With #Ladies Choice, we are giving women more control of their dating experience.We are enabling them to re-focus their time and energy on men who are serious about taking the next step.It was then that we realized it was not normal to be surrounded by Indian kids or Colombian kids. I went to school with a bunch of Malayali kids, and a lot of them were Christian converts. But after the first day of school, I came home and asked my mom why do I have this name? But she was like, how can you even say a thing like that? The other guy in the band is Punjabi, though he could speak Spanish, so he could front like he was Dominican, maybe. But anyways, people thought all of us were Indian at some point, too. The country lives in a black white duality, which doesn’t even demographically make sense any more. I thought everybody knows that that’s not a thing you do.So we’d have little hand symbols — it looked like what you’d throw up for “west side,” but it was actually for white kids. They had a particular naming system, and the names would be like, John John or Thomas John, a lot of similar first and last names. When I got a little older, when I had a crush on some white girl, I’d think about how when she was imagining her boyfriend, it definitely wasn’t some Indian dude. First of all, I remember when the Indians in Jackson heights were like, “Oh no, Colombians are moving in.” Das Racist always used to get pegged as racially ambiguous. I’m the least racially ambiguous human in the world. The other dude was Afro-Cuban and Italian had long hair and beard and he looks Sikh. A lot of that has to do with our country’s obsession with black people and black culture and constant appropriation and misappropriation. I’m not going to say it was particularly hard to be an Indian in hip hop, but people would say crazy things. But usually I just start talking to them about whatever food they said and my experiences with it.Despite being self-conscious over using a knife and fork — “Dude, I never used knives growing up. I think he was very briefly in a place called Independence, La., with his brothers. Then he came to New York and lived in Brooklyn Heights and then Elmhurst. My mom came in 1981, and my brother was born in 1982. The thing that I should have expected and will always expect from now on was the huge amount of Indian backlash, which was exactly in line with the mainstream white response. But then we moved deeper into Queens, to Floral Park, which is on the border of Nassau County that was pretty middle-class Jewish at the time.My parents don’t use forks” — he talked candidly with us about racial dynamics in Queens, why his relatives in India think he and his brother, Hari, are singers and lawyers, and why he’ll probably never leave New York. One of my parents is from Andhra Pradesh and one is from Telangana. Like, “I’m Indian and I think you should stop being a crybaby.” It’s such a classic Indian move of hedging your bets and aligning yourself with mainstream sentiment. It was Long-Island-y white people, if you know what that means.And sometimes I’ll feel excluded from that, which really annoys me. You’re bringing your out of town race shit to New York and you’re self-segregating in your stupid little bars and venues and your crappy fucking coffee shops and restaurants. Because of the privilege of living in NY, I don’t feel that racism that often. I could live in Seattle for a decent period of time. Choi Amy is co-founder and editorial director of The Mash-Up Americans.I feel excluded from that, which sucks, because dude. That was the first place I went outside of New York. When I go to other places, I’m a weird guy, just walking around. She specializes in getting people to tell stories they never expected to share.
Ashok Kondabolu, the Indian-American podcaster, personality, and former hype man for Das Racist, a groundbreaking not-at-all-racially-ambiguous rap group, sat down for lunch with The Mash-Up Americans. Me and my brother and another dude were the three people who really made it an issue and forced an apology. There was the classic “Stop being so sensitive, quit being the PC cops.” Basically white guys who were like, “I hate when people complain about racism and I want to say what I want to say.” I expect that and I don’t take it personally. We started out in Jackson Heights, where being white wasn’t a cool thing to be.
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And I was like shit, this would be way easier if I were white. Stand up comedian and hype man/dancer don’t translate in Indian. So my brother became a lawyer and I became a singer to my family. Sometimes it would be like, “What’s the deal with the dot? Once I was in this movie called “Dosa Hunt,” but in this video, there’s an Iranian, a Mexican and a bunch of north Indian kids.
Which is something I still think constantly all the time. They would have never thought of talking about dating. When I was 23, or 24, so already a dude for many years, my parents got wind of some girl I was going out with. ” Then there’s the classic joke, which is not funny, like, “I like the women and I like the food, but I don’t like anything else.” Which is a lot of people’s attitudes towards other people’s races. I was the only one in the video who grew up eating dosa.