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‘Indians are not Asians’: Ronny Chieng stand-up bit on ‘The Daily Show’ criticized as ‘racist’

  • Malaysian comedian Ronny Chieng is facing backlash for his stand-up skit on “The Daily Show” in which he joked “Indians are not Asians” days after former finance minister Rishi Sunak was announced as Britain’s first Asian prime minister.

  • Chieng was criticized by many viewers who said his skit was “racist” and “tone deaf.”

  • In Britain, the term “Asian” generally refers to South Asians, including Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, as they make up a large percentage of the country’s Asian population.

  • Chieng and “The Daily Show” have not commented on the backlash.

Malaysian comedian and actor Ronny Chieng is under fire for his stand-up skit on “The Daily Show” in which he joked “Indians are not Asians.”

Days after former finance minister Rishi Sunak was announced as Britain’s first Asian prime minister, Chieng appeared on “The Daily Show” and joked about how “Indians are not Asians” and how he does not feel represented by Sunak. 

“I know everyone is excited that this is the first Asian prime minister, but let’s be clear: Indians are not Asians, OK? They’re still people — great people — just not Asian people,” Chieng said in his monologue. “If this guy is Asian, how come when he became prime minister, I felt absolutely nothing?”

“When I was down at the Dim Sum Palace this morning, me and the fellas weren’t like, ‘Oh sh*t, that’s me up there! I feel seen.’ I love how Indians try to have it both ways, like being Indian and Asian,” he added.

“Pick a lane, OK? I bet if I show up in a Bollywood film, I’m just going to blend right in, right? Because we’re all just one people just having a good time.”

Chieng, who was born in Malaysia and now lives in New York, was criticized by many viewers who called his skit “racist” and “tone deaf.”

“@ronnychieng this was racist af!” one user tweeted. “Have you seen the map of Asia? Just because Hollywood treats East Asians as mainstream Asians, does not give you the right to strip us of our identity!”

“It’s tone deaf of @ronnychieng to make jokes about Indians not being Asian,” another user said. “He’s a Malaysian Chinese that grew up in Singapore. These countries actively discriminate Indians and dark-skinned minorities.”

“So you’re telling me the Daily Show just let a Chinese Singaporean American rant for several minutes about how Indians aren’t real Asians and he can’t relate to them?” one person wrote.

In Britain, the term “Asian” generally refers to South Asians, including Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, as they make up a large percentage of the country’s Asian population. 

In a separate segment, “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah also received criticism for claiming Rishi Sunak experienced “racist backlash” after becoming the United Kingdom’s first British Asian prime minister. Viewers were also angered by Noah’s usage of an Indian accent to imitate Sunak, who was born in England.

Chieng and “The Daily Show” have not commented on the backlash.

 

Featured Image via @TheDailyShow

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