Stereotypes Essay

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Stereotype TV show episode: Russell Peters “Indians don’t do physical work”

Russell Peters is a widely known American stand-up comedian, and many of his shows have been broadcasted and shown on TV. At the same time, many of his jokes have sparked controversy because of his many stereotypical themes. In this short clip, Russell is up on stage discussing a recent trip to South Africa, where he said that he was surprised to see many Indians there. He finds out that is because South Africans used to transport Indians from India as slaves. The stereotyping comes in here: Russell starts on a racial aspect of this discovery, wondering why people would want to use Indians as slaves because of their general tendency of laziness, and the fact that none of them do physical work. Then he starts acting out examples, such as an Indian man who refuses to work in the fields and a lazy Indian hockey player, “This is why you don’t see any Indian athletes!”, all in a mocking Indian accent.

Although Russell is using this stereotype in a light-hearted, comedic aspect, he suggests that all Indians, or at least the vast majority, don’t like physical labor and won’t work hard, often pushing away the workload to someone else. He’s judging the Indian group very simply as a whole without really meeting other Indians properly (he’s even Indian himself), and that is most certainly stereotyping.

Undoubtedly, this type of ‘joke’ stereotyping can be dangerous, but not too evident in the beginning. Our brains are unfortunately hard-wired to stereotype people by gender, race, religion, etc, so after listening to this type of joke, at least some others will be indirectly influenced to think that Indians are typically lazy, especially children; they like to copy others and are very easily influenced. So taking this sort of stereotyping in very young can mislead their thinking in the future, leading to discrimination (not choosing an Indian partner for school projects because they ‘might’...
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