Deepak Singh

How May I Help You

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In a work that is both moving and insightful, Deepak Singh chronicles his downward mobility as an immigrant to a small town in Virginia.  Armed with an MBA from India, Singh could only get a minimum wage job in an electronics store in a strip mall.  Every day at work he confronted unfamiliar American mores—from strange idioms to deeply entrenched racism to open expressions of sexuality. Story-by-story, Singh offers a portrait of America by an educated, if initially credulous, outsider. Through his unique lens, he learns about his colleagues and their struggles—Ron, a middle-aged African American man, simply trying to keep his job, house, and marriage in tactic despite health concerns; Jackie, a young African American woman trying to go to school after work; and Cindy, Deepak’s boss, whose matter-of-fact way of dealing with her employees helps Deepak to adapt to both his job and life in the U.S.   Candid and evocative, How May I Help You? is a powerful reminder that service and other low-wage workers are complex and inspiring in their dogged efforts to remain afloat. Their rich stories serve as a chance to humanize debates about work, race, and immigration. How May I Help You? is an incisive take on the United States, familiar and strange, from the perspective of someone “fresh off the plane.”
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272 printed pages
Original publication
2017

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