One comment I too often see is that South Asian Americans have little in common culturally with Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans and other subgroups of the Asian American identity. I hear it as much from East Asians as I do from South Asians.
While there are obvious differences, the similarities that bond the groups together cannot be ignored.
One vivid example of that is seen behind the scenes in the new critically acclaimed show on Netflix from Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, Masters of None..
Yang, who served as a writer on NBC’s Park and Recreation on which Ansari had a recurring role, joined forces to create Masters of None.
In a recent episode of Fresh Air on NPR, Ansari and Yang talked about what brought the two together.
“Aziz had similar stories about the sacrifices his family had made,” said Yang. “It’s just something you kind of take for granted sometimes as the children of immigrants.”
Both are first generation Asian Americans whose parents faced hardships to make ends meet. Both face a generational and cultural divide with their elders.
“There’s an episode called “Old People” that’s about … respecting the elderly and getting to know old people a little bit and not just ignoring them,” said Ansari. “In that scene I tell my girlfriend about how when I talk to my grandma, we just have the same conversation where I go like, “Hello! How are you? OK. I’m gonna put my dad on now.”
“All these White people visit their grandparents all the time, and I think there’s a bit in the show about Aziz talking to his grandparents — it’s the same thing with mine,” said Yang. “If I’m talking on the phone with my grandma, she doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Chinese, so I’m not sure what we’re supposed to say.”