British-Indian stand-up comedian Nish Kumar in conversation with Aamna Mohdin addresses unconscious biases that have potentially impacted his professional life.
In an interview with famed comedian Nish Kumar published earlier today, The guardian shed light on issues of racial bias and ethnical stereotypes that exist among Anglo-Indians in the UK.
Kumar took to twitter when a written piece by Keith Watson in Metro, detailing a travel show that he partook in, called him ‘Nish Patel’. He found it disconcerting as to how the error had occurred despite providing a press release about the show.
Fucking hell lads. My name is Nish Kumar. pic.twitter.com/IUh0n9uMEk
— Nish Kumar (@MrNishKumar) October 1, 2018
‘In one case that’s somebody I’m paying – and they can’t be bothered to learn my name. They just guess at an Indian name’, Kumar expressed his displeasure and failure to derive humour in the piece. On several occasions, his identity has been mistaken to be that of fellow comedian, Romesh Ranganathan.
People don’t assume for it to be a big deal. Kumar went on to say how he wouldn’t mind if it was Kapur, as it was closer to his actual name. But Patel was just preposterous. It’s like they decided to slap on ‘Patel’ at the end of his name because as an Indian he’s a Patel, one way or another.
‘We don’t know his surname.’
‘Just insert a generic Indian-sounding name, I’m sure it’ll be right.’
— Harry Craig 🇪🇺 (@hazcraig1) October 1, 2018
As an Indian man born and brought up in the UK, he believed that he could hold on to the idea of a multicultural Britain and condition himself to what were so often implied to be British values, Kumar told The Guardian. He has always assured himself that it is possible for him to be a British man that celebrates his Indian birthright while simultaneously being a part of the white culture.
“I’m 33, and when I was growing up there was this thing where you were encouraged not to bring it up because broadly things were improving”, Kumar said taking the opportunity to mention the extent of racial bias in the country. The Indian community is not the sole subject of racial discrimination and biases, but there is still a sort of denial about the practise being prominent in the modern times.
Hey Nish, I think Keith got your surname wrong! I wonder why that happened? 🤔
2. Unconscious racism
3. Blatant racism
5. Institutional racism
Why not all five!
I will not @ him to avoid a pile on, but a bit of grovelling is in order, Keith
— Ideas of March (@mrmarchee) October 1, 2018
Kumar’s tweet attracted a lot of attention, with fellow Anglo-Indians adding witty responses to the interaction. Acknowledging the blatancy in the tweet, BAFTA and EMMY winning actor Asim Chaudry replied with a post by Evening Standard Entertainment misspelling his name as ‘Asian Chaudry’. This followed with replies from Mandip Gill, (who is often mistaken for her namesake, Mandeep Dhillon), Ricky Gervais, Johnathon Ross, Vinay Patel and Nish Panchal.
‘Patelification is the only disease transmitted through aspiration’, Vinay Patel hilariously quoted, welcoming Kumar into the Patel clan.