IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Photos and text from wire services people confuse sometimes funny and wrong,” Kondabolu said.
Kondabolu grew up in the diverse New York borough of Queens and was shocked to not see on film or TV what he saw on the streets every day. The message he got was that non-whites didn’t exist. He became so desperate to connect with anyone on TV that he found solace in the immigrant Balki from the sitcom “Perfect Strangers.”
Penn, the “Designated Survivor” star who has mocked racial stereotypes in his “Harold & Kumar” films, suspects Hollywood can get away with a lot more mocking of AsianAmericans than it can with another ethnic group.
“If you had an African-American character — even a cartoon — with the types of stereotypes done for Apu, people would understandably, and very rightfully, raise hell and the studio would say, ‘We can’t do this. This is not funny,’” said Penn.
“They would do it both because they would see it as deeply problematic and offensive but they would also say, ‘This joke is played out.’ That’s how I see a lot of ‘The Simpsons’ stuff — it’s played out.”
To those who push back and say “The Simpsons” is an equal-opportunity offender that mocks various ethnicities and cultures, Kondabolu argues that some images have lasting impact, especially if you have so few of them.
This image released by Fox shows the Apu from the animated series “The Simpsons.”