Hasan Minhaj has surged his way to the top in America’s comedy circles while staying true to his desi roots. The comedian recently got together with a couple of desi teenagers and imparted his wisdom on how to hold on to traditions while also letting go of some toxic parts of them – here, he is referring to the toxic aspects of the South Asian culture. Because let’s be honest, the usage of words like “kala” are unfortunately very very common in our society. And the whole obsession of the South Asian society with fairness creams and wanting to be gora speaks volumes of our ingrained racism.
Minhaj gave advice on how to talk to older members on anti-Black sentiments running deep within the South Asian families, saying: “It’s very prevalent in our community and I think these uncomfortable conversations we have in our living rooms are really, really important.”
“I think coming at it from a place of, ‘Hey, you’re a member of my family. I love you. I’m not trying to tear down your character or who you are as a person. This is just an important thing to talk about.’
“There’s a difference between ignorance and abject hatred. And for the most part, I think a lot of people aren’t filled with hatred. There’s just a lot of ignorance. Don’t let things just ratchet up to yelling or screaming. Nothing good ever comes out of that,” he added.
It is important to have these conversations with our elders while remembering to be kind, and polite. You can’t fight hate with hate – love is the only way forward.
Speaking about breaking the unconventional rules strictly followed by parents in a brown household, Minhaj said: “I’m a softie. I thought I would be hardcore, I thought I’d be strict but I am not. We had this no iPad rule. Beena was like ‘No iPad!’ and I was also like ‘Yeah! No iPad!’ And then my daughter started crying and she was like, ‘Please! Can I please have it?’ And I was like if she is polite, just give her what she wants. Can’t we honour being polite?”
Regarding his future aspirations of falling into the desi stereotypes as an adult, the former Daily Show correspondent said: “I cannot wait to go full desi uncle. I want the gut. I want the full E.T. body.
“Skinny arms, gut, mustache, cricket on in the background, not listening to any family members, forwarding conspiracy theories on WhatsApp, eating pistachios, almonds and mango all the time, blaring ghazals in the car. I’m already a step or two there.”