Comedian Hari Kondabolu talks South Asians' problematic representation in media

Kondabolu explains how one beloved cartoon character helped shape South Asians' image around the globe.
7:42 | 11/15/17

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Transcript for Comedian Hari Kondabolu talks South Asians' problematic representation in media
Can have wind welcome. I. Kind of balloon we have thank you hurry comfortable low there has been. Can't name a little bit ahead of its musical ideas that dilemma keep saying it that and so Tinsley dealt an act gets you will get access yeah yeah yeah. Not high. What what started all of this what what started this I used to rent TV's local totally biased with my friend W canal belt remain there. And Kamal used to have his writers do some of the bits on the show crash but does he wanted us to have authentic points of view on the ship righted so Mindy killing was getting any show. I wanted to write about it but I wanted to talk a but the history. A South Asian representational and I felt that was really corny like how people talk about the stuff all the time why am I repeating it and canals and what are you talking about like. You in your community have talked about this for 25 years nobody else thinks about it. And when the clip went online and went viral ambulance there was something. Deeper in this and especially in the who part because the Simpsons is is global show it and it's our biggest representation and up who's the only representation we had the south Asians. For at least fifteen to twenty years in a lot of television and in the gold medal Maryland and world via. Yeah and I can you know I'm myself included I don't think people knew that it was voiced by a white actor yes. And how significantly it affected your community yes you grew up in Queens how were you affected by this characterization. You know it's funny I feel like queens is like the most diverse place in the world I've filled. I'm. Whenever people talk about like a future with multiple languages. And different cultures and we used a McQueen. Like how sad and I mean though they'll big he'll be fine in the food's going to be better loaded into the good. And I feel like growing up there I didn't feel like I was a minority in the same way because I wasn't let go ahead the whole world there. And I think a lot of people of color than we have a point I would say probably all of us where we realize that oh we're person of color. Thank you get racial lies and for me it wasn't necessarily through my community because we were all from somewhere rack it was watching the media and realizing hey nobody in my community is on TV yes is this is a clue Iraq. And I went to college in Maine and that was a big include. Can I ask. Live want to box he's very talented guy Derry tell ten area voices apple and US and to be in the documentary declined. Yes I mean it's funny had actually a phone conversation. You know we. Not on cameras is between us and is changing emails and he was really callais and you know when I was on the phone with them I was like become a huge Simpson stands I was fanning out in anybody's cops to the stereotype that is opera right. It is his as yet says it's a stereotypical boy is seen who's asked to do indeed he acknowledges stereotypical and but I don't think they expect it to go thirty years. You know it'd probably expected to go ahead hectares. And now all of sudden you have this like this fossil on television who isn't like it is like he's trapped in amber it doesn't make sense in this Arab. Let's say they contend his occupation or whatever that's not why don't say it let him growing and he in the documentary Alter the document analytical Kane wears tank wears tank but he declined in Florida when we're on the phone you know what one thing he says he felt uncomfortable day give me controlling the edit. Which of dented some idea of someone else controlling your image is very privileged but like. There was something to that. He said that aren't out yet. But he said that like you know we did it done fresh air with Terry Gross hourly tip of mark American public a bigger forum. Then at least I would be held accountable and I suggest because I think the film was about accountability yet the film is of an open communication. The film is about these bigger issues and I think that it would have been great to show an example of two adults who have a disagreement. Even if it's a small one even this is the biggest issue in the world but it's something that we could have had. A really nice dialogue about so it kind of bummed me out when at the end of the day he still said no it's I think it's and it. They don't want somebody makes you aware of something yet it's hard to be unaware of that it yes and so you have to. It figure out how are you gonna role when that but I you know. It's a missed opportunity I think for I'm in many ways but. Book we didn't miss the opportunity because you're in the film yet and why did she think having that point of view. Was important to this film I won a black while most talked about the men stroll arrow out yeah. I feel it we need so have contexts. You know for for a when we talk about things like news like this is an isolated the idea of south Asians in Ian being these caricatures and a comes at the history of minstrel see in this country and we were talking you have. The collection black Americana which you call you negro billion collection jacket I'm. Which I had to ask you multiple times if I was allowed to say that if and when made me hysterical because you know we what you know we were color yeah. Then we would negro say. And somehow people forgot about the need raw and has become a band where. It's not call Mott collection need well BA you can't. You know I mean hostages I don't see us and a and you have to know how well it doesn't offend me because it's what it was is not what it is. Yeah and that's why am cool is sell and what that's why this conversation out of 99%. Of us never thought about it. Yet unless we work salvation we didn't notice that someone else was gone through and Massa hope white and the thing that. How he also says is this is not about the cents cents brain this is bigger than a sense says this is about. How we interact with each other and why we don't see when armed. Brother or sister it isn't missing let's not someone I was so that's led to stick up his south yeah you're right your Twitter page up there has filled with people saying that you're angry you're too sensitive to politically correct at a glance and that. Most of the people who say that about the film haven't seen the film. And most of the people that say that about me just heard about me about two days ago there. Another way to have this. It's something that no will be we were we an event assembled piece of this last night when people say things a politically correct that just means oh you're just the so we're finally standing up for them yes. Present past and he did but I want to point your mom out because I was told him used to say that you guy allowed your humor. Beaulieu start her season and the director. It was thinking it was he funny as a kid. Is sometimes think. I happen. Six and therein are accurate but yeah hopeful and being. We believe we did reach out to the Simpsons and they say they have no comment but going back to and use that would be you use it's not about the Simpsons and it's also about. The people that are at the room at the table yes NATO's decision yeah ends you by that. I mean this was created by a white male writers read so it's the idea that like someone else controls are image yet and I think that's what we all want but the people of color women of BTQ community the ability to control our own image so we have controlling your image 'cause we love you we want you to come back anytime act thanks to Harry got.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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