America is Not a Melting Pot

by Punita Rice Culture

America is NOT a melting pot. This art is based on "Crowded" by Mari Orr (@meandering_mari), available on Society6.

When I was growing up, the term “melting pot” was used a lot to describe America. As I’ve been wrapping up my book on South Asian American experiences in schools in America, I’ve been thinking more and more about that larger context — America — and whether or not it’s still fair to think of it as a melting pot … Read More

5 Ways Living in New Zealand has Changed Me (Guest Post)

by Maiera Mazelev Culture

How Living in New Zealand Changes You

[Ed note] Maiera Mazelev is not only one of my oldest (and best!) friends, but she’s also easily the most courageous person I know: A few years ago, she packed up all her belongings, and moved from Maryland, to the other side of the world (not literally, but almost!) to Australia, and now Auckland, New Zealand, where she happily resides … Read More

An Interview with a Broadway Star

by Punita Rice Culture

Vishal Vaidya Broadway ISAASE

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 … Read More

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

by Punita Rice Culture

Discrimination against South Asian Americans in the workplace and the classroom

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: … Read More

First Time I Saw Me… Hasn’t Happened Yet

by Punita Rice Culture

Mindy Lahiri - #FirstTimeISawMe Indian American Woman - The First Time I Saw Me Hasn't Happened Yet

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 … Read More

The Problem with Apu

by Punita Rice Culture

The Problem with Apu is a Problem with America

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 … Read More

A Chat with Poet Pavana Reddy

by Punita Rice Culture

Pavana Reddy mazadohta

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 … Read More

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

by Punita Rice Culture

Pronouncing Your Own Name Wrong

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 … Read More

An Inspiring Conversation with Lady Pista

by Punita Rice Culture

Inspired by Lady Pista - Recording Artist and DJ - Full Interview with Punlearning

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 … Read More