This South Asian Actor Wants To Remind Us That He Isn’t The Guy From 'The Big Bang Theory'

Or the guy from "Designated Survivor" or ...

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Being a person of color in the U.S. comes with its own set of microaggressions. One would think that starring on a hit television show and even becoming an Academy Award nominee would save someone from having to deal with such things, but according to The Big Sick actor, comedian, and writer Kumail Nanjiani, one problem still persists: he's constantly mistaken for other famous actors of South Asian descent.


Fresh off appearing at this years Oscars ceremony, Nanjiani took to Twitter to share with his followers one of his hopes for his career. "A day may come when I am not mistaken for another brown actor," he wrote. "But today is not that day." Nanjiani didn't reveal what prompted the tweet, but it was a sentiment that his fellow brown actors could relate to. 

The Big Bang Theory star Kunal Nayyar, who is of Punjabi descent, immediately chimed in, tweeting, "Every time I get recognized for you I think 'man I wish it were true.' " His response was quickly followed by one from Designated Survivor star Kal Penn, who wrote, "I have taken credit for both of your accolades in the last 2 weeks so I guess I owe you each a photo, half a beer, and an awkward extended hug."

Then, to make things even more absurd, female comedian Aparna Nancherla contributed her two cents, responding that she "was congratulated on The Big Sick after a show."

While each person took it all in stride and joked about the occurrence, due to a considerable lack of diverse representation in the media, confusing actors — especially those of Asian descent — is a mistake that's made all too commonly. Actors and performers of color are often mistaken for others, even by those who work in media and entertainment.

As evidenced by last August's #FirstTimeISawMe campaign, representation does matter and being able to see oneself and other cultures in media helps to break stereotypes and recognize that everyone of a particular ethnicity or culture does not look the same. 

Until truly diverse media representation is a reality, perhaps Nanjiani and company can employ the deadpan response that The Problem With Apu documentarian and comedian Hari Kondabolu tweeted: "We are not the same person."


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