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Developing Thick Skin

In Updates by Punita Rice

Last year, I started writing a little bit about topics that are (apparently) up for debate, including this op-ed in The Baltimore Sun about the travel ban, that, all things considered, isn’t really even that polarizing (in fact, I took an extremely moderate stance — no pun intended), and YET, I got some strong reactions (including some polite emails expressing disagreement, and a …

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An Interview with a Broadway Star

In Updates by Punita Rice

For the ISAASE Be Inspired project, I interviewed Vishal Vaidya, who you might know from his recent run as Larry the Cameraman on Broadway’s Groundhog Day (or from #Rifftober). I’ve also known Vishal for over 20 years (we even performed a duet version of Christina Aguilera’s I Turn To You in our middle school talent show together, and acted in plays …

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The Aerogram – Workplace Discrimination Against South Asian Americans Can Be Traced Back to the Classroom

In Updates by Punita Rice

My friend and colleague Ruchika Tulshyan (a speaker, journalist, and the author of The Diversity Advantage) and I co-wrote a piece about how workplace discrimination against South Asian Americans can be traced back to the classroom, especially in light of the model minority myth, published this past week in The Aerogram. Here are some of the takeaways from our article: …

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First Time I Saw Me… Hasn’t Happened Yet

In Updates by Punita Rice

Did you see the “First Time I Saw Me” campaign on Twitter a few months ago? Black Girl Nerds and Netflix collaborated earlier this year and started a campaign centered around diversity and representation in the media, and pushed the use of the hashtag #FirstTimeISawMe to collect stories from people sharing the first time they saw themselves. (Two of the …

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The Problem with Apu

In Updates by Punita Rice

The Simpsons is a great show. But Apu sucks. For a variety of reasons — including the fact that there’s so little representation of South Asians on tv in the first place, and that the depiction of Apu as simultaneously the perfect model minority and immigrant, and the depiction of him as a joke that encompassed all stereotypes about South Asians …

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Pronouncing Students’ Names Correctly Should Be a Big Deal – EdWeek

In Updates by Punita Rice

I wrote an essay for Education Week Teacher about why pronouncing students’ names correctly is — and should be — a big deal. In the piece, I spoke about why mispronouncing students’ names is problematic (and can be a kind of microaggression), what my own experience has been with my own name, information about the ISAASE Name Pronunciation Guide, and actionable …

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A Chat with Poet Pavana Reddy

In Updates by Punita Rice

Pavana Reddy (who you may already be following on Instagram — she’s also known as @mazadohta!), is an amazing, beautiful, inspiring poet. You can sample her lovely poetry on her Instagram page (here), hear it on Anoushka Shankar’s album Land of Gold, or read it in her first book, Rangoli. I got to connect with and interview Pavana for ISAASE’s Be Inspired project. We had a …

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“Your Parents Didn’t Immigrate For You To Mispronounce Your Own Name”

In Updates by Punita Rice

Have you come across the sentiment: “your parents didn’t immigrate just for you to mispronounce your own name?” One variation of this sentiment appeared from Twitter user @Zablizzle (as seen on the Instagram account for @the_indian_feminist): “Your parents didn’t immigrate across an ocean for you to mispronounce your own name so it fits better in someone else’s mouth. #stop” (1/2) “I’m …

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An Inspiring Conversation with Lady Pista

In Updates by Punita Rice

Have you heard of Lady Pista? Sumangala Narendrakumar (aka Lady Pista) is a recording artist and DJ whose music is a blend of dancehall, electro-house, and world music. A couple months ago, I reached out to Lady Pista to connect about the ISAASE Be Inspired project, which aims to inspire young South Asian Americans by sharing diverse profiles and stories …

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A Chat with Natasha Sumant of Gundi Studios

In Updates by Punita Rice

Have you seen the instagram account Gundi Studios? In Hindi, “gundi” means female thug — and since outspoken South Asian women aren’t typically appreciated in South Asian communities, Natasha Sumant (the artist behind Gundi Studios) started the project as a way to celebrate courageous women, and reclaim the term gundi. The art and fashion coming out of Gundi Studios is fantastic, but …