During Hasan Minhaj’s visit to AU on Wednesday, he discussed what it was like to grow up as a first generation South Asian immigrant in America and the importance of participating in current conversations and issues.
Comedian, writer, actor and Daily Show Correspondent Hasan Minhaj received a warm welcome at Bender Arena Wednesday all thanks to KPU, SUB, and co-sponsor AU SASA (South Asian Student Association). The organizations believe there was no one more current, influential and funny to start the year off with. Minhaj was the perfect choice to masterfully engage college students with the right amount of relatable material, including about Bernie Sanders being the “cool substitute teacher” as well as more sensitive topics like experiencing prejudice in his community after 9/11.
Hasan Minhaj’s fans are acclimated to his comedic and sarcastic commentary as a correspondent on The Daily Show, but during his show at American University he took the chance to reach a younger, college-aged audience and discussed serious issues as well. He shared narratives of racism growing up between two cultures, being Indian and American, and stressed we should all take part in the conversations about racial tensions and privilege because we all have certain privileges of our own. Hasan focused on the current political climate of America and his perception of the ignorant rhetoric of both Donald Trump and the RNC, genuinely asking, “How did we get here?” Hasan called on our generation to go outside of our comfort zones, speak to others who may not share the same political beliefs as us, and expand our bubbles. At the end of the day, we all need to work together to make America a great place for everyone, because “no one loves America like immigrants”.
As part of the AU SASA, I could sense the excitement for Hasan’s arrival particularly amongst the South Asian community. Not many South Asian speakers are brought to campus, and Hasan’s event was a way for most of us to feel welcome and heard. We laughed as Hasan gave vivid descriptions of his father’s mannerisms and resonated with him as he spoke about being a child, wishing he were white instead of brown. He answered many questions from South Asians in the audience and encouraged us to be who we want to be and redefine what culture means to us; we are not bad examples of what the perfect member of our culture should be, but variations of the different cultures of which we all play a part of. The audience took something away from Hasan Minhaj’s visit that night: about our own reflections of America and how we can contribute to changing the world.
-- Roshni Sharma, American University Class of 2019