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Why I Hate Aziz Ansari

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Why I Hate Aziz Ansari

Kav Lakshmi, Online Editor/Copy Editor

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Throughout 2016 and 2017, Master of None created by and starring Aziz Ansari, an Indian-American actor and comedian born to parents from Tamil Nadu, India, was a show constantly recommended to me for its representation of Tamilian Indian-Americans.

Conversations surrounding the importance of diversity and representation in media have been more prevalent in society lately with social media allowing all voices a platform.

For so long, Aziz Ansari was a prominent voice at the forefront of this movement towards a more inclusive Hollywood.

Ansari rose to fame with his role as Tom Haverford on the NBC comedy show Parks and Recreation, and is well-known as the star of the Netflix show Master of None. Prior to his Master or None fame, Ansari released four comedy specials as a stand-up comedian and released a book, Modern Romance: An Investigation.

Not only is Ansari a well-known celebrity, but he is also the first Asian-American to have won a Golden Globe for acting in television.

Since his name has begun circulating around media outlets, people have shared polarizing opinions on him. I have met people who have absolutely adored and despised Ansari.

However, Ansari’s name has become far more controversial since January of this year when allegations of sexual misconduct came out against him. The response to these allegations is even more polarizing than the original divisive opinions of the actor of Tamilian descent.

Then, like far too many stories shared in past year, the discussion surrounding Ansari died down. Yet months later, in October, Ansari announced his new stand-up comedy tour, described as “a cry against extreme wokeness” according to The New Yorker, despite the fact that “extreme wokeness” is what Ansari originally built his platform on.

Like Ansari, I am an Indian-American of Tamilian descent who has built a platform on the importance of diversity and representation in media, begging Hollywood to consider underrepresented identities and be more inclusive of all people.

Unlike Ansari, I have not backpedaled on my core beliefs due to external factors.

Aziz Ansari is the only celebrity of Tamilian descent that is not only well-known, but known at all. Aziz Ansari is the only actor and show creator that I know of who has spoken Tamil in a show. For Tamilians such as myself, Aziz Ansari is our only representation.

The movement towards a more inclusive Hollywood is one I have been a part of, albeit a small part, for three and a half years now. Far more activists of Tamilian descent have been fighting for far longer than I have. And in return, for the unbearable amount of time and effort we have put in to this cause, we have gotten Aziz Ansari.

The society we live in tries to pacify those from underrepresented communities with scraps. We’re asked to be thankful for the character of color who comes on-screen for two seconds every episode, for the queer character who gets killed off three episodes in, for the disabled side character who exists to teach the main character and the viewer to be a more compassionate being.

I have put in countless hours of time trying to create a safe and inclusive space for those like me who have felt unsafe everywhere else. I have devoted an unimaginable amount of effort to educating others on the absolute simplest subjects. I have put myself at risk of intense cyberbullying to be a voice for those like me who have been wronged for far too long.

Not to mention those who have come before me and will come after me and have done far more than I could ever imagine.

And in return, we’ve gotten Aziz Ansari.

To give us Aziz Ansari in return for everything we have done and continue to do is downright cruel.

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