#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: I am not Invisible – An Indian American experience

Kav

Hello Hello! I’m still on hiatus but this is an important blog post for AAPI month. I also wanted to mention that this post is a little different since Kav is a Booktuber and not a Book blogger but I still wanted to have them on my blog because they’re awesome.

When you hear the word ‘Asia,’ what do you think of?

More likely than not, people think of China or some other East Asian country. Rarely do people acknowledge the amount of countries in Asia and how this focus on one part of the continent erases so many places – Central Asian countries, Southeast Asian countries, and South Asian countries.

How can I expect media to see people like me when society doesn’t even acknowledge our existence?

Today, I want to discuss the erasure of India in society. Before I start, I want to clarify that I am not saying these other countries don’t deserve to be seen, but we can’t pick and choose which countries we see and which we ignore. I also want to acknowledge that there are multiple other countries this happens to, but as an Indian-American, I am much more hypersensitive to issues pertaining to my country.

Let’s go back to the opening of this post.

When most people talk about Asia or Asian people, they are referring to East Asia or East Asian people, or in the case that they’re not, people assume they are. Asia is a rich continent encompassing a multitude of different countries with rich histories and beautiful cultures, and to simplify this and erase the overwhelming beauty of this country is wrong.

India itself is huge – it is a subcontinent for a reason. Within India, there are also a multitude of different cultures that include different types of cuisine, fashion, languages, and more. Very few non-Indian people know this because India is always summarized into the most basic stereotype of a poor, filthy country whose people travel to America with over-exaggerated accents and are cringey math nerds.

That’s not India.

Are there poor parts of India? Yes. Exactly as there are in every other country.

Are there people with accents from India? Yes. My parents have Indian accents, real Indian accents that aren’t the over-exaggerated ones you see on T.V. for comedic enjoyment.

Are there math nerds in India? Yes. Just like there are math nerds of every skin color in the world.

India can not be simplified into any of the stereotypes Western society tries to force us into because India is not even seen properly by Western society. Take a look at the shows you watch. More often than not, the one Asian character, who is rarely Indian, is a nerd or is used for comedic appeal.

Now, is bad rep better than no rep? That’s a different conversation.

The fact of the matter is that media only gives us those two options – bad rep or no rep. While we could analyze media’s treatment of Indian characters, we have to acknowledge why Indian characters are treated this way. Indian characters are treated this way because media doesn’t actually know anything about India due to our constant erasure.

When I joined the diverse book bloggers, I was made a promise that no one else had ever given me. I was given a promise that I would be seen for all aspects of myself, including my skin color. I was given a promise that the issues with bad rep and no rep would extend to people like me.

This promise was a lie.

The activism of many members of the book community doesn’t extend to people of color in general, let alone to me as an Indian teen. India is just as erased by certain members of this community as in the bigger picture of society.

And that needs to stop.


Kav Sig

 

Booktuber @ x Reading Solace x

Kav is a 16-year old booktuber and co-host of Prideathon and Book Bound Society who loves media, books, and social justice. They are frequently active on Twitter and YouTube talking about a combination of book-related and social justice-related topics. They enjoy fawning over James Carstairs, playing with their pets, consuming too much caffeine, and interacting with members of the book community.

Noteable videos:

Diverse Book Bloggers Discuss is a way to boost diverse bloggers who are brilliant and have a lot to say but have smaller platforms and don’t really get as much reach as they deserve. What this is, is basically a guest post feature where twice a month diverse book bloggers will discuss things they are passionate about on my blog. 

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13 thoughts on “#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: I am not Invisible – An Indian American experience

  1. I’m Indian, and you putting up this post means a lot to me ❤️ I agree with everything on here, especially the part about us having only the option of bad rep or no rep. That needs to change soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is important to talk about these problems to fix them. I know a little about India but I know there is more I don’t know and the media often doesn’t rep most groups well. Any time you use a stereotype in a show or book, it won’t be accurate, and the media does do this.

    Like

  3. I’m Indian and I agree with everything you’ve said! I scour Goodreads, searching for young adult books with Indian MC’s but they’re so rare! With our population being more than a billion, it’s weird that the media still doesn’t portray us properly.

    Like

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  6. This is such an important topic! Being an Indian teen myself I totally get what you are saying. As a child I used to hear that when we talk about Asia India isn’t included, it’s just different. And now present day I feel like giving those people a lecture. Indians face so many stereotypes and bad reps that it’s really discouraging!

    It really needs to change and sometimes I wonder if we book bloggers can do anything about it

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing your perspective and truth! It’s definitely true that representation needs to change for the better and the only way that’ll happen is when we put such criticism out in to the world – especially online. It lets publishers, script writers, producers, marketers, and anyone producing content in a public sphere, know that they’ve gotta do better and hire diversely and inclusively so other people can share their truth, just like you!

    Like

  8. I totally feel you. I am a Pakistani American, and my experience is never at all talked about in media (and if it is, it’s not a good thing). I write about the dangers of erasing our identities in the media in my blog a lot, I hope you’ll take a look! (And if you ever need another Diverse Book Blogger, I’d love to join you!🤓)

    Liked by 1 person

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