It's true. I'm going to come right out and say it. I don't have cable in my house because I don't watch television shows much (it has been 3 years). Did I just admit this to my blog readers? I know what some of you might be thinking. That I'm stuck in my own little writing cocoon. Well...that's not the case entirely. I do own a 60 inch television and subscribe to Netflix. Does that count? Even then, I'll only watch a movie once a week.
Growing up, I did watch my fair share of television shows: The Smurfs, Wonder Woman, Batman, I Dream of Jeannie, The Brady Bunch, Knight Rider, The Cosby Show, Three's Company, The Dukes of Hazard, Kids Incorporated, 21 Jump Street, MTV, Beverly Hills 90210, and Melrose Place. Wow...I watched way too much television! Although these shows sparked my interest and held my attention, none of them represented the East Indian-American culture. As a teen, I didn't think this was a problem because I was surrounded by East Indians (families and friends). Since it wasn't the norm, I didn't expect to see East Indians in the media. Perhaps I wanted to see or catch a glimpse of how "real" Americans lived. However, when someone of East Indian descent did show up on television, I did take notice because it was a rare occurrence. Seeing someone like me on television was exciting. To me, it meant the media had taken notice of people of my culture. It meant we had a chance to be seen on American television.
Today, there is only a handful of television shows that try to represent East Indians living in America. Of the shows broadcasted now, there is not one that represents an entire East Indian-American family. There might be one or two East Indian actors in a television show, but not an entire show of them. When East Indians are represented in American television, it's always the same stereotypes that go along with it--the thick accent, the technology geek who doesn't have a social life, the nerd, the doctor, the scientist, the engineer, the one who eats spicy curry and smells like it. However, if there was a show representing my culture authentically, I would watch it, but the story/script would still have to be engaging along with convincing actors. Let me know if there are any good shows that represent East Indians living in America.
Recently, I came across an article regarding the media's influence on various cultures in the United States. Viewers tend to gravitate towards programs they can easily relate to--subject matters/events experienced in their own lives. You can read Elizabeth Blair's article here: "Cultural Common Ground Gets Harder To Come By."
You tell me. Do people have a tendency to watch television shows highlighting their own culture? Do you look for shows that feature your own culture? Do you appreciate seeing your own culture represented and acknowledged within the American cultural scene?
If so, are we really living in a fractured/fragmented culture in the US now? Do fragmented cultures over-emphasize the need to belong to a particular group?
How do you feel about the "cultural common ground?" Are we no longer the single melting pot we aspire to be?