Aziz, I’m Sorry
For the record, being embarrassed by your dad is universal, regardless of the lungi, and has more to do with being a child than being Indian American. And Tamil may sound funny to Aziz Ansari, but it is one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world — along with Greek, Latin, Sanskrit and Chinese — has been in use since 500 BC, and is currently spoken by over 70 million people around the world. He doesn’t even bother to mention that Tamil is not the primary language spoken in Kerala, Malayalam is.
Had Aziz Ansari been digging into his roots in earnest, he might have arrived at something more like this. Instead, he chose not to examine at all the cultural, linguistic and historical significance of being a Tamil speaking Muslim from Kerala. Maybe that would be a good place to start if he is actually interested in understanding the ‘foreign’ concerns of his cousins.
Too bad this piece focuses more on cultural difference than on cultural understanding.