Monday May 28, 2018
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Race, religion popping in US prez race

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By Kanika Rangray

With the campaigning for the US presidential elections 2016 going on in full swing, there is no scarcity of controversial remarks or statements being handed out by prospective candidates.

The most recent and highly controversial remark made by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in an interview with NBC: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this country. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

ben-don
Carson’s statement came through during his dialogue with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd which was focused on Donald Trump’s, Carson’s presidential candidate rival, reaction to a supporter who made anti-Muslim remarks in one of his presidential rallies.

During one of Trump’s campaign rally in Rochster, New Hampshire, one of the audience members made anti-Muslim remarks saying: “We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one… we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question. When can we get rid of them?”

Trump did not denounce any of the statements causing uproar, which affected the prospects of other Republican candidates running for president. Trump defended himself by tweeting that he would have reacted the same if the supporter had opposed black people, and that he was not morally obligated to defend Obama.

 

Coming back to the statement made by Carson regarding Muslims, Sen. Lindsey Graham (Republican – South Carolina) said in a show on Fox News Channel that Dr. Ben Carson should apologise for what he said.

Graham said: “During the second election of Karzai, I had an opportunity to go to a polling station during the election with military members in charge of security. One was a young man who grew up in Kabul, went to this particular high school. He came to America. He was a member of the United States Army. He was so proud to wear the uniform. I had a cup of coffee with him, and, yes, one day, I hope that young man could grow up to be president of the United States.”

“America is an idea not owned by a particular religion, race or anything else… I think Dr. Carson needs to apologize to this young man and every other Muslim serving their country and to the American Muslim Community. And if he understood the world and how dangerous it is he would not say things like this. We have to partner with people in the faith to destroy radical Islam. And most Muslims throughout the world reject what radical Islam is trying to do to the world and their faith. This is an example to me that Mr. Carson may be a good doctor, but he is not ready to lead a great nation,” he added.

He continued, “What would he say to the young man I met in Kabul who left Afghanistan, became an American citizen, joined the United States army? What would he say to the approximately 3,500 American Muslims who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan fighting for our freedom, risking their lives. What he should say is thank you for serving our great nation. We’re all in this together.”

But, this is not the first time that a debate has risen about the race and religion of a candidate running for presidency in the USA. The most obvious example is that of current president Barack Obama.

Obama is the first African American president of the US, or in simpler terms the first Black president of the US. During his presidential campaign and also after he was elected as president Obama was repeatedly subject to claims that he was not a US citizen and was thus not eligible to be the president. This controversy springs up from time to time even now. So does the other accusation thrown at him that he is actually a Muslim.

After Obama became president, there were questions if this would eradicate the racial gap between the blacks and the whites in America. The survey poll regarding this showed that a majority of the population did not believe that the issue would be resolved so easily, and continued racial discrimination incidents which followed through backed up these predictions.

The big and large question is that the United States of America—the biggest global power—is still trying to pull itself out of any kind of discrimination on the basis of ‘skin colour’ and religion, which has penetrated in the political platform of the country.

It becomes more ironic when you think that US stands first in line when it comes to advising a nation, such as our very own India, on how racism and religious discrimination stands the biggest hurdle between its goal of becoming a developed nation.

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Deadpool Actor Karan Feels the Present Time Best to Work in the US

Karan feels things would have been different if "The Simpsons" was made in recent times.

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Deadpool 2 is going to be released this month. Pixabay

Karan Soni finds the Apu controversy “cool”. The “Deadpool” actor of Indian origin says it is a great time for people of colour in Hollywood, but he cannot say the same for the entire US, especially under Donald Trump’s presidency.

“I think it is a great time (to be people of colour) in the entertainment industry. In America in general because of Trump, I don’t know. I am very lucky to live in Los Angeles, which is a diverse place where it is great to be different,” Karan told IANS in an interview over phone from Los Angeles.

“In America in general…I know there are a lot of parts where may be it is not that great to be brown or black. So, it is good specifically in Hollywood and in general it depends where you are in America and based on who voted for whom,” he added.

Karan, who got noticed as Deadpool’s Indian cab driver Dopinder in the first part, feels the Apu controversy — which emerged as Hank Azaria voiced Apu, a character from “The Simpsons” — will initiate a positive change. Apu had to grapple with the troubling stereotype of a convenience store clerk with an exaggerated, fake Indian accent since the show’s inception.

“The controversy over the character is completely justified simply because in 2018 it is weird to have a white actor doing an Indian accent on a TV show. There are so many Indian actors who can do that part and do it better.”

He doesn’t blame the makers of the series.

“It has been on for 20-plus season. Back then I don’t know if they tried to look for Indian actors for that part or they didn’t even try.

“In a weird way, I think it is a positive controversy because people don’t want a white actor doing an Indian accent or playing an Indian character in 2018. People are upset because they want to see actors from that ethnicity to play that part instead of giving it to someone who is not.”

Karan feels things would have been different if “The Simpsons” was made in recent times.

“If the show was made this year and there was an Indian or Asian character, they would not give it to a white actor. It is cool that the controversy happened.”

Nevertheless, he is proud that the “Deadpool” makers understood the importance of having a diverse cast.

The film tells the story of an adult superhero with a twisted sense of humour. Karan’s Dopinder took relationship advice from Deadpool. His role was short, but it didn’t go unnoticed.

Based on Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, “Deadpool” is the original story of a former Special Forces operative who turns into a mercenary and is now out to seek revenge against the man who nearly destroyed his life.

The Ryan Reynolds-starrer, brought to India by Fox Star India, released on Friday.

The "Deadpool" actor of Indian origin says it is a great time for people of colour in Hollywood, but he cannot say the same for the entire US, especially under Donald Trump's presidency.
Karan Soni has acted in Deadpool 2. Pixabay

“The makers always wanted the movie to be diverse because ‘Deadpool’ movie takes place in X-Men universe. The mutants are kind of outcast, the minorities as compared to human race. They recognised it well that the cast needs to be diverse.”

In the second part, Dopinder is doing more than just driving Deadpool around. He has joined his army and is seen doing some action too.

There was a Bollywood twist in “Deadpool” in 2016 with songs like “Mera joota hai Japani” featuring in the opening credit, and “Tumse achha kaun hai” also finding a place in the narrative. But Karan says there are “fewer Indian references” in the second chapter.

After expressing his view on increasing diversity in the West, Karan, born and brought up in Delhi, hopes to see an Indian superhero crossing boundaries and entering Hollywood “in his lifetime”.

“If we look at ‘Black Panther’, it did so well. There were a bunch of supporting black characters in the movies for years and then it took a long time, but finally they did make that.

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“I am just happy to be part of the initial steps. I hope in my lifetime we will get to see an Indian superhero for sure,” said Karan, who studied at the University of South California, and soon found a way into showbiz.

He has featured in projects like “Safety Not Guaranteed”, “The Neighbors”, “Goosebumps” and “Ghostbusters”. What’s next?

“From being in ‘Deadpool’ to then going to be an Angel with ‘Harry Potter’ star Daniel Radcliffe in ‘Miracle Workers’ to then getting stuck in a cage with Sharon Stone in ‘Corporate Animals’ — there are different kinds of things.” (BollywoodCountry)