Time magazine's Joel Stein characterizes South Asians, SAALT responds

Filed under: Featured,South Central/South Asia |

Joel Stein’s take on how immigration patterns have changed the landscape of Edison, New Jersey (“My Own Private India”, July 5, 2010) is offensive and misinformed, and definitely not funny. Relying on economic and educational stereotypes, Mr. Stein provides a cursory history of Indian immigration to Edison that neglects to mention how Indian businesses, families, and entrepreneurs have contributed to the revitalization of the economy and the cultural fabric in New Jersey for decades.

Most offensive is Mr. Stein’s flippant characterization of the horrible hate crimes that Indians endured in the 1980s at the hands of the New Jersey Dotbusters in the 1980s. Why is it that Mr. Stein has a bone to pick with Indian immigrants, whose presence, experiences, and contributions mirror those of Irish and Italian immigrants in New Jersey? South Asians have been an integral part of this country’s fabric since the 1800’s, and the vibrant immigrant community that they are part of in Edison should be celebrated rather than derided.

- Deepa Iyer, Executive Director, South Asian Americans Leading Together

We are also encouraging community members to take a few simple steps to register their concerns with Time magazine:

-        Send a comment to Time Magazine’s editors registering your opinions about the piece. Comments can be brief and personal conveying what your own reaction was to the column; be sure to reference the article name and author (“My Own Private India” by Joel Stein). They can be emailed to [email protected].

-        Sign the petition to Time Magazine’s editors. Community members can join SAALT’s petition expressing concerns about the column and asking the magazine to open a space for a response to the column; convene a dialogue regarding its impact on the South Asian community; and refrain from publishing future pieces that fail to treat immigrant communities with respect. The petition can be found here.

-        Forward this email to your friends, family members, and colleagues. The more community members that Time magazine hears from, the more likely they are to respond.


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Author: Kirwan Institute (427 Articles)

Kirwan Institute

3 Responses to Time magazine's Joel Stein characterizes South Asians, SAALT responds

  1. It is absurd to take Joel Stein’s article seriously. The entire point of the article is how the Indian population has contributed to Edison. I’m not Indian and I’m not White but but I know when something is offensive on a racial basis and this ain’t it. This was just a very humorous take on his experience witnessing the transformation of his childhood community.

    From “There is an entire generation of white children in Edison who have nowhere to learn crime” to “restaurant owners who didn’t card us because all white people look old”, to the part about the immigration of doctors, then their cousins – how could you NOT see the humor and true intention of the story???

    He wrote about the assimilation of this generation of Indian children; the contributions of Indians in the town of Edison, such as “most famous Indian restaurant in the country”; sharing a common interest with Indian kids: “friends dorky enough to play Dungeons & Dragons with me”…

    I don’t see the problem.

    They Call Me Melissa
    June 30, 2010 at 10:11 am

  2. Pingback: JOEL STEIN HATES INDIANS! OMG!! – Liberating Porn

  3. Deepa, I feel your piece neglects to focus on the jewish immigrant experience in the US and New Jersey, specifically, of which Stein is a descendant.

    The hypocrisy of Stein is astounding and you completely missed it. How could that be?

    Kathleen Wells
    July 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

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