"Representation and the demand for representation for people of color is louder."
The topic of The Simpsons character Apu has been an ongoing discussion lately even though the loveable store manager was introduced to the show over 30 years ago. When watching the series, it makes sense as to why people are questioning the show's creators since Apu is a stereotypical portrayal of South Asians. Just as many race stereotypes, you can never quite get it or feel it unless you are of the race that's being stereotyped. Quantico actress Priyanka Chopra recently paid a visit to The View to discuss Apu saying it was "the bane" of her childhood.
“[Apu] was the bane of my life, growing up,” she told the ladies of the show. “There’s a couple of things, like a lot of people are talking about, ‘Oh, the show is so successful for 30 years, why are we suddenly waking up and being offended by a character that everyone loved?’ People say that The Simpsons makes fun of every race, they talk about stereotypical characters—every character is stereotypical—which is true, but…the show aired, I think, in ’89, and it was path-breaking at that time for television."
She detailed how Apu stood out because everyone else on the show is yellow except him and "he had the accent, and not all of us speak like that."
“The population of Indian Americans in America has tripled since that time,” she added. “So the voice is louder. Representation and the demand for representation for people of color is louder. There’s the internet and the media where people can have a conversation—and even if someone was offended at that time, which I was, I was always asked…did I find gold in my rivers, did we go to school on elephants. I always had questions like that. So I think yes, it is a time where we try and erase stereotypes. Yes, it’s a cartoon, yes, it’s a pop culturally super-successful show—but that gives it more responsibility. It’s out of date, it’s not evolving on so many levels.”