The media has come under scrutiny for propagating a less than ideal portrayal of minorities in the country through their sitcoms, big screen movies, and newscasts. Television provides a ready stream of racial stereotypes that reinforce audiences’ perceptions about minority groups such as Latin-Americans, Asian Americans, and African Americans (Fuligni 43). A look at the character of Rajesh Koothrappali in the popular American Television show ‘the big bang theory’ represents a form of Asian American stereotyping. In the show, Rajesh Koothrappali gets portrayed as nerdy and socially dysfunctional. Koothrappali is so socially dysfunctional that he is unable to speak when in the company of women, even attractive ones. He is portrayed as being socially awkward and focused on his education endeavors. Further stereotyping of Koothrappali gets witnessed whenever he gets to meet any woman and the first question they ask him is if he is capable of speaking English. Koothrappali’s parents also get portrayed as conservative and strict in the show. They nag him about marriage and they even go ahead to select for him several girls he should get to marry back in India. Further stereotyping gets portrayed through Koothrapali’s geeky and technological nature. Historically, Asian Americans frequently get typified as foreigners in television shows and Hollywood films. This minority group gets portrayed as performing mysterious customs and speaking broken English. The stereotypes of Asian Americans also get gender specific. Asian women get portrayed as dangerous or domineering women who are attractive sexually but also immoral. In war films, Asian women become portrayed as sex workers or prostitutes. In the media, Asian American men get personified as math whizzes, geeks, technologically ardent, and as non-masculine. Asian American men also get portrayed as domineering over their families and chauvinistic. A general stereotype of Asian Americans also portrays them as mostly doctors, engineers, or business persons (Fuligni 47). They also get portrayed as lacking fashion sense and thus dress conservatively. They often get portrayed as wearing non classy and ordinary clothing all the time. The media also portrays this minority group as looking almost identical and similar. This stereotype largely gets applied to East Asians of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and even of Indian descent. Lastly, Asians also get stereotyped as poor to the western world audience. The image portrayal of the character of Koothrappalli on the ‘big bang theory’ serves to maintain current stereotypes of Asian Americans. Koothrappali gets presented as part of the geek community in the comedy show. Together with his three scientist friends, he gets portrayed as a nerd and genius. Furthermore, he gets typified as socially awkward as he is unable to hold a conversation with women unless he gets drunk. Among his three scientist friends he is the only one who lacks a girlfriend too. His parents also get shown as conservative. In various episodes of the show, they get shown as insistent on him to get married to an Indian girl in keeping with their customs and traditions. His father appears to have the final say in most conversation between him and his mother too. The show also portrays Koothrappali as having a deep Indian accent whenever he speaks English. He becomes a constant target of ridicule among his friends about his friends who joke at him about his accent. His inability to speak to
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