36 Most Condescending Things to Ask a South Asian American

Councilmember Kshama Sawant. Not to be confused with a squaw.

Belltown — Following last November’s notorious interview of newly elected Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant by King 5’s 30-year veteran reporter, Linda Brill, little attention has been paid to the follow-up interview of Sawant by Brill. For reasons that remain murky, King 5 has chosen to remove from the web a major interview of a growing cultural phenomenon at her moment of greatest triumph by one of its most experienced and award-winning reporters. Even stranger, they never broadcast the original edit of the second interview, not even on their sister station, Northwest Cable News, where they’ll run anything to fill up airtime.

The first session contained numerous questions so profound that even an intelligent Ph. D. like Councilmember Sawant was shocked at their depth (all of these were actually broadcast by King 5):

  1. “What caste were you?”
  2. “Can you believe you’re going to be a city councilperson? What a long shot!”
  3. “Aren’t you gonna stick out like a sore thumb?”
  4. “When did you become an American citizen?”
  5. “What do you have against corporations, and what do you have against millionaires?”
  6. “Is your dislike of millionaires rooted in you growing up in a caste system in India?”
  7. “I have to ask you one quick favor though. Can you end your sentences more quickly? Because you are a talker!”
  8. “I’m just wondering how a little girl in a dress at 10 years old in India ends up being a City Councilmember in a large, metropolitan American city?”
  9. “You’re obviously very smart. You have a degree, and you’re an economist, and you’re a teacher, but really in your heart, what surprises you the most about your win?”
  10. “Do you think that your success had anything to do with how you’re the tea party’s nightmare?”
  11. “It is about you! I know it’s not in your mind, but for the purposes of our viewers, they want to know: how did this happen?
  12. “Here’s what I think is so amazing. You’re this little girl in India, right, and before you know it, you’re on your way to being a city council person. Is that surprising? [laughs] How did that happen?”
  13. “Bottom line, was your family — were you part of the caste system?”
Councilmember Sawant wonders, "Who is this Linda Brill heifer?"
Councilmember Sawant wonders, “Who is this Linda Brill heifer?”

Of course, you’ve already heard these inquiries in all their Brilliance. What you didn’t hear is that in the second session, Brill’s questions continued in the same vein. Here at the Seattle Star, we have exclusive access to Ms. Brill’s most memorable questions from her second session with Sawant, found by our crack investigative staff in the dumpster behind Zeke’s Pizza in Belltown.

  1. “Oh my god! I just love saris! Can you teach me how to tie a sari?”
  2. “Are you a dot Indian or a feather Indian?”
  3. “Have you ever ridden on top of a train?”
  4. “I just love that dot the girls wear. It’s a beautiful accessory. Is it available in jewelry stores? Where can us white girls find them?”
  5. “Why do you need sooo many gods?”
  6. “But you actually do pray to cows, right?”
  7. “Did you ride an elephant to your wedding?”
  8. “Do people in India really sing and dance all the time just like in the Bollywood movies?”
  9. “How come your English is so good?”
  10. “So, do you speak Hindu?”
  11. “Are you ALL vegetarian?”
  12. “Is Diwali your Christmas?”
  13. “And what’s that other holiday, where you throw the colors? I just love that one.”
  14. “Cricket is just like…a lame version of baseball,right?”
  15. “Do you ever get sick of curry?”
  16. “Is yoga really a communist plot or some devil-worshipping religion’s anti-Christianity conspiracy?”
  17. “No offense, but like…what’s the third world really like?”
  18. “Everyone basically does tech support over there, yeah?”
  19. “I’ve heard it smells awful. Does it smell awful?”
  20. “Do you only eat spicy food?”
  21. “Can you give me some advice on how to maintain Kama Sutra positions 65, 72, 88 and 94? I’m just not as flexible now as I was when I was the late night weathergirl in Chicago.”
  22. “How come India is in Asia, but you aren’t Asian?”
  23. “Aren’t you really just some fancy kind of Ay-rab?”

It will stand as a tragic loss to history if we cannot find Sawant’s answers to these queries.

Fortunately, King 5’s interview ace has promised to continue her relentless quest to be the next host of the Charlie Rose show. A slightly soggy placemat from the same dumpster reveals some future interviews.

  • Ms. Brill asks an African American county councilman his favorite recipes for fried chicken and watermelon, what’s the deal with Black Santa, and whatever happened to all those happy, singing, dancing negroes who picked cotton with that nice Senior Duck Commander fellow in Louisiana in the ’60s?
  • Ms. Brill asks Mayor Murray and gay city councilmembers to sing from their favorite Broadway musicals and advice on interior decorating;
  • Ms. Brill asks a Latino member of the legislature, “Whatever happened to that endearing Frito Bandito cartoon? How can we get that back on the air?”
  • Ms. Brill asks a Filipino-American city councilman from South King County about his favorite recipes for dog;
  • Ms. Brill asks an Irish-American city councilman for tips on pub-crawling and how to drink 12 pints while still standing upright;
  • Ms. Brill asks a Chinese-American school board member about where to find King County’s best opium dens and why don’t they bring back that charming and heroic detective Charlie Chan?
  • Ms. Brill asks an Italian-American fire commissioner where to find the best mob restaurants in Seattle and where to go if you want your ex-husband whacked;
  • Ms. Brill asks an Arab-American from Morocco how to tell the difference between a Sikh and an Arab, where to buy the best in homemade bomb components, and why don’t they wear those lovely fezzes anymore?
  • Ms. Brill asks a Russian-American where to find the best buys on fully automatic weapons and why do they always sell them out of stripclubs?
  • And of course, Ms. Brill asks a Jewish-American public defender about where to get the blood of Christian babies for their matzohs recipe.

These and many more attempts to increase racial and ethnic harmony by Linda Brill and her producers will be coming soon.

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