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Disappointed in recent rise of Indian Accents being used for comedic purposes

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  • Disappointed in recent rise of Indian Accents being used for comedic purposes

    Had the pleasure of watching two fantastic teams during regionals. Unfortunately, I noticed that both of them used a very tired, and honestly, incredibly racist trope for a character witness. They both made a character witness speak with an Indian accent purely for comedic purposes. Jokes delivered by that witness were oftentimes based on the witness’s understanding of the attorney’s English. As an American-born Indian sitting in that courtroom, I was upset to find out that neither of the people putting on that accent actually spoke with that accent in real life. I have had points in my mock trial career where judges told me that I would have earned more points had I ‘embraced [my] Indian heritage more’ and ‘taken advantage of ‘[my] people’s’ accent’. It is frustrating to have racist stereotypes perpetrated by such otherwise fantastic teams with no discussion of the racist overtones displayed by witnesses like this.

    bengarmoe , you coach one such team. What is your reasoning for allowing this?

  • #2
    what a triggered lib LUL #MAGA

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    • #3
      BenShapiro How much time do you have on your hands, that you make joke accounts just to derail conversations like this?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BenShapiro View Post
        what a triggered lib LUL #MAGA
        ew.

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        • #5
          Fellow brown man here with my 2 cents:

          I think OP makes a great point. While a lot of brown people don't understand the harm of stereotypes or think they are entitled to using the stereotypes that have so often been hurled against them, the sad fact is that at the end of the day these portrayals are enabling stereotypes. The whole reason it gets points is because judges feel comfortable around Indian people being goofy, referencing obvious aspects of their culture, and not understanding trends: these stereotypical portrayals are what the judges are expecting when they see a brown person. If you look at entertainment you will notice a lack of well-rounded brown people. I would recommend watching the Masters of None episode "Indians On TV" where the main character Dev has a hard time getting cast because he doesn't want to use an Indian accent. Yeah, Aziz Ansari is problematic, but the episode lays out a ton of examples of brown people in media and how the portrayals of them are crude.

          I'm not always offended by the portrayal but I have seen a very powerful west coast mock team (think Nats favorite) with powerful brown mockers almost exclusively rely on disgusting stereotypes. Without fail their brown men will do an indian accent as a witness. The worst thing I've seen was one playing an indian Charley Waters that did song covers, with a horrible, horrible example being "My Heart Will Curry On." No, brown people don't talk about rice and curry every time. Yes, it wins points and awards. I think these individuals need to think about whether or not giving the judges what they expect is really worth it for the awards and ballots when really they are just undercutting their own race. I hope these individuals regret the way they played the witnesses when they are older and wiser and the awards dont matter as much.

          ...

          That being said, I don't think there's anything inherently offensive as an accent. Brown parents really do sound like that sometimes and it can be quite funny even in real life. But they are real people with multiple layers, their entire personality isn't an accent.

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          • #6
            BustDownMockiana (first off, killer username)
            I really like the points you make, and absolutely do agree with the last paragraph of your comment. I don’t think using an accent is offensive IF there are other things setting you apart. If the witness’s jokes are solely based off of their understanding of English or their way of speaking, however, I would argue that the accent is being used as a prop in place of an actual personality, and is, at the very least, reducing the accent to comic relief.

            Thanks so much for your comment, though. You made the point so much better than I could have.

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