Another response to Star Trek Voyager: Chakotay:
>> Why aren't white characters ever referred to as stereotypical? Irish tempers...Scottish fondness for drinks and pranks...What ISN'T stereotypical on television, in books, or on big screens? <<
Italians, Jews, Hispanics, and Arabs are among the ethnic groups who have protested their depictions in the media. I'm not sure the Irish or Scottish appear often enough for their appearances to reach a critical mass.
A lot of TV shows—ER, West Wing, Law & Order—are good at avoiding stereotypes. But I'm sure anyone could collect stereotypes for their group just as I'm doing for Indians. They aren't hard to find.
The universality of stereotyping is exactly my point. The stereotypes we have of Indians are similar to those we have of blacks, Jews, and any foreigners. They've all been the "other" at one time or another—the insidious threat that justifies our oppressive reactions.
If people see one set of stereotypes and realize they're universal, maybe they'll start thinking about how we stereotype people in general. And maybe they'll stop doing it. This educational approach is about the only approach I've seen that's likely to work. I haven't seen another approach do any better, anyway.
TV shows featuring Indians
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