In the News

Pawan Dhingra’s bylines include The New York Times, CNN, and elsewhere, and he and his work have been profiled in NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Times of India, and many more venues. He has appeared on television, in a Netflix documentary, and other outlets.


The New York Times: “The Scripps Spelling Bee Is Broken. Please Don’t Fix It” (July 1, 2019)

CNN: “The difficult choice about hiring a tutor for your children” (September 22, 2020)

The Conversation: “Tutoring kids who don’t need it is a booming business in affluent areas where parents want to stack the deck” (March 2, 2020)

CNN: “The most effective way to fight back against anti-Asian hate” (March 21, 2021)

The Conversation: Racism is behind anti-Asian American violence, even when it’s not a hate crime (March 19, 2021)

Selected by The New York Times as a notable opinion piece.

Reprinted in Salon, US News and World Report, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Houston Chronicle, and elsewhere.

CNN: “How the story of Kamala Harris upends the Asian American ‘model minority’ stereotype” (August 19, 2020)

The Conversation: “Why Indian American spelling bee success is more than just an endearing story” (July 20, 2020)

Arc Digital: “Betsy DeVos Has a Plan to Help Low-Income Students. History Suggests the Opposite Will Happen.” (May 5, 2020)

The Buffalo News: “Gates Foundation takes wrong path to rethinking education” (June 1, 2020)

Author and activist Diane Ravitch’s blog invitation: “Pawan Dhingra on ‘Hyper Education’ and Its Consequences” (June 16, 2020)

The Bulwark: “Reform the Law, Too” (June 23, 2020)

Indian Express: “Stars and Gripes” (April 22, 2013)

Indian Express: “Missing the Desi Beat” (January 13, 2015)


TEDx, Harvard University (November 2018)

Review of talk: “Harvard’s Annual TEDx Event Challenges Attendees to Think Critically”

Brown University (October 2018)


Spelling the Dream (2020), on Netflix

Courtesy of Netflix


Comcast Newsmakers Equality, Identity & Hope: The Asian American Experience (May 13 2021)

CNBC Race and Opportunity in America (March 31, 2021)


NPR/Think Author Interview: “Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough” (January 27, 2021)

NPR/All Things Considered Author Interview: “‘Life Behind The Lobby’ Of Indian-American Motels” (May 30, 2012)

NPR/To the Best of Our Knowledge Author Interview: Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough” (May 27, 2020)

NPR/To the Best of Our Knowledge Author Interview: “Another Look at Hyper Education” (January 22, 2021)

NPR/The Roundtable Author Interview: Hyper Education: Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough (May 8, 2020)

NPR/Morning Edition: “Why Indian-Americans Reign As Spelling Bee Champs” (May 29, 2012)

NPR/Weekend Edition: “Here To Stay: How Indian-Born Innkeepers Revolutionized America’s Motels” (March 5, 2016)

NPR/Truth be Told, Race in the Workplace (hour long guest on the show)

Post and Courier Gravy Podcast: “Dinner at the Patel Motel” (March 10, 2016)

You’ve Got it Made Podcast

Emil Amok’s Takeout: “Asian American Islamophobia” (June 7, 2017)


The Atlantic: “Four Myths Fueling the Fight Over NYC’s Exclusive High Schools”

American Bazaar: “Motels in the US: the domain of Indian Americans”

Bloomberg: “Motel Industry Turmoil Blocks Indian-American Path to Prosperity”

Borderzine: “‘Patel Motels’ spreading Indian entrepreneurship throughout the U.S.”

Boston Globe: “Studies Show We Are a Long Way from the Land of the Free”

Boston Globe: “Dear Abby, Your Advice Against Giving Kids Foreign Names Reeks of Whitewashing”

The Caravan: “An exhibition on Indian Americans strives to present the community’s story on its own terms”

Colorlines: “How a Staple of Americana Became the Indian American Dream”

The Economic Times: “Why PM Modi is more alluring to the Patels of America than bellows for quotas back home”

Firstpost: “How Patels took over motels”

Forbes: “Why Any More Presidential Debates Should Be Entirely About COVID-19”

The Guardian: “The meaning of Kamala Harris: the woman who will break new ground as vice-president”

The Guardian: “From Apu to Master of None: how US pop culture tuned into the south Asian experience”

The Guardian: “No laughing matter: how can The Simpsons solve its problem with Apu?”

Gulf News: “About time! How US pop culture opened up to South Asia”

Hindustan Times: “For Patels living in US, reservation is not the solution”

Hindustan Times: “Things Indian Americans Have Had to Do to Belong”

Hyphen Magazine: “Front Desk – How Can I Help You?” Indian American Motel Owners in the Heartland”

International Business Times: “Spelling Bee Blues: Indians’ Domination Only Reasserts Negative Stereotypes”

Little India: “Indian American Hotels Scale Up”

Los Angeles Times: “Braille is everywhere, but most blind kids can’t read it. A competition hopes to change that”

NBC News: “‘Binded by blood,’ split over election: Asian American family embodies generational shift in politics”

News India: “Hindu priest brutally attacked in New York”

Nogales International: “Indian nationals find a home in Santa Cruz County”

PBS News Hour website: “5 stories from last week that deserve a second look”

PRI/The World: “Indian Americans are crucial voting bloc in Houston’s hotly contested House race”

PRI/The World: “Putting an end to ‘chain migration’ could have a negative economic impact”

PRI/Economics: “Sundar Pichai’s ascension at Google isn’t proof that immigrants have ‘made it'”

The StarLedger: “They know where it’s at: Indian-Americans rule at National Geographic Bee”

Quartz: “The affluent Patel clan owns a quarter of US motels. In India, it wants to be called ‘backward'”

Salon: “The White House is misleading the public on ‘chain migration'”

Slate, “Ed Case Shows How Not to Reach Out to Your Nonwhite Constituents”

The Society Pages: “Spelling Bees to Secure Straight ‘A’s'”

South China Morning Post: “How Indian kids became masters of spelling bees”

This Week in Asia: “How Indian kids conquered the English dictionary and became world champions of spelling bees”

Times of India: “Gujaratis 6% of Indians, but 20% of US Indians”

Times Herald-Record: “Schools Scramble to Respond to Influx of Immigrant Students”

USA Today: “‘Time for innovation’: How tutoring could be a key to lifting kids out of ‘COVID slide'”

Voice of America: “Trump Returns From India Visit, But With Some Rewards Yet to Come”

Washington Post: “An influential clan clamoring for opportunity in India also owns about half of U.S. motels”

Wall Street Journal: “Why Indian Americans are Best at Bees”

Wall Street Journal: “Why Indian Americans Dominate the U.S. Motel Industry”

Wall Street Journal: “‘Spelling the Dream’ Review: A Long Spell of Dominance”