Edison, NJ has been at the center of an international immigration storm this past week. The Indian immigrant community here - and in fact, immigrants across the country - has been outraged at a supposed satire piece in Time magazine, poking fun at Edison's huge Indian immigrant population.
Reading the piece titled “My Own Private India,” it's hard to know what went through the mind of humorist/columnist Joel Stein when he penned an article about watching his Edison morph into a mini India over the decades. Stein frequently oversteps boundaries in the piece, and makes comments that are insulting to the broader Indian immigrant community here in New Jersey. It's easy to understand why references about “gods with multiple arms and an elephant nose” and the epithet “dot-heads” have been so insulting to Indian-Americans here..
Time magazine has moved fast to contain some of the damage caused by the article. The magazine has been the focus of much criticism over its decision to publish something that seems to many people, to be so tasteless and offensive. According to the magazine, it “sincerely regrets” that its readers were offended by the piece..
The Indian American community in New Jersey is the third-largest in the country, behind California and New York. In fact, the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area had the largest number of Indian immigrants in the year 2008, with more than 237,000 Indian origin immigrants, or17.1% of the population.
These allegedly racist comments in the article have taken on a new meaning during these troubled times. There are increasing anti-immigrant sentiments developing around the country. That's why it's so disappointing to New Jersey immigration lawyers who believe that immigrants are the solution to many of our ills, when a reputed magazine chooses to stoke the flames, rather than offer peaceful solutions.