27 June 2018 by Christina Barker
I recently read this article in relation to stereotypes written in the Guardian (Source) by Shuja Haider).
I genuinely am a huge fan of the Simpsons and my family watch it often. Apu is an absolute legend in himself and although he has been stereotyped somewhat, so have most of the other characters in the show. Ratings may well have dropped but the show will live on for years to come. I think what you could get away with on TV a few years back; you can no longer now, so it has been toned down slightly. It would be hard for them to change Apu as a character after all this time but what they can change is how the other characters react around him. It may well be deemed as ‘less funny’ by some but Apu is a very likeable character by all and it only seems as though it’s a small minority of people that think it is classed as racism. He may well have become a stereotype but as Shuja mentions in his article, he wasn’t meant to be an Indian character.
I actually work with an organisation in Oxford called Snowflake Books who write and publish books in both English and Mandarin. We aim to stamp out some of the common stereotypes by teaching others more about the two different cultures. We also host various events and workshops to teach people about Chinese culture and help them learn how to read, write and speak Mandarin. Our books are based on tales and legends accompanied by illustrations full of authentic historical details which will ignite children's interest to learn the language and explore China as a new territory of adventure for their future.
Our goal is to bridge the gap between both cultures to understand each other’s languages and with Mandarin being the most important non-European language for the UK post-Brexit this should be easy to achieve. Another of Snowflake books overall goals is to drive to build trust and opportunity globally. This can be accomplished once people start to understand the two cultures and with our books, we feel this can be attained. Our books boast colourful illustrations with easy to learn reading. The books include pinyin, focused words (a word in English and Mandarin highlighted) and an audio CD in which people can learn how to pronounce the words. Our books are well loved by many children and families who met us at our events.
What are your thoughts on the common stereotypes? Let us know in the comments.