IN THE SPOT­LIGHT

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

FOX VIA AP

This im­age re­leased by Fox shows the Apu from the an­i­mated se­ries “The Simp­sons.”

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