigeonholed, too. That maximises the reach and impact that Apu has, as so few Indian-background characters have had such a prominent starring role in pop culture spanning over such a long period.

      But that's a super short (and not wholly nuanced) tl;dr. The documentary goes into it much more.

        "It's better described in the original documentary, but those stereotypes have far less impact because of the range of broader roles available to characters from those backgrounds."

        I'd have to see it to make an opinion but I don't think I would change my stance on this. It is a TV show that plays on stereotypes and pokes a bit of fun at ourselves (humans) as a whole. I think people are becoming too precious.

          Totally fair. It's not something I personally have a stake in, but I can empathise with those from backgrounds who want better representation, and having the conversation never hurts.

          The people who you think are becoming "too precious" are the people who are having these feelings you don't (and cannot) have, simply because you do not belong to a community that is marginalised, mocked, or ridiculed. The fact that you don't have and can't understand those feelings, doesn't mean that they are wrong.

          Listening is not too hard. Removing unnecessary things from your life that these people are telling you that are harmful to them is not hard either. Humour is possible without stereotyping, and in fact, most of the great humour of the Simpsons come from proprietary archetypes that they have developed (i.e. a donut-guzzling man-child, a stick-in-the-mud mother of three with a bit of a neglected wild side, etc.)

        The problem is, it actually is being inclusive. It's more problematic for creators to box in characters based on identity. The guys argument really is that South Asian characters should not be treated as equals on TV. Either be working to push some agenda, which is not the shows job. Or to not be included. Then he could have made a documentary about how problematic the simpsons was, for having such a diverse range of characters but no South Asians.

        His idea for fixing the problem was to have Apu run the Kwiki-Mart corporation and be the good guy billionaire foe to Mr Burns. Which is utterly stupid. He's bringing in his own issue of class into the mix. Some might see a nice, well liked, good looking family man who runs his own business. He sees the job as demeaning.

          I haven't watched the Simpsons in a good ten years, but I never felt like Apu was a character that painted Indians in a bad light.

          I feel like there is a broader issue with representation, but i feel like pointing to Apu as the problem is probably picking the wrong target.

          Apu was a character where they added a lot of depth to over time. I didn't think it was any more offensive than the various other stereotypes they poke fun at, and it was never done in a nasty way.

        I can't think of any other Scottish-American characters on TV other than Willie.

          They listened to Willie's advice.

          "Do not touch Willie"

          Last edited 26/04/18 3:44 pm

        I find that whole argument to be a bit silly. I'll agree that Indian-Americans don't have a lot of main roles in TV and film, but Bollywood and Indian television is an industry that almost rivals Hollywood itself.

        The whole documentary comes across as "Unfunny wannabe comedian blames Simpsons character for his own success being very minimal". There are plenty of funny American based comedians of Indian/South Asian decent who do quite well in the industry despite the Apu stereotype existing. Hari Kondabolu just sounds like someone with sour grapes about his career and found an easy target to take it out on instead of addressing his own lack of talent.

      No, because they are European... aka "white". It's ok to make fun of white people because privilege and all that junk.

    I can't believe the show is still running.

    We all love it... but has anyone seen the newer seasons? Are they any good?

      They're not very good. Changing the VA for Apu is basically meaningless because any episode of The Simpsons I will watch is going to be in season 1-10.

      They have their moments. But i'm not overly keen on the animation style, doesn't have that classic Simpsons feel, much like the writing, which can be very good however, albeit quite different.

      I'm in the US, and I've just discovered that the FXX channel shows non-stop Simpsons every night. Just this week I've watched Softball, Planet of the Apes: the Musical, ice hockey, fighting hellfish, Bart gets a fake ID, Hank Scorpion... Who needs to watch the crappy new ones when so much great history is right there to watch. It's actually a little dangerous... They're so great that you sit down to watch one, and suddenly you've watched 5 and it's bed time!

      Although: seems that they cut stuff in syndication. "Hey Bart, can we stop for ice cream" and "I spent 3 years on that terlet" are just two lines that they cut to fit more ads that made me sad :(

    Good on him. I'm glad he's taken time to listen to people who have an issue with the character and responded like this.

    Just so we’re clear, we’re talking about a childrens cartoon, right? This debate sounds urgent.

      The Simpsons has been a children's cartoon in the same way South Park is a kids cartoon for at least a decade. They both started out that way, but they've evolved substantially over the years, and the Simpsons has had such a huge impact on pop culture that it's a little more impactful than what an ordinary cartoon would otherwise be.

        Err, wasn't South Park always rated MA15+ in Australia? Hardly targeted at kids with that rating imo :P

          I'd debate whether The Simpsons was ever really aimed specifically at kids either. The very first episode is about the family's financial difficulties after Homer doesn't get a Christmas bonus. He's drowning his sorrows at Moe's when Barney suggests gambling on dog racing, which results in him losing his remaining money.

          It's not necessarily especially unsuitable for kids, but those are some adult themes there.

            Agreed. I always liked The Simpsons growing up, but appreciated it a lot more as I matured, the same with shows like Bob's Burgers, it might be animated & it might be PG, but it's more adult orientated than child orientated. Could say the same for Futurama, Daria, King of the Hill (though that was M from memory).

      It was originally a late night bit and went to prime time. Barely any of the jokes in the early seasons would land with a kid. Rewatch it and marvel. There's a reason it was a prime time advertising goldmine and it isn't because kids liked it.

      The Simpsons has been one of the most powerful forces in English language popular culture for two decades. Calling it a children's cartoon is like calling Star Wars some movie about laser sword space wizards. It's more or less true, but there's a hell of a lot more to it than that.

        But it is about space wizards.
        Obi-wan is just space Merlin and darth Vader is just space sheriff of Nottingham.

          Like I said, it more or less is that. But there's a whole lot of cultural influence that is now attached to it. Star Wars is more than the sum of its parts because of how integrated it is into culture. The Simpsons is the same.
          This stuff matters because art shapes culture. So yeah, silly cartoon parody of a sitcom. Space wizards with laser swords. they are those things, but they're also a lot more.

            Although I was just being facetious, that is a brilliant statement on its influence.

    Reactions to discrimination-related issues like these are always interesting to read. White males (myself included) are uniquely unqualified to comment, yet are seemingly the most vocal.

    I'd be curious to hear feedback in this comment section from someone with an Indian background (or any other minority where a media character has led to uncomfortable "playful" harassment).

    Last edited 26/04/18 1:22 pm

      What about people with Indian backgrounds who think Apu isn't offensive?

        You don't count, you're not allowed to be neutral you must take offense or else.

        I'd be curious to hear feedback on the issue from someone with an Indian background

          You already heard that feedback, I was asking about opposite feedback.

            I assume we're talking about the same thing then? I'm not presupposing any response, only saying that I'd like to actually hear from people who are informed on the matter.

            Feedback can be positive, negative or neutral, and it can come from multiple sources - it's just providing information about a reaction. With that in mind it is very difficult to imagine what "opposite feedback" might be.

      Have you watched the Documentary "The Problem with Apu"?

      An Indian-American guy goes over Apu's affect on himself and his culture in america, and what can be done to make him a better character.

      It covers all the bases, he even interviews his parents who are fine with Apu as a character.

        I'm aware it was all kicked off by the documentary, no I haven't seen it yet.

        I was saying that I'd like to hear from people in this comment section.

    I'm happy for Hank Azaria to retire. Plus everything related to The Simpsons.

    Good on Hank, he's got more guts than the current writers of The Simpsons to not hide behind there characters, or instead of saying anything just retweeting opinions that agree with them. Looking at you Al Jean.

    I wrote this earlier the first time the article about Apu came up. The issue here is that PC culture is slowly killing off humour. I can understand his moral plight that the character may have rubbed him the wrong way, but the show is literally about extreme stereotypes. I find it ironic that everyone has kicked up a stink about indian stereotypes, yet no one talks about the scottish, italian, chinese and even anglo-saxon/ European whites. There's even an episode on Australian stereotypes and nobody cared about that, we all took it as a laugh!!!

    Honestly, this does more harm than good and we see it already within stand up comedy circles. Either you can make fun of anything or you can't at all, and unfortunately, particularly after the events of the "hate crime" legal case in Britain over the nazi pug, we are slowly etching towards not making fun of anything in fear of legal ramifications.

      I think this is a bit of an overreaction on both sides. The Indian-American convenience store or service station worker is a stereotype - but it's a stereotype for the same way that the call centre staff are based in India, because there's an element of truth there. I don't see anything inherently harmful with Apu's character nor does it make me think poorly of Indian-Americans because of Apu's character.

      But the idea that this is some sort of blanket politically correct war on humour seems a bit far-fetched, even if I do believe that we're slowly heading for a world where your capacity to be offended is measured in arbitrary 'privilege points'. The voice actor saying "Okay I can see that point of view, maybe it's time to retire the character" doesn't seem like giving into the 'evil SJWs'.

      And some people were offended by the Australian episode back when it first aired - it's just that more people found it funny.

        I like your balanced viewpoint, but my read on this is a little different. How the character makes you feel about Indians is not really the issue; it's about how he makes Indians in minority situations feel, and how others use Apu as an insult. I've read a few other article about this today, and found this quote interesting:
        Kondabolu notes that in India itself TV viewers who are familiar with The Simpsons are aware of Apu but he doesn’t have the same negative impact because there are countless other images of Indians to counteract it.

        Similarly, the Australia episode caused outrage in Australia for a while, but it's just one episode. We have more than enough counter-examples of Australians on our TV, and it's not pervasive enough that Americans will be constantly quoting "it's a bloody outrage" or carry on about boots. I know, because I'm there and they care a lot more about kangaroos :)

        But, as I said in my now moderated comment above (I stupidly edited it!), I'm completely unqualified to judge either way, because I'm a white guy who has never faced any real persecution in my life.

        For sure and i agree with how stereotypes are based upon elements of truth. Though i do have to disagree your statement on war against humour. A majority of comedians have voiced their concerns in interviews over it now, as i references before in particular with the case about the nazi pug. at the moment, Australia, Britain and Canada all have laws in regards to "hate crimes" and it's purely based on if someone was offended. I say "hate crimes" because if someone finds a crude joke to be offensive, the one saying the joke can be fined, penalised or jailed, that's literally crazy! Unfortunately the reality is, we are heading that way.

        I don't mind Hank giving his opinion on the character, but stating that he may retire playing Apu is essentially giving in. I don't mind if he wants to evolve the character and what not, (which they have been) But that's pandering to the minority, which unfortunately seems to be the case lately for a lot of things.

        Stephen Fry's quote comes to mind here which is "It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."

      It is absurd to think that humour depends on stereotypes, shock, mockery at infortunate happenings, and any other form of humour that you believe is being destroyed by "PC culture". Wit, wordplay, surreal, "what-if", situational misunderstanding and many other tools still remain in the arsenal of the comedian and they are by large more sophisticated and intelligent.

      If the only way you can get your laughs is by lowbrow caricaturing of people who are different from you, maybe it's time to ask yourself some hard questions about harmful biases and beliefs that you haven't noticed you hold.

        I never said humour was dependent on it, It's merely one form of humour in general. I like how you say that "I believe it's being destroyed" when it's literally happening! Google count dankula law case and you'll have your evidence. Or how about Canada's C-16 bill? Or Australia's 18C law. It's all there. No "what if, buts or maybes", it's literally now law.

        You've just proved my point, you clearly don't like that humour, fair enough, but you don't get to dictate what people can and can't enjoy when it comes to humour. If i want to enjoy lowbrow, edgy humour to either give or receive then I should be allowed to do so. Just because you don't enjoy it, doesn't mean it shouldn't exist.

          Hyperlighter, please do yourself an immense favour and familiarise yourself with Australia's 18D, which is the section that covers the "what ifs, buts or maybes" you seem certain do not exist, so that you do not come across as ignorant or simply out to cherrypick:

          "RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT 1975 - SECT 18D
          Exemptions
          Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:
          (a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or
          (b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or
          (c) in making or publishing:
          (i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or
          (ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment."

          Source: http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/rda1975202/s18d.html

          18C is designed to catch out genuine racial abuse, and we've had it since 1995.

          The most prominent and oft-cited case suggesting that it limits freedom of speech comes from the time a prominent conservative opinion piece author fell afoul of it nearly a decade ago when he wrote two articles suggesting that several fair-skinned Aboriginal people were only choosing to identify as Aboriginal for career and social advantages.

          The judge considered 18D in the case but noted that it couldn't apply because the articles contained "erroneous facts, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language" - in short the articles were not written "in good faith". If they had been (i.e.: if the author had done his homework and actually presented facts rather than shock, spin and supposition) the author would not have lost the case.

          The judge also noted that the impact on free speech was no different to what it might have been had he been sued for defamation, which he could have been had those affected by his work chosen to pursue that legal option instead.

            Valid points to bring up for 18D. It's a double edged sword/legislation. fortunately and in case unfortunately, it comes down to the judge who sets the precedent. It's hard because humour on the one hand can be seen as artistic and a performance piece, but that's also subjected towards what that person may feel. It's quite interesting to see how far it will go. 18C and 18D have been around for 20 years but now we are entering this new phase of political correctness so it will be interesting to see the push for any legislative change. It comes down to two things really for 18D, which is good faith and done reasonably. The only other thing that i'll say is that 18D legislation talks on freedom of speech, but Australia actually doesn't have any legislation on freedom of speech.

          I'm not getting you, sorry. First, you say that you "never said that humour was dependent on it", but immediately reaffirm your belief that humour is "being destroyed". So what is it? if humour is not dependent on lowbrow stereotypes then their removal is not destroying humour.

          The second paragraph is meaningless too as the matter is not about my "enjoyment" of such humour: If your enjoyment is causing harm or distress to others, well it is too bad for you, not for them. They don't get to suffer in order to keep giving you cheap laughs. You get to learn to enjoy forms of humour that are not harmful to others, instead.

          Just think about it this way: If someone gets their kicks from punching you in the face, should you shut up and take it because your not "enjoying" their form of enjoyment doesn't mean that it shouldn't exist?

            So humour isn't solely reliant on stereotypes, as we both know, humour is broad and boundless by context and content. So in that regard, stereotype humour is just one aspect of humour as a whole. But just because people are offended by stereotype humour, doesn't mean it should be destroyed, which unfortunately, it is. Humour as a whole might not be gone, but i personally don't want to see any of it killed off, regardless of how dark or edgy it may be.

            Incorrect, there's plenty of meaning behind it, you just don't agree with it. Also, incorrect again, it's not too bad for me, it's too bad for them. I'm not going to change my opinions or humour because people can become offended. They might find it uncomfortable but in no way are they suffering.

            Your example is way off the mark. You're comparing physical violence to words. Of course physical violence isn't a joke in real life, that's extreme. Words are just that, words. If people get offended by that then that's just unlucky for them.

            Last edited 27/04/18 12:37 am

              Look, man (ma'am?). What you are not getting is that the only justification you keep giving me for such humour to keep existing is that /you/ personally enjoy it. But that doesn't make it right! Lots of people enjoy things that are directly or indirectly harmful to others; again, that doesn't mean that their enjoyment should take prevalence over the dignity or feelings of others. Or put in another way: if I tell you that minorities "enjoy" not being caricatured or ridiculed, shouldn't this enjoyment be protected too? Who are you to believe that your enjoyment is more important?

              And if you believe that "words are just words" you have never been on the wrong end of true verbal abuse, nor have been discriminated or ridiculed. And I'm not talking about a silly joke or two made at your expense; I'm talking about systemic, entrenched ways of thinking that consciously or subconsciously affect the way people regard you or interact with you.

            So humour isn't solely reliant on stereotypes, as we both know, humour is broad and boundless by context and content. So in that regard, stereotype humour is just one aspect of humour as a whole. But just because people are offended by stereotype humour, doesn't mean it should be destroyed, which unfortunately, it is. Humour as a whole might not be gone, but i personally don't want to see any of it killed off, regardless of how dark or edgy it may be.

            Incorrect, there's plenty of meaning behind it, you just don't agree with it. Also, incorrect again, it's not too bad for me, it's too bad for them. I'm not going to change my opinions or humour because people can become offended. They might find it uncomfortable but in no way are they suffering.

            Your example is way off the mark. You're comparing physical violence to words. Of course physical violence isn't a joke in real life, that's extreme. Words are just that, words. If people get offended by that then that's just unlucky for them.

              Also, yes, it is very lucky of you and unlucky of them that you were born among the ones who get to laugh and them among the ones to get offended. Unluckier, even is the fact that when people like you are being told how this is harmful, you get to shrug and say "whatever, I'm going to keep laughing at them. They can always, just don't get offended, I guess?" placing the burden on the victims just because giving up a base type of humour is one of the many privileges that you have and aren't capable of letting go, regardless who gets hurt.

                You're making a lot of accusation, I know exactly what you're saying, i just don't agree with it, nor do i care. You want to get rid of a certain type of humour, i understand your justification that it can hurt peoples feelings, but you know what? I honestly don't care. I'm not offended by anything related to my culture (anglo-celtic). I shouldn't need to give up what i find as humour if it in part doesn't physically hurt anyone. The people that are offended need not listen or watch said humour. You're whole argument is to defend people who are thin skinned and can't take a joke. I'm against verbal harassment or bullying, but you seem to connect simple comedy with oppression and suppression. Also you call them minorities, i didn't realise 1.2 billion Indian's in the world counted as a minority...

                I've seen you reply a few times to different peoples comments now and i'm wondering, are you offended by this humour? are you of Indian culture that this directly offends? or are you just trying to be social justice warrior?

                  You still don't get it. It's not about optional taking offense by the people being ridiculed. It's about how it shapes the thoughts and attitudes of those who the humour is targeted to. So what is the use if every stereotyped minority decides to unsubscribe and look away of every possible source of ridicule and caricaturing, if those who are making sport of them get to shape the way how others like them see those minorities? What's the use of minorities avoiding harmful representations of themselves, say, implications that they are stupid, lazy, gross, or any of the many other facile flaws and vices that majorities like to assign to people who are different, if all the people who do choose to be "entertained" by such material are going to adopt those beliefs and incorporate them into their behaviour when interacting with the stereotyped people?

                  And yes, I use the word "minorities" don't give me ridiculous semantics or technicalities. You very well know as much as I do that a minority is defined by their representation among a given group of people, often one delimited by geographical borders.

                  But yeah, I do get that you don't care. You indulgently allow yourself any behaviour that falls short of direct physical violence, as permissible and if anybody get harmed by it, well it's their problem, isn't it? Especially when you yourself are an exemplar of stoic courage, enduring valiantly all the stereotypes historically associated in popular media with your race, such as being strong, wise, the hero of the day, a conqueror and or/king, a saviour, etc. How come you don't get offended at all those stereotypes!? It's not like is your fault that you were born in such noble heritage instead in one of those silly, laughable little other races that exist for your amusement and they better like it, uh?

                  As for your last question... what's the point of answering? If I say that I'm part of a ridiculed minority you'll call me thin-skinned and whiny. If I say I am not, you'll say that I'm a virtue-signaling SJW. You have already set yourself as the only valid standard: if you say something is worthy and funny, it just is and whoever disagrees, well, they are objectively wrong.

        "If the only way you can get your laughs is by lowbrow caricaturing of people who are different from you, maybe it's time to ask yourself some hard questions about harmful biases and beliefs that you haven't noticed you hold."

        You realise the Simpsons is based around the 'typical white suburban family', right?

        30 years of people laughing at me. This needs to stop.

          You realise the Simpsons is based around the 'typical white suburban family', right?

          This is false. Groening intentionally created a dysfunctional family. There is some generalised satire regarding the working middle class, but that is no racially weighted in any way.

            It seems that the reply button won't work on our last conversation so here it is. You're making them out to be victims that are incapable of defending themselves. But they're literally not minorities, it's not semantics or technicalities, it's the truth. You want to know what a minority group is, here's one, Eskimo's, inuit's. Not Indians! But thanks for saying i have stoic courage, that's quite the ego boost! Also the reason i don't get offended, by anything, it's because i can take a joke. As stated, there's a different between the simpsons providing humour, as opposed to using racial abuse in bullying and passing it off as a joke. As an Irish we get lumped as potato eating drunks that beat their wives. But that's just a joke! We can laugh at that, not become offended.

            Ahh so your're an SJW, makes sense. I don't set the standards, I just point out the hypocrisy of whiny SJW's trying to white knight themselves into society. Good luck Fam

              Yeah, the reply button stops working after a comment thread has reached a certain limit of indents.

              First off, It seems that you hardly read my last message because you keep saying what you were saying before and which I addressed in that post: It's not about getting offended or not. You can take a joke? Good for you! Though that's hardly an achievement: I can agree with you that a joke has a very low capacity for /direct/ harm (unless the person allows it--what you call being thin-skinned).

              The problem, and here I have to start repeating myself so I entreat you to read it this time, is the way in which it shapes the way that people receiving and enjoying such humour sees the people being maligned or ridiculed. I know the Irish jokes, but frankly, I hear them very infrequently. Think for a minute what would happen if that stereotype was much more blown up and every single non-Irish stranger you meet makes a snide comment about your wife first time they see you. It'd get tiring after the first few hundred times no? Now think what would happen if, beyond annoying commentary, they also adjusted their attitudes and actions towards you. Your wife looks a bit under the weather? Maybe they call the police because man, you surely are beating her, you know, because Irish. Or maybe a prospective employer consciously or subconsciously checks you out during an interview, because, ugh this guy's surely going to be a daylight drunkard, or something like that.

              Are you following me so far? When I say that stereotypes have the power to harm I'm not talking about "offending" or feelings or anything of that. I'm talking about contributing to normalise false, damaging expectations on groups of people (i.e. racism) among the people who are the /target/ of the humour, the people laughing.

              Second. You really don't understand the term "minority". Is not about the total people in the world. It's about proportionate representation within arbitrary limits. Even though Ireland is a small country, 10 Chinese (the most populous folk in the world) would be a minority of people in there. And although there are millions of Irish, if you went to live with an indigenous tribe counting less than 100 people, you'd be a minority there. It's really so simple that I'm ashamed for us both that I have to spell this out.

              Third, good job picking the possibility that allowed you the most contemptuous and self-validating dismissal, but you're wrong. Although I am no wounded in any way by being called an SJW, I'm actually a national of a very maligned country so I know what I am talking about when I mentioned above getting a snide comment from every single stranger (alright, 95% of them) I meet upon telling them where I'm from.

            The typical white suburban family IS dysfunctional.

            You really are clutching at straws.

              The typical white suburban family IS dysfunctional.

              Haha, according to what? Your own opinion? This is as simple to rebuke as pointing the fact that most other families portrayed (seldom) in the Simpsons are perfectly functional. Much of the humour of the Simpsons is derived from the fact that every single of those family members rubs against each other and the surrounding "normal" society" in every possible way. Homer alone is such a surreal, cartoony personality that you are the first person I've ever heard pretending that it's a representation of a typical white American father of family. From time to time there's some satire poking fun at some typical behaviours or attitudes of such people? Sure. A stereotype (what we're talking about here)? The sole notion is absurd.

    I wonder if deadpool will be next to cop it?

      Already has, the deadpool cartoon got shutdown due to edgy topics, and what broke the camels back was a joke about Taylor Swift...

    I'm surprised this show is still even running. its been crap for a very long time. who is watching still?

    We've entered a bizarre new world where characters with yellow hands and three fingers are now our guiding light on how we should be treating people.

    Not to mention, I could walk into a 7/11 and find a very accurate representation of Apu in 99% of them.

      I'm curious. Accurate in which way, besides, you know, being brown?

        Because Apu is a stereotype for a reason: Those types of people exist in real life. A lot of people you would see in 7/11 are of an African/Sri Lankan/South Asian decent, came over on student visas and are working there to pay off student loans, work for below minimum wage, actually say "Thank you, come again", some also have blind arranged marriages too.

          Alright, so we have African and Sri Lankans (in addition to the obvious Apu reference, Indians), some of which are on student visas and some of those working to pay debts. Oh And some have arranged marriages. It seems to me that it is only a stereotype the vaguer or more encompassing the commonalities and the more exceptions allowed as only /some/ of them being one way or another. So that stereotype is actually very different from Apu's stereotype even without addressing the individual differences... and yet here I have two people here saying that Apu's stereotype is "accurate". Maybe you start seeing my point?

          Stereotypes are facile and cheap caricatures of groups of people that may share a few traits or circumstances not among the whole but with some of the others. Stereotypes are, thus, harmful because they become the sole referent in people's minds to quickly categorize people regardless of the actual accuracy of the representation, all while feeling that it is accurate. One example, relevant to the case in question: if you believe that Apu is an accurate representation of most foreign convenience store clerks, your mind will subconsciously inform you that they are likely to be superstitious and somewhat low-intelligence, and maybe a bit dishonest in petty matters, the lot of them. This will condition the way you act and react in their presence and the way you interpret interactions, and so it goes.

      That's a very limited demographic. For every student you see at your local 7/11 there are plenty more Indians with well-paying jobs. They speak fluent english in accents that don't sound like the average stereotype and none of them would take too kindly to being compared to Apu.

      Characters like Apu allow narrow stereotypes to persist in a way that warps how we perceive Indians in general. If this issue is difficult to appreciate, recall the episode where the Simpsons visited Australia and all the one dimensional stereotypes they encountered. It was hilarious, but if those characters persisted throughout the series the show would have you believe that Australians drink nothing but beer and speak in a thick crocodile-dundee drawl. Is that portrayal accurate? For some Australians, maybe. For the vast majority, not at all.

    Seriously though, no one gives a fuck. It’s the Simpsons. Can everyone please relax.

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