"thank you, come again"

Last week, as part of a marketing campaign to build hype for the upcoming Simpsons Movie, 7-Eleven Inc. turned a dozen stores around the country into Kwik-E Marts, after the fictional convenience store owned and operated by Apu of Simpsons lore: 7-Elevens become Simpsons 'Kwik-E-Marts'. Maybe you've seen one in your neighborhood. Basically, the stores are being "made-over" with various signs and products to look like the Kwik-E Mart chain from the show for the month of July. For those unfamiliar with The Simpsons, Apu is the show's thickly-accented South Asian character, a stereotype of hard-working immigrant business owners... probably one of the most pervasive stereotypes out there, largely because of the influence of The Simpsons. So imagine what this must mean for actual Desi 7-Eleven owners, who have to deal with this stereotype and mocking on a daily basis. Now they have to adopt a marketing strategy that wholly embraces it! Basically, they have to become Apu! Unfortunately, this has pretty much ensured that South Asian convenience store employees are going to be taunted with "Thank you, come again!" for years to come.

I've been following the outcry for the last week over at Ultrabrown: Step'n Dispense It. And here: Racial Caricature Mart. Manish tells me he's scheduled to appear on CNN's Paula Zahn Now Tuesday night to discuss this controversy: Watch CNN Tuesday night

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