For his (still getting published!) humor column in Time this week, pop-culture pundit Joel Stein intended to take a nostalgic walk down memory lane to his former hometown of Menlo Park (now Edison), New Jersey, which has witnessed a boom in its local Indian population since his childhood. Unfortunately, Indian readers did not find it so nostalgic, particularly parts like this:
For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.
Or the parts about how many of the local Indians look like Guidos (Guindians!) and wear too much cologne. Commenters at 8Asians and Bangla Nation reacted almost immediately, saying they were “shocked,” “angered,” and “offended.” Stein, for his part, immediately tweeted: “Didn’t meant to insult Indians with my column this week. Also stupidly assumed their emails would follow that Gandhi non-violence thing.”
Apologizing for stereotyping Indians with a joke about Gandhi? Just quit while you’re behind, dude.