Indians in Media

Suddenly there's a bunch of new options for Americans to see people of Indian origin on TV! It's not just TV, either. Indians and Americans of Indian ethnicity are making themselves heard and I love it.TVMaster of None (on Netflix): Aziz Ansari plays Dev, an Indian-American actor. It's hilarious and my favorite episode is the one about his parents and his friend's parents. Ansari cast his real mother and father and they bring so much heart to it that they steal the … [Read more...]


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How To Pronounce Indian Names

A friend of mine was complaining recently that people go out of their way to avoid saying her name and it causes unnecessary confusion. She made a great educational video on how to say her name. I was surprised at first hearing that she had this problem because to me Indian names are mostly pretty straightforward. But I realized that, of course, I have a great deal of familiarity with them. That was not always the case and so I thought I might be able to help demystify Indian names for other … [Read more...]


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Racial Identity: me and Rachel Dolezal

I've been hearing about this situation with Rachel Dolezal for a few days and biding my time trying to understand my thoughts about it. She's a woman who identifies as Black racially but has no known Black ancestry. When it came to light that this woman-- who was a chapter president of NAACP-- had White parents, debate and outrage and discussion ensued. It's a discussion that really goes beyond this one woman's behavior and highlights that racial identity is not as simple or clear cut as we like … [Read more...]


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The Truth About Caste & Hinduism

The role of caste is a very big issue in Hinduism. It is the number one thing that non-Hindus use to criticize Hinduism. Lower caste Hindus are often converted away from Hinduism with promises of equality (whether or not that equality actually happens is questionable). The Hindu American Foundation has written a detailed essay on why it might be a mistake to align caste and Hinduism.From my own perspective the way caste discrimination is practiced is a problem...but do I think that because … [Read more...]


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The Bindi and the Job Interview

Over the summer I quit my office job to write full time. It turns out that I was a little premature in that decision and our budget is stretched far too tight for comfort right now. So I started looking for a part time job near our home to supplement my writing income. It had to be part time and it had to be close enough to our house for me to walk because my husband and I share one car.As I put in applications at Target, Subway, Game Stop, and grocery stores I started to wonder about my … [Read more...]


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The Hindu Identity Crisis & The Mindy Project

There is an issue with how young Hindus see themselves, perhaps particularly in America.I've encountered it again and again where someone identifies as Hindu because that's what they were raised but they have no sense of connection to it and no idea what any of it means. There's an "Oh, I guess I'm Hindu" but no attachment to it.I think this comes across very clearly in the show The Mindy Project.It's wonderful to have a show where the main character is an Indian American … [Read more...]


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Can Westerners Gain Enlightenment?

I know I'm always saying that in any given country or population, probably 95% of people aren't going to be strongly spiritual. I'm guessing at that number, but it seems that in the Kali Yuga very few feel the pull to chase down the mystery of what life means.So that means that in every religion and non-religion (in other words, atheists included) there are some who ask themselves the big questions about what our lives mean and others who aren't bothered by those questions. I don't think … [Read more...]


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How Do You Curb Desire?

Being away from my usual distractions I was able to see more clearly how desire keeps us chained. I saw a sign at a temple that said "As long as there is desire, you cannot escape the cycle of birth and death." But how can you break that chain?Desire is SO powerful and our lives train us to increase desire. I feel like every time I'm looking at a group of things the expectation is I'm supposed to be picking which one I most want. In every down moment it's like I'm supposed to be thinking … [Read more...]


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The Rumors Are True: Southern Temples and Foreigners

[For news of how my Mahashivratri went, see this post: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/whitehindu/2015/02/my-mahashivratri-prayer/]I had heard before that some South Indian temples don't allow foreigners in on the theory that non-Indians aren't Hindu. I hoped that it was a rare occurrence and maybe exaggerated but I can now say from personal experience that it is true. (I was told specifically about Southern temples on this one and my friend who has toured in the North extensively told me she's … [Read more...]


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