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'Fresh Off The Boat' producer Khan: As power shifts, things get ugly, but 'it makes me feel hopeful'




Nahnatchka Khan on the set of her first ABC sitcom,
Nahnatchka Khan on the set of her first ABC sitcom, "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23."

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KPCC and other NPR Member stations are participating in a national conversation called "A Nation Engaged." This week at The Frame, we're asking creators who work in arts and entertainment to weigh in on our nation's state of affairs. 

Nahnatchka Khan is the creator and executive producer of the ABC series, “Fresh Off the Boat." The daughter of Iranian immigrants, Khan is part of what she calls "the bridge generation” — the advance team that makes forays into America and reports back to the family.

Here are Nahnatchka Khan's responses for "A Nation Engaged":

What does it mean to be an American?

I don't look for people to be exclusionary and close down a country that is built on immigrants. It's just not anything that reflects any experience of myself or people I know or, frankly, the direction I want the country to go in. So I don't take that as, Oh my gosh, the majority is feeling a way that I don't! I take that as, This minority is raging against the machine and raging against the dying of the lights! And [the ruling class is] reacting so loudly because they're used to being in power for so long. And when the power balance starts to shift, this is a reaction that you get from what I think will become the minority, if not already. It makes me feel, instead of the initial expected reaction of being afraid, it makes me feel hopeful. 

What could the next president do to advance your vision?

What I would love is for my president to embrace the idea that the country and the populace are so well-versed in politics at this point that we understand when you're being political and when you're being a politician. Politicians have to acknowledge that it's a different game now and you would gain so much more by being honest. For so many instances, the cover-up is worse than the actual transgression. Just be honest. No one is perfect. And if you expect your politicians to be perfect, you're going to be disappointed ten out of ten times. 

Series: A Nation Engaged

NPR and KPCC's coverage of critical issues facing the nation before November's presidential election. The stories seek to build a nationwide conversation around focusing on a specific question each time.

Read more in this series and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on Facebook.



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