Considered an element of brownface, “brown-voice” is the offensive practice of a non-South Asian person performing an accent in an attempt to imitate a person of South Asian descent. This accent is often associated with an Indian accent, though it can often be considered what South Asian actors know as “patanking”. Coined by Indian-American actress Sakina Jaffrey, “patanking” is a highly exaggerated, generalized mimicry of a South Asian accent that attempts to appropriate many different dialects and languages into one accent. For more, see Dave, Kondabolu, Amin, and Rosen.
Sources and Further Reading:
Amin, Shaan. “Making Fun of How South Asians Talk: A History.” The Atlantic, 2 Feb. 2018, www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/02/trump-modi-india-south-asia-accent-apu/551696/.
Dave, Shilpa S. Indian Accents: Brown Voice and Racial Performance in American Television and Film, University of Illinois Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/york/detail.action?docID=3414229.
Kondabolu, Hari. The Problem With Apu. truTV, 2017. CBC Gem, https://gem.cbc.ca/media/the-problem-with-apu/s01.
Kuruvilla, Carol. “Apu, a Racist Caricature of South Asians, Faces Reckoning in New Documentary.” Huffpost, 14 Nov. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/apu-a-racist-caricature-of-south-asians-faces-reckoning-in-new-documentary_n_59f339fbe4b07fdc5fbdb0d7.
Rosen, Christopher. “Hank Azaria Will Officially No Longer Voice Apu on The Simpsons.” Vanity Fair, 25 Feb. 2020, www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/02/hank-azaria-exits-apu-the-simpsons.