Kal Penn Gives Joel Stein a Beating; Indian People Becoming the Butt of Internet’s Jokes


In the latest issue of Time magazine, comedic writer Joel Stein does a profoundly unfunny bit about how families from India have descended upon the New Jersey town where he grew up. “The A&P I shoplifted from is now an Indian grocery. The multiplex where we snuck into R-rated movies now shows only Bollywood films and serves samosas,” he writes. It is more than a little xenophobic! He has since apologized, but not before Kal “Kumar, Not Harold” Penn shot back a response on the Huffington Post. But more importantly, what’s up with committing editorial hate crimes against Indian people lately? We already went through this!

It has barely been a month since Andrea Miller showed off her cultural insensitivity with the advice column “How to Date an Indian (Advice for the Non-Indian),” in which she praised all Indian men as “innately gracious, social creatures” who “love to dance” (italics hers). The piece would have been offensive were it not so inane.

In response, Neel Shah offered his own advice at The Awl: “How To Date A White Bitch (Advice For The Non-White Dude).” He offered tips like, “White bitches love eating stupid foods like Brie in stupid places like Central Park.” Everyone got the point.

Or did they! Because next thing you know, Time runs junk like this:

[I]f you look at the current Facebook photos of students at my old high school, J.P. Stevens, which would be very creepy of you, you’ll see that, while the population seems at least half Indian, a lot of them look like the Italian Guidos I grew up with in the 1980s: gold chains, gelled hair, unbuttoned shirts. In fact, they are called Guindians.

Penn’s rebuttal is pretty good:

Gags about impossibly spicy food? I’d never heard those before! Multiple Gods with multiple arms? Multiple laughs! Recounting racial slurs like “dot-head”? Oh, Mr. Stein, is too good!

But is this the beginning of a larger problem? Have white people in magazines and on the Internet run out of targets or, for some reason, agreed to stop attacking one another? Why Indians? Here’s a guess, in the aforementioned style: Whiteys are lazy. Or maybe just columnists.