Periphery? I’ll look at Canada!

This week’s focus of peripheral groups was hard for me to explore. The idea of periphery was so broad I began doing what I usually do and that’s over analyse, over think and come to the conclusion that I’ve completely failed in my attempts to understand Digital Asia and I should leave Uni forever and forget about the entire concept of periphery. Okay maybe I didn’t go to that extent but it was daunting for me to draw my attention away from the Ringu franchise and attempt to grasp an entirely new Asian culture.

Instead of doing the norm of film, music, fashion or video games, I found solace in comedy. I decided to look back on Russell Peters. Russell Peters is born and raised in Canada but is of Indian heritage. His comedy is also in relation to his heritage and his experiences of being an Indian growing up in Canada and the bullying he faced.

I found most of my access to Russell Peters through Youtube only. Considering it’s the primary platform for connecting or gaining an audience worldwide, it would only seem appropriate that the majority of Peter’s material is found on Youtube.

Peter’s act, “Race and Culture” addresses the topic of being of a certain racial heritage but having no connection to their culture. He says, “I was born and raised in Canada, there’s nothing Indian about me.” This statement stuck to me as it’s something I can relate to. I was born and raised in Australia; however my heritage is Aboriginal and Pakistani. While I have a strong connection to my Indigenous culture and identity, it does not translate the same to my Pakistani background. I have knowledge and experience when it comes to Pakistan but my culture is not Pakistani, it is Australian.

Russell Peter’s comedy is an effective use of communicating the sensitive issue of race, especially being of a racial background that is a minority in western nations. Peripheral groups in digital Asia have an interesting platform when it comes to communicating personal experience and understanding their position and influence in Asian media. Russell Peters is a fine example of utilising experience to confront sensitive social issues in a form that both entertains and educates. I found myself connecting and relating to so many of his acts and finding comfort in the many similarities I shared in the stories he tells. Especially when it comes to comparing Asian parenting styles to Anglo Celtic.

References

Peter, 2012, “Russel Peter – Race and Culture”, online video, January 2012, Youtube, viewed 25 August 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPq34GVSuFE

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