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thoughtsnips
Saturday, May 31, 2003
 
Carl,

Well, given my acute discomfort with Bush's foreign policy, you could not have possibly expected me to nod at the term moral clarity. To me, it is shorthand for lack of multiple inputs - which is important for any leader of a democratic country.

In some ways, I think many hawks in India are no more mature than those in Pak. What do u mean by u are not ok with the idea of Pakistan? Why can't we grow out of that obsession of fifty years? When the two countries became independent, they represented two different ideological standpoints. So, each expected the other to just crumble by itself. India could not envision a state found completely around the call of the religion. Pak could not envision a state with such a gaggle of nationalities for populace.

But now, we have come a long way. We still represent different things. But then, we are no more sole representatives of new ideas. Composite nations similar to India, like Indonesia have fallen apart (or are int eh process), states found with singular ideological focal point like Pakistan have also broken up. Ultimately, we should start looking at each other from a view that is different from the ideological one. We will not be, in any way, vindicated by a breakup of Pakistan or vice versa.

Say what u may, just having a democracy and elections is not a great achievement. To this day, we are an insecure state - not just because of outside factors. We have not liberalized in all these years. Our economy is still not secure. These are really the things that will vindicate our founding as a composite country. It is in this sense that values like accpetance and multi-culturalism are important for us. We cannot fail in all these and claim we are still one up, simply because we outlive Pakistan. That will just be a pyrrhic victory.


Ramki

 
This is a much-delayed response to Carl's argument that the dismemberment of Pakistan is the only long term solution to South Asian problems.


> Your post seems to say: "No point splitting Pak. Only way is to bare fangs. But we can't do that either".
Yes, I do not see how splitting Pakistan is going to help. May be talking abt it helps many Indians work up an orgasm. But that is just it. I am saying that if Pakistan does in deed split, it does not follow that we will have influence over all or any of them. We will be have to counter powerful entreaties from US and China and even Iran and Russia to do that. One other option is to "bare our fangs"., which is what I say will be difficult.

To put it succintly, to me, the proper approach seems to be
1. Box them in, form strong relationships with states around them AND the US. India has been trying to do this for a while now. It looks like there might be some success. During Kargil, even China told them off. There was a lot of wailing in the Pak press later about how every one of their friends, even China, had deserted them in need.
2. Engage them, use our best carrot, trade. There is a selfish reason why the establishment is Pak is resisting talking abt trade. They know they will lose a lot of leverage if Pak is forced to tone down the aggressive stands they have taken, which will be a big consequence of increasing bilateral trade. In essence, it will threaten their legitimacy. We have to learn the tricks of using trade as both carrot and stick from the US.
3. Seek out US support - it is very important that India builds strong ties with the US. I do not mean being a slavish yes-man. But yes, we need support here, and we need to support America when they undertake a worthwhile operation, which, most importantly, will not involve violence. Now, most people who are gung-ho over US-India ties seem to be intent on using it against Pak as a nation. I think we lose focus there. We need to target Pakistan as a state.
4. There are a lots of indications that US, the Bush admn, has decided to get its hands muddy in reforming Pakistan. We need to aid this effort. If not anything, help them with the carrots. This will strengthen the Indo-US ties, while at the same time, achieve our goals with Pakistan.

> Firstly, it has taken Bangladesh a while to come under the sway of fundamentalists, and then it has been able to summon the courage to act aggressively against India because of the way we have shown ourselves to be a soft state against aggression from Pak and others.
Sorry for saying this - This is sheer baloney. Bangladesh became overtly hostile to India under Zia-ur-Rehman, back in 1975 - a mere 4 years after we dismembered our neighbor. Those were teh times when Indira Gandhi was worshipped as Durga. She was, in essense, the powerful state. To counter B'desh's support to NE movements, India tried to aid Shanti Bahini in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Nothing came of it. To now say that we were a soft state and after watching us for a long while, BD is roarign is just misrepresentation of history.

> You are absolutely right in saying that "baring fangs" is the key, because "the people are the same" and will always be so. You are wrong in suggesting that it is too difficult for India to bare fangs. And even more incorrect in concluding that dividing Pak into smaller states is futile.
Look, you are not interpreting what I said correctly here. As I said in our talk the other day, baring the fangs should not be in the form of, say, fomenting trouble in Karachi. That is just flailing the arm wildly and hoping u will sqaure the opponent's jaw. What I mean is that we need to go after pointed targets. Blow up Syed Salahuddin. That sends across a direct message. Instead, there is a lot of talk among Indians of redirecting Indus and what not. People who argue for such solutions have no idea how much construction efforts, and money and time it takes to do that. Drawing curves on map sounds fun. Taking a mighty river like Indus is not that easy.

> I don't know where to begin, but it is politically, militarily and economically a more appealing task to deal with several small enemies than one large enemy.
> Yes, there are new complications too, but the net effect is greater space to maneuver. You can think about this yourself. And history itself provides umpteen examples of this being successfully used. Eastern Europe for the whole of last century, C.Asia, S.E.Asia. Even the tommies partitioned our country before leaving, though not to the extent they would have liked.

Give me an example where there is an instance of some population, dvided among themselves, but sharing some qualities and a common anti-someone agenda, were beaten by that someone individually. As far as I know, in almost every instance in history where is happened, the groups came together to face up that someone, especially if that someone is a lot more powerful than them. It's basic schooling behavior.
None of the examples u have given fits this mould - except, possibly, Central Asia. And even there, CA states were lilliputs compared to the mighty Russian empire of Ivan. In fact, Europe in 19th Century is an example to buttress my argument. The way every European power, themselves fighting over the umpteen colonial possessions, came together to beat Russia in Crimea is an awesome example.

--R

 
Straw, Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,967548,00.html

 
Phew! There is going to be one big feast in my house for tonite's dinner.... bigger than any u could have ever seen! Bigger than many marriages you have been to....

No, no one is cooking yet, or planning to... but what the heck! We have a kitchen.... you use a kitchen to prepare food. That means, if I have a kitchen, I am going to have a feast!

What do u mean "it does not make sense"??? Ask the President if u have doubts:according to man's man Bush, inspectors have found weapons of mass destruction - they have found two trucks that could be used as a biological weapons labs. Of course, that amounts to having all that Sarin and Mustard gas that Iraq was alleged to have had, for what is a kitchen, if not an indication of tonite's feast?

--R



Friday, May 30, 2003
 
Folks,

Can someone explain to me the implications of opening up capital markets to Foreign Institutional Investment? As a case in point, could someone explain possible reasons why India exposed itself to FII and external control so early in reforms, while PRC is doing so only now?

Would really appreciate any info.

 
Kartic,

Thanks for bringing up this very imp angle. The "Maoist" forces at work in Nepal are part of the larger malaise in India. Ironically, they hardly derive much material and ideological support from the Chicoms. They do so from the communist forces within India. One of the leaders of the Nepal Maosits (don't recall his name right now) says he owes his ideological foundations to some professor in India. He studied in India. They are also,linked with the growing ISI influence in Nepal, and recently the Paki ambassador throw out of Nepal for possessing vast quantities of explosives was found to have links with these Maoists.

The communist/leftist network in India is vast and has been very active for decades now. They do not believe in the Indian nation. They have consistently been subversive.

In West Bengal, they are directly responsible for facilitating and encouraging illegal immigration from B'desh, creating a serious national security problem. The commies actually defended the Chinese aggression in 1962 and blame India. The Naxalite movement has lost all moral raison d'etre long ago, and is today only an obstacle to progress. Incidentally, about 5 yrs ago, a police officer in AP divulged that the majority of naxalites captured lately were Muslims with links to certain shady organizations in Hyderabad. The commies have allied with ANY force that is anti-status quo and seditious.

Most dangerous is the fact that they have virtually monopolized the "intellectual" class in India. For 50 years they have decided what is "progressive" and what isn't. In fact, in their new avatar, they call themselves "secular progressives". If you examine their ideology and the positions they take on various social and developmental issues, you will find that they are exactly the opposite of that -- bigotted retrogressives.

Many such apparently bleeding-heart pacifists love to advocate the Paki viewpoint in the Indian media. Teesta Setalvad (I think) was running a Mumbai-based organization, and on a map on their website Pakistan was more than half as large as India and had ALL of J&K. They hurriedly removed that map when alert surfers complained during that IDRF-smear campaign which she was involved in.

Watch out for the enemy within. The problem is far more insidious than you can imagine. BTW, if you aren't already a regular visitor, you should follow BRF.

 
The Cat is Out of the Bag!

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030530/ap_on_re_eu/wolfowitz_iraq_4

Wonder how many of the Americans that supported the war would notice and comprehend the magnitude of Wolfowitz's statement...

 
Folks...we are worried about Pakistan and Islamic fundamentalism...how about Nepal, with the Maoist rebellion gaining on the democracy? With their style of communism modelled after Mao's, it could mean that we have a gateway for Chinese influence into India. Nepal has been an India-friendly state for ages and all that could change if the Maoist rebels succeed. In fact, the Brits rushed to bring Nepal under their sphere of influence for strategic reasons....would India not be foolish to lose this buffer state from its sphere?

I found this article from the BBC web site talking about the rebellion...read on

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1261820.stm

Thursday, May 29, 2003
 
Sorry I forgot to reiterate that fundamental principle in my reply: The Only Solution is the effective death of Pakistan.

After 50 years of trying every possible method (including enough intellectualizing), if you still think we are "at the beginning", then god save us. This is the most excruciating thing we have to deal with as Indians, and a hard struggle to the visible End is inevitable now. Note that the only escape from that is to stagnate as 3rd world underachievers. Time to give up seeking explanations and understanding in moral relativism, compromise, and what not. Been through Mitra, Sama, Dana. Say hello to Bheda and Danda, which have shown potential for results when used before. Bite the bullet and devote energy to cutting our way towards the End -- in favour of Indian Values. Humane considerations are still relevant, in achieving that End with the least amount of 'fallout'.

 
Ramki bhai,

Your post seems to say: "No point splitting Pak. Only way is to bare fangs. But we can't do that either".

Firstly, it has taken Bangladesh a while to come under the sway of fundamentalists, and then it has been able to summon the courage to act aggressively against India because of the way we have shown ourselves to be a soft state against aggression from Pak and others.

You are absolutely right in saying that "baring fangs" is the key, because "the people are the same" and will always be so. You are wrong in suggesting that it is too difficult for India to bare fangs. And even more incorrect in concluding that dividing Pak into smaller states is futile.

I don't know where to begin, but it is politically, militarily and economically a more appealing task to deal with several small enemies than one large enemy. Yes, there are new complications too, but the net effect is greater space to maneuver. You can think about this yourself. And history itself provides umpteen examples of this being successfully used. Eastern Europe for the whole of last century, C.Asia, S.E.Asia. Even the tommies partitioned our country before leaving, though not to the extent they would have liked.
-----

BTW, where are all the members?

 


> As a rule of thumb: anyone who acts against the ultimate goal of the dismemberment of Pakistan is doing so against India's fundamental interests.

I disagree... any one who thinks dismemberment of Pakistan is teh solution for India is obviously not taking lessons from history. Pakistan was dismembered once - in 1971 - with a lot of active Indian involvement. And what happens in our borders with that country we 'helped liberate'? To me, Bangladesh seems more hostile than Pakistan. What Pak did to Amol Kalia during Kargil, BDF seems happy to do to BSF jawans caught during minor skirmishes.
Ultimately, we can be confident that every nation that comes out of this so-much-dreamed-about dismemberment of Pak will again be against India. Because the states might change - their names might be different. But the people are the same.

If you think those people will be ready to live happily ever after alongside India then, they will be happy to do so now. Of course, there is this argument that except Punjab, every other state would be happy with India. We said the same before 1971. In fact, back then, East Bengal was considered the most liberal of the Pakistani provinces. What happened after 1971?

One more thing - India has been committing the same mistake time and again. It is to assume that smaller states amount to smaller problems. Wrong. Size is a disadvantage for a state only if we decide to use force. Till such time we refrain from baring fangs, only the will of the opponent to cause harm matters. And using force is not something we can do that easily, not under the hard glare from China and America.

Last, but not the least, there is one thumbrule in any discussion: it's that thumbrules are evolved towards the end - not at the beginning. :-)

--R

 
Re: Paki stance on J&K :

There are two things involved here: a) Whether Pak is considering refocussing its practical foreign policy away from K-jihad as a tactical or even strategic imperative (b) Whether Pak is growing out of its K-obsession.

The first is bound to be temporary, and that is exactly what they might be contemplating. Anyone familiar with the 3 pillars on which Pak stands (AAA) knows better than to attribute free and efficient cause to Pakistan's moral maxims. Trial balloons such as these are floated on tactical or strategic impulses, and not as a result of a fundamental change of character.

In spite of expatriate savings, financial aid bakhseesh and debt relief having poured in post-9/11, their economy is still in a shambles (tho the figures seem pretty because the $ is sliding). Most importantly, Pak is an auto-rickshaw who's 3rd wheel is wobbling dangerously (assuming Allah is patient even with baby-killers). Both America (and China) are not as solidly behind it as before, for a variety of reasons. Their support has become conditional, more than ever before.

It is in response to these conditionalities that Pak is acting. Of course, let's give credit to the pressure that India has been applying of late. Op Sarp Vinash is the latest.

If I am wrong in this assessment, then it is upto them to undertake confidence-building measures.

The US will not give up its 'stalwart ally' so easily. This peace-negotiation is a temporizing measure, before Pak gets some lift again, courtesy Uncle. This is the most troubling aspect from India's POV.

As a rule of thumb: anyone who acts against the ultimate goal of the dismemberment of Pakistan is doing so against India's fundamental interests.

 
Terrifying Bill Passed During NBA Playoffs
Read it all on The (one and only) Onion!
:)

WASHINGTON, DC--With the nation safely distracted by the NBA playoffs, Congress passed the terrifying Citizenship Redefinition And Income-Based Relocation Act of 2003 with little opposition Monday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003
 
One interesting article in today's WashPost:
PAKISTANIS WEIGH STANCE ON KASHMIR
John Lancaster says that many in Pakistan now say that the economy should get resources.

The English language press in Pak has always been more moderate than the ever hawkish Urdu media. What is interesting is that , acc to this article, arguments for peace even if it means compromise on Kashmir is now being aired in the Urdu media.

Another very interesting quote: "If Pakistan has to live under a hegemony, let it be India and not the USA" -- Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. :)


Ramki

 
All commentary on the Iran question today states that it is in a totally different category from Iraq. And while military, economic and geostrategic stats are brushed over, the argument ultimately rests on the character of the Iranian nation, and all its constituent ethnicities.

Iran has had pro-democratic propensities since the end of the 19th century. Unfortunately, each time a movement gained momemtum, external threats would actuate themselves, moving in at a time of domestic weakness. Generally, the Iranian people reacted by suspending any such movement and banding together. The Qajars were forced to convert to a constitutional monarchy. But a little later Iran was occupied during the WWs, and then the Pahlavis took over. Again a movement for greater freedom under "Arya Mihir" Reza Shah, which he crushed using the SAVAK and with American connivance. Then the Islamic Revolution, immediately after which, as usual, external enemies moved in. An 8 year war with Iraq, supported -- again -- by the West.

Now once again there is a movement for freedom from the suffocating grip of the mullahs. One also wonders if the over-emotional Iranians seem incapable of effecting social transformation peacefully and by evolving, instead of constant upheaval.

 
Fighting sexual harassment, ask Loyola students how

Tuesday, May 27, 2003
 
Ever noticed?

Google ranks Google 3rd for search engines

Try it:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Search+Engine&btnG=Google+Search

 
Ramki,
What about that report of secret deportations and detainment?
Also, what became of that threat to deport any immigrant they feel has anti-American opinions or who takes ideological positions contrarian to American values? I believe "leftists" are to be given special attention under this new legislation. I also know that some right-wing NRIs here reported some Indian leftists based in the US. Any news on that?

 
Court Allows Secret Deportation Hearings
Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Hundreds of Secret Deportation Hearings Held Since 9/11

http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Politics/ap20030527_1238.html

Note for those not well versed with the working of the Supreme Court of the United States:
Most cases to the court are brought thru what are called writs of certeriori - a case to review - from the regional circuit courts. At least 4 of the 9 supremes must vote to take the case. If not, the court turns the case away - with no comment. This is what happened in this case.

What is unusual is that if two circuit courts have given conflicting judgements, the Supremes usually take the case to settle the issue nationally. They have not done it in this case.

This is NOT a precedent setting thing. Tomorrow, if some one takes teh same kind of case, the court might vote to take it and pass judgement. It has, for now, said there is nothing so significant in the case to review OR that it is not ready to pronounce the final word on this.

But as of this case, the last guy who won - the US Admn, takes home the win.


Ramki

 
ThoughtSnips has Moved:

I just made a slight modification: I moved ThoughtSnips to this location:
http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/~ramakris/blogs/ThoughtSnips/blogger.html

Please do update ur bookmarks.

The idea is that we could create separate blogs in future, if we find it necessary, to discuss specific range of topics.


Ramki

 
Wondering if we could comment, in parallel, on the Indo-Pak developments. One important aspect is this:
Review India-Iran pipeline -- Pak to India

IMHO, the only reasonable deal on this issue that might be worthy of India's consideration is this:- For India to agree to let its crucial oil supplies come via Pak only if the security of this pipeline is directly connected with the Indus Water Treaty. But Indus water is crucial for Pak only at certain times of the year. So a protocol has to be devised so that we have an equal threat-benefit system. Also, no royalties for the oil transit. It simply becomes a water-for-oil treaty. I think this is the only proposal that we Indians could reasonably consider.

So we should go ahead full-steam with the Baglihar Dam construction, and also other canal systems. We also need to continue to diversify our oil-procurement options.

 
Here's the other type of Xian -- perhaps found only in India -- who is always loved and welcome.
Proselytization In India: An Indian Christian's Perspective

 
Evangelists ....

Ramki has posted an interesting article about the activities of Evangelists, but their activity is nothing new, only their target and approach are. For years, missionaries have crawled across the deserts of Arabia converting only handful of people here and there, partly due to the stringent anti-conversion laws in these Muslim nations and mostly due to Muslim's infallible belief in Islam. Now, this strategic planning for onslaught against is actually worrisome, IMO, for both world peace and the future of other religions, not just Islam.

How long will it take for a concentrated attack on Hinduism or Buddhism, if these missionaries "research" and promulgate the only less pleasant aspects of each religion? Islam at least violently resists such attempts to steal the mantle, so the speak. For centuries, that is what missionaries have done in India - they saw success partly due to our own socio-economic conditions.

It is actually false advertisement when Ms. McEvoy says "Our job is not make Muslims a Christian, but show the love of Christ", because in typical American advertising parlance, they don't how to sell a product based only on its own merits without denigrating the competitor(s).

Anyway, for the broader picture of religions and cruelty in each. Actually, I wanted to start a thread on the Blog on something similar but was not sure if it was appropriate. My thought was to even question the existence and necessity of religions. My thought was about replacing religion with spirituality, for it is does not matter if you are Christian, Hindu or Muslim if you are not spiritual in thought and action. In the context of Ramki's blog, does it matter if the Muslim becomes a Christian if he is not spiritual? Ok, he is a Christian, probably a protestant, then what next?

Another thing that I noticed in that NY Times article is Mr. Caner assertion that it is his right to stand outside a mosque and tell Muslims that Jesus saves. Is it really a right?

I am not knowledgeable like Ramki in matters of the Bible but I do know that their God exhorts them to go forth make believers out of non-believers. Does it also say use any method, hook or crook, to achieve that....beats me!

 
Now for a new discussion guys: This one sure to fire off a few good ones....

Evangelists... the self-styled do gooders, the most-hated fundamentalists, tools of western conspiracies.... a lot has been said abt them. Here is an article in The New York Times today. I would like to get some discussion going on how, on a global scale, and locally in India, we could counter these guys, while ensuring that no one's democratic rights are violated.

Strange people, these. My knowledge of the Bible is not much deeper than the Olentangy, but I could reel out outright cruel stuff in there... sample this,

Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife. (1 Samuel 18:27)

And Quran is cruel?

The point is, every scripture, or mythology has cruely in it - Hindu ones included. As evolved people, we are supposed to know how to rise above that and understand the good things in them. Using them to spite another's literature, to me, sounds stupid.

-R


 
Now for Iran:

Carl, first, it is not exactly right to say Iraqis did not resist. The country had an army that was not worth calling so. In the last ten years, almost all weapons of the US went thru two generations of changes. Iraq did not have much scope to find spares even (though,, by all accounts, they did get a few here and there). And yet, Basra held out for two weeks.

Coming to Iran itself, well, in the beginning, the same was the tone of the Bushies with Iraq. Back then, I thought this was all a good bit of sabre rattling to get the inspector in and keep them there. And Bushies did spring a surprise by actually going the whole hog. After that experience, it would be folly to believe that they are just doing it to shoo the Iranians off Iraq.

I am mighty worried precisely because of two reasons:
1. this conflict can derail one of the nascent moderate movements in Islamic world. A backlash, if it occurs in Iran, will surely evaporate the Khatami class. We would lose one great precedent for the future.
2. India's predicament would become pathetic if there is a conflict. We will have to choose then between Iran and Us-Israel, by all means, a Hobson's Choice. If US does succeed in Iran, and we have one more Karzai there, our entire stategy of containment of Pakistan would derail. India is struggling hard, doling out a lot of freebies to keep the Afghans within a grasping distance. Iran joining that list would be disaster for us.

As much as I want peace with Pakistan, I do not think the situation nowhere close to us going bhai-bhai. Till that happens, we need to hold on to smart strategic doctrines.

--R

 
First abt the Discrimination argument:

Carl, I see that u are making valid distiction between discrimination as a psychological phenomenon, and as a social construct.

Howver, in a holistic discussion on the role of discrimination, I think the latter should dominate, because when an Af-Am or an immigrant or a woman or a homosexual or a Muslim (I am just reeling out examples) is being slighted out of notions constructed in vast cavities of warped craniums, he or she is not going to go searching for psychological underpinnings of it. It will create social tensions - plain and simple. I am more interested in looking at that. However, I do agree that we ought to take the psychology of it to understand the possible ways of alleviating the problem.

I see two different streams of approach emerging in these discussions here... an academic or theoretical one, and (what I would call) "activist" one. I may be wrong in classifying out right here - but I see Carl as representing of the former, while Chubs and myself as following the latter approach. Each tends to be more grounded to reality and in the realm of idealism at different times. It might lead to misunderstandings too, at times, as we had a while back. But it sure gives us good new perspectives.

One other fact that stands out in the last para is that NO ONE ELSE IS POSTING!!! COME ON GUYS!!!

--R

Monday, May 26, 2003
 
Ramki,
The talk about Iran bothers me. My masi lives in Kerman, and I know she won't budge from there although she can go to Mumbai anytime.

The most powerful religious-political figure to have entered the Iraqi scene lately has been the Shia cleric who was in exile in Iran all these Saddam years. The US might be wary of some Iranian influence-mongering in the emerging Iraqi politic. That could be an explanation for the threatening noises.

Frankly, most people agree that the Iranians won't tamely surrender their towns and cities to invading yanks the way the Iraqis did. Besides, there might be another couple of Asian countries who would also be more willing to put their troops where their mouth is in the event of a US attack on Iran, than what they did in the Iraqi scenario. What do you think India's position will be? We've been conspicuously taking concrete steps towards developing relations with Iran in the recent past, despite the occasional disapproving grunt from Uncle.

 
Hey Ramki, Re: your last post on the "prejudice" issue :-

We're still in slightly different orbits. I totally agree that beyond a point prejudice can become a hindrance to the progress of a backward community or individual, although you admit it does play a part in motivating the subject to "start" reform. But why did you presume that I didn't account for this?

I spoke of the primary concern being a widely-accepted social conception of what was right and wrong, desirable and undesirable, valuable and vain. Clearly, if this was done to any reasonable extent, the glass-ceiling phenomenon wouldn't prevail. That happens because the people doing the discriminating do not quite know what they're discriminating against; or worse, they consciously discriminate based on racial supremacist ideas. In other words, their prejudice and act of discrimination is motivated by skewed moral concepts. So those attendant cultural conditions I mentioned are to blame, and not the psychological phenomenon of prejudice and generalization itself.

Speaking for myself and some Indians I know, we warm to af-am individuals once their behaviour is observed to be civil. So subconsciously, that was our primary concern.

 
Are we not hearing too much chatter in DC abt Iran these days? Boy, I am worried now! I say, will sombody convince Bush that he could save some 100 more billions (more tax cuts!!) if he refrains from a war against Iran?

--R

 
Oh, I forgot to mention my own view of national pride... well, I do not see national pride in isolation as a concept. I see it more as belonging to a continuum of prides - personal, communal, national, human... it just reflects our sense of identity. Just as I am Ramki, a Thamizh-Hindu-Iyengar-Chennaiite-South Indian-Grad Student-etc etc etc-Coffee Drinker (in no particular order), an Indian and a human, my pride too has a lot of identities.

Of course, as our sense of identity varies, our pride too varies, as does our ideological standpoints. Some are committed internationalists, who believe that all humans are one, some are decidedly communalists - they believe their community or ideology is more special than others. It's only a shift in emphasis. I would not say they are all equally valid - I myself believe that parochial attitudes most times reflect a narrower thinking. But yes, one can certainly not hold any particular emphasis as invalid uniformly in all instances.

--R

 
For once, I got thru a D'Souza posting without gagging or screaming my grey matter out. I am not going to say whether or not I agree with D'Souza, because I do not think even he understands what he has been writing. This essay, seen in isolation is fine. But put it along with his previous article on this topic, things take on a different color altogether. So, let me just comment on this article in isolation.

First the easier question to answer: Yes, I do agree with D'Souza in that every achievement of an Indian, whether in Kargil, or in an operation theater, or in a research lab, or the sports arena should fill us with pride. And yes, even if the loss of a Sanjoy Ghose may have gone unsung, it was indeed a huge loss for the nation. He is no less a hero than Lt.Col. Vijayaraghavan, who died in Kargil. Each served people dear to them, and died for that cause.

Now to the wider question raised by D'Souza. Are pride and patriotism self-defeating?
D'Souza need not pain himself so much with patriotism or national pride, which are concepts involving a society or a multitude of people. They are in many ways similar to the other competitive emotions we all experience - ambition, self-esteem etc. Now, each of us can give a thousand examples of people who, driven by ambition, simply overreached, and brought failure or destruction upon themselves. Would we say that ambition itself is wrong then? IMHO, no. These emotions could play positive roles in impelling us towards our goals. There is an anecdote (I do not know how true this is) that the Americans built the Interstate to convince themselves they had not lagged behind, when Russians launched the first satellite. It is an example of how such feelings could be tapped by leaders to do something positive to their country or society.

As much good as they could do, these emotions should also be accompanied by other values to moderate their influence on our actions. In some sense, they both temper and aid each other. Only a man with self-esteem can be expected to maintain his moral obligations and a man who does so, will feel every right to possess self-esteem. It is when such moderating influences are absent or suppressed, that there is created an imbalance that keeps accelerating us into oblivion. That is what happened to the Third Reich and its Fuhrer. This applies as much to us as individuals as to nations and societies.

DC Hawks gave us example after example of countries that were destroyed by their so-called peace mongering (e.g. France during the same WW2). Allende was killed because of his commitment to socialism. Does that make their values and ideologies wrong too?

In the first place, it is folly to judge the validity of an ideology purely based on what happened to it in some particular instants. There are too many factors and incidents that led to the fall of Hitler. What would have happened had Stalingrad fallen? What would have happened had the D-Day failed? So, to me it seems to be an oversimplification to hold that Hitler failed because of his pride in his nation.

True, national pride has proved to be one of the most manipulated collective emotions in history. Even this day, we see Bushies shamelessly chanelling the emotional vulnerability of the people of this country into partisan support for Dubya. But that does not mean such pride is wrong in itself.

--R

Sunday, May 25, 2003
 
http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/may/23dilip.htm?zcc=dc

People...here is one of Dilip D'Souza's masterpieces. I refuse to comment as my opinion will be totally biased against him, no matter what...interested in reading your opinions!

 
The White House website has
Dubya's speech at OSU
.

--R


 
RE Clinton's Syracuse Commencement

I agree with Ramki. Superb, well-thoughtout words and I would say, truely inspirational if you are a student headed out to face the cruel world.

Ramki - Could you post transcript of Dubya's speech as well?

 
> Do you agree that this is the reason?
Ummm... Frankly, I do not know. Going by Carl's arguments, it could be... As Carl says, we could just be reflecting what is already there. But I do not see any evidence of that. But neither can I come up with an alternate explanation, except tht it is a reflection of our attribution of superiority to whites. So, I am not willing to commit either way here.

And as for that marriage stuff, well, at least they said she was American! And why does it occur to me that it was only because it was she was so-close-to-white Jewish?

:)

R



 
Well...looks everybody has kissed and made up...

>> 4. I do not think Chubby or Carl answered my particular question on why Indians seem to associate the word 'American' exclusively with whites.

Ramki, IMO, I made this point right in my original transcript...it is two things..America's view that American refers to white americans and our own colonial mentality (please, no more discussion on this aspect!). Do you agree that this is the reason?

Let me close my rather short note with an interesting snippet...In one of the NRI families I know, the son is married to an American; the way I was relayed the news - "He is married to an American...but she is a Jew" :-O

 
Call me whatever, I think Bill Clinton is just a class apart... I simply adore this guy. Here is a speech he gave recently in Syracuse University. What a contrast from Dubya's speech here! :(

Ramki

 
I cannot quite agree with Carl. My argument again would be that there are positive, legitimate tools for developing a society, and there are others. One common belief is that (and there is some logic to this) dictatorships are more more efficient systems of governance than democracies. The need to evolve a consensus, or at least the least objectionable of all choices, necessarily slows dows the decision making process in domcracies. So, would we recommend dicatorships for chronically slow countries like India? I would rather not.

One point to note: It is not discrimination that puts people on the path to emancipation. It is the backlash against the discrimination. Thus, discrimination achieves the goal by a necessarily divisive process, a pretty dubious distiction.

IMO, Carl's arguments are oversimplifying. Sure, some compelling factor does help the process of emancipation. However, the main hindrance for emancipation is not the lack of an instict to emancipate among all. I would argue that the main impediment is the lack of, or weakness of, the means of such emancipation.

For example, due to historic reasons, a community might be lagging behind in education. That does not mean later generations do not *want* to educate themselves. On the contrary, a person who is getting educated from such a community will necessarily face more hardships in the process than a person who is coming from a background where being educated is the norm. In such a situation, discrimination would *add to* and not ameliorate the problem faced by this person. In effect, it will *slow down* and not accelarate change. Sure, the instinct to escape the discrimination would impel the community to *start* getting educated. But, the same would also become a hurdle once they start.

This idea is most easily captured by the glass ceiling. No one could claim that career women today are putting in any less than men. However, the number of top positions held by women to this day remain disproportionately low. Thus, while discrimination, or more to the point, backlash against it, such as feminist movements etc, put the women in the workplace, it has failed the let them grow there. This then is decidedly not good.

--R

 

Death sentence overturned because court officials forgot to remove the bibles from jury members' hotel rooms

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=2813366

 
Ramki called me up the day before, because he was shocked that someone he's known for a while now appears to be a bigot and a boor. Apparently I had been misread, and after a tele-shouting session we agreed that the worst thing about me was just that I have poor essay-writing skills!

I just logged in to set the record straight, but I see Ramki's last post on the subject has already puts things into perspective.

Its worth touching on the role of GENERALIZATIONS in society, though (of which common prejudice is an example). Of course, my brief comment earlier was an observation, and not a moral argument in idealism. I expand here in the same vein.

In keeping with my lousy word-choice I had used the word "utility", which brings to the reader's mind the idea of a Utilitarian weightage of right and wrong in making particular decisions. As I said, that wasn't my idea. Whether in the sense of a general Rule, or of Act-based Utilitarianism, that logic always pertains to the PARTICULAR, and is about moral idealism anyway. My idea was to suggest that in the larger scheme of things, generalizations as a human psychological FACT can and do play a positive role in the social dynamics.

The general goal then, is to shape a general national culture based on good values, rather than shallowness and mediocrity. In the former case, social pressure on all component groups is to improve and tend toward those values; in the latter the tendency is toward the law of the jungle. In the former, the majority is prejudiced against all social behaviour that doesn't conform to a superior value-system; in the latter, prejudice is truly petty and vicious.

So prejudice does have a role to play in society. The effects of prejudice depend on these other variables. Prostitution does have a role to play in society, however ugly. The goal is to control prostitution, keep it where it belongs (in the sewer), and make sure it is not abused (as in young girls being forced into it), etc.

Just my 2 cents.

Saturday, May 24, 2003
 
Wow! Somthing wrong here - I posted my conclusions from the discussion on racial discrimination yesterday, and bingo! it's gone now!!

I will post this again:


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NOTA BENE: Guys, let me make one thing clear... we are going to be civil with each other here. No argument is stupid to make. And no one has the right to be contemptuous of another's arguments. That is the one ground rule here. (And there is no rule to keep me from throwing my weight around! ;) )
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OK, I think we can conclude this discussion, for now. This is what I gleaned from this discussion. Chubs, Carl, please correct me if I am wrong in drawing these conclusions abt ur arguments:

1. The argument seems to emerge from one basic difference: Chubs is asking why things are the way they are, while Carl, accepting that Chubs is not really reading the ground wrong, is saying that it is natural that it happens. Carl is not denying that there is discrimination. Chubs and I find it jarring that we, being minorities ourselves, should discriminate based on color. Carl seems to hold that the discrimination is not really based on color, but on behavior. So, Carl's argument seems to be that girls do not avoid the Kroger because it is frequent by Af-Ams, but because the crime scene there is indeed bad. My view is that Carl is in a sense right, BUT, the big difference emerges when u ask why they avoid it. The most prevalent answer would again be that it is frequented by Af-Ams. This seems to be a short hand among some Indians for saying that the crime rate there is high. That is what Chubs is taking umbrage at. While crime in that area is an equal ooportunity industry, Indians instinctively seem to blame the Af-Ams. To me, that is clearly hidden discrimination.

2. Carl seems to believe that discrimination has an useful role to play in society, or, as he puts it has "utility". I disagree. There are legitimate tools and there are illegitimate tools for achieving the same objective. Carl seems to believe, broadly speaking, that discrimination will lead to emancipation. I do not. There are ethical issues involved here that illegitimize such means of achieving the ends.

3. Carl's remarks on that power equations is, on the first reading, misleading. On a more careful perusal, with some guidance from Carl, I understand now that what he means is that we are just trying to fit into the pre-existing power equations here. He is not saying it is right. He is just explaining the approach of many. He is defending here the existence of discrimination among Indians, which is different from defending the discrimination itself.

4. I do not think Chubby or Carl answered my particular question on why Indians seem to associate the word 'American' exclusively with whites.

5. While I do hold that Af-Ams have every right to demand that they be addressed in a particular way, I do agree that in the final run, the symptom is not so serious as the disease itself. Discrimination is the disease here. The way we address them, Kallus or Karuppans or whatever, is just a symptom, at least in some cases. In my view, more than take offense at the symptom, we need to address the underlying disease. May be, the symptoms will not appear that serious if there is no underlying problem. In some sense, Carl seems to be saying this in his arguments.

-Ramki



 
Lend a ear to 'misunderstood' Modi

Misquoted, misunderstood Modi. That’s who city-based Team Spirit India Private Limited is plugging with its series of audio books.

http://www.newindpress.com/Newsitems.asp?ID=IEP20030524065105&Title=States&rLink=0

Hmm.... will be interesting to listen to this...
-R

 
Forward March!

Bush weighs effort to undermine Iranian leadership
By WARREN P. STROBEL
http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/5923714.htm


 
Santorum V Leno

BTW, talking abt Santorum, I think the best repartee for his comments came, not from any liberal, but from Jay Leno.

Santorum's Stmt: I do not have problems with homosexual prople. I have problems with homosexual acts.
JL's comment: Well... may be he is doing it wrong!


 
EXTRA EXTRA!! Ramki Defends Santorum!!! EXTRA EXTRA!!

Shouting Down Santorum?

The recent discussion on the usage of racial epithets, such as "Black", makes me post something that has been disturbing me for a few days now.

Sometimes, I have noticed that liberals run too far with arguments on being politically correct. Take for example the statement of Sen.Santorum recently (I know I made more than one person jerk here!)

While sure, I consider him and his ilk irrational, unreasonable, and worse still, unconscionable, the particular statement that everybody highlighted, that which question how one could differentiate between homosexuality and bigamy, polygamy bestiality and incest, was a patently wrong one to take offence at.

He is decidedly on a weak wicket with the first three:
* Bigamy or Polygamy are a question of marriage - not mere acts of having sex. I do not know abt Santorum, but I think much more of a marriage than as a mere license for having sex.
* Bestiality could not possibly be construed as consensual sex.

But consensual incest is definitely a trouble spot. How do u explain why that is legally wrong while saying sodomy is not?

This specific question was asked by Justice Powell during the Hardwick case and got no satisfying answer. The case ended with the Supreme Court upholding the Georgia Sodomy Law, the biggest blow till date from the Supremes to gay rights issue. Justice Powell ended up giving the 5th winning vote for the majority in that case.

To raise a hue and cry abt that remark, so many times asked in the past, with no answer ever given, could genuinely be seen, at least by people not inclined to support gay rights, as an attempt to shout down the question.

Again, this is certainly not an exculpation of Santorum. As a Senator, he is supposed to take a more pragmatic look at the issue than the Book-bound Supreme Court Justices, which he clearly has not. Not only that, the other part of his interview makes it clear that he is not troubled so much by the law aspects of it but by the historical and religious rejection of Sodomy... again, an equation of a relationship with the act of having sex.




Friday, May 23, 2003
 
Ramki,
Once again I'm being asked to answer to issues that I did not primarily refer to.

1) As I indicated before, I would be happy to call them anything they're comfortable with. Just that I'm not so sure Indians who harmlessly refer to them as "blacks" are doing so with deliberate malevolence. Your point about "code switching" is valid.

2) No, I too do not believe in collective guilt, and the whole Af-Am community should not be shunned. I came to the US determined to mix with one and all. So yes, we Indians should not contribute to or perpetuate these false stereotypes mindlessly, especially us students who should be more observant and open-minded. However, given the general behaviour of some, I wouldn't blame an Indian girl for avoiding humiliation by staying away from ghettos. I wouldn't ask her to risk it, and would myself advise a female friend to be careful.

3) The social role of prejudice is connected with the above. Prejudice is neccesary in human society, and it is central to social groups. In fact, "prejudice" is only a special case of generalization. No generalization is "good", but it has a utility. Af-Ams can change their image if they decide to do so. Prejudice against them is a motivation for the more enlightened Af-Ams to force the rest of their flock to reform too.

4) I have acknowledged that Indians do have a more positive impression of "whites". These are common power equations; you "respect" the powerful. However, I also mentioned that I have seen Indians in India fawning on Af-Am tourists too, and even rich Bhutanese and Rwandan exchange students. It is natural curiosity and fascination. Let's not attribute every case of "awe" to one cause.

5) Once again, I do not want to be asked to comment on some ridiculous hypothetical situations like "my stupid bigotted friend said this. do you agree?" (implying that I'm coming from the same place he is). Since Kartic wanted to be critiqued, I made a point: Indians are not *particularly* hard on Af-ams, and Af-ams are partly responsible for their image.

6) Of course I've been at the receiving end of not just velvety jibes, but lost a lot of money last year to my overtly racist "white" landlady whom i didnt have the means to sue. But I have also been at the receiving end of jibes from Af-ams, calling me gippy (egyptian?), iranian and so on, supposedly curse-words in the post-9/11 world. These remarks don't bother me one bit. Only the b*itchy landlady did.

Overt prejudice is very much a part of the American landscape, much more so than in India. Some Indians who come here have to take a stand, and some get thrown off and imitate that attitude. I don't think Indians are particularly to blame, what with Jung and medieval history thrown in. If you want to discuss a fundamental issue, then discuss American society, or discuss socio-political equations.

cheers.

 
WELCOME THE NEW SHERLOCK!

After a lot of research, I think I have cracked the case of the recent Yale Law School bombing....
It MUST be Justice Clarence Thomas. In an article in Esquire, Ron Suskind reports that in Thomas's office at the Supreme Court, he keeps a sign on the bookshelf. It reads: "SAVE AMERICA, BOMB YALE LAW SCHOOL."

Elementary, Watson!

:-P

 
Incidentally, I personally experienced one more instance of stereotyping -
Time: Today at 1130 am

I had been to a Doctor in Student's Health Center. The Doc was a very nice lady, not a trace of bigotry or anything. I happened to mention that I had had an MRI taken abt four years back, in India. And guess what? She was so surprised, she actually asked me if I had done it in India. When I said yes, she asked me if I was sure if it was an MRI. I had an inkling of what she was driving at. And sure enuf, she explains to me - She was surprised that we had *MRI*s in India!! That starving country of wretches! See, that is the idea they have. I would definitely not hold it against her. Sure, we do have poor, starving, masses. But then, so does the so-called "Greatest Nation of Earth", United States! 12 million people here were starving here - that was before Bush came to power. IMHO, the only numbers that have gone up in Bush's US are that one and Bush's approval rating. Why should she assume that we would not have enuf medical facilities there? The answer is simple: STEREOTYPES!

 
Hey! As the official host of this blog, I reserve the right to 'end it rationally' (Geez.. I hope it does not scare off too many people :).) And I am NOT ending it here. :)

Anyhow, here are my views:

1. Carl, in a sense, u are not quite right when u say that it is ok to call them Blacks (or any translations thereof) just because they call themselves that. There is something called code switching. Everybody does that - from kids to adults, whenever there is a change in environment. Without going into too much technicality, let me give u a simpler reason. I might refer to myself with any name I want - even "dumb idiot", if I so please. But, it is my right to demand that u address me the way I deem proper, if u would like a proper relationship with me, that is. At a personal level, u might say that u might not care whether or not we have a good relationship. At a community level, we can say that. For a peaceful society, we *need* good relationships between communities. So, yes, I think they definitely have the right to be called what they wish to be called.
One more note: I have friends who are of other races. Some times, I take digs at them, based on that. It is *only* in a case where I *know* it is not going to cause harm to the relationship. When people do not realize this, there is always friction. For example, I was 'helpfully' informed by a colleague that there is a popular stereotype among whites that Indians do not bathe regularly. I do not know abt u, but I sure am ticked off when I hear that.

2.
> a) Providing legitimate reasons why some Indians do shun Af-Am society in general
The whole point is that there could be no "legitimate* reason why a whole community can be shunned for the sins of a few, or even a cultural shibboleth. I dare u to say that you have not been at the receiving end of some velvet gloved insult. I have had some Americans laugh at my pronounciation. Now, I do not know abt u, but I think it is outright stupid to laugh at different dialects or accents of the same language when it is coming from a person who is an alien.


3.
> Now there are bigots in all communities, including ours. Let's not generalize. In fact, you will find Indians carrying as many prejudices about whites, chinese or any other foreigners as about Af-Ams (and vice versa).
There is a nuance here. When it comes to whites, Indians generally tend to have have a more positive stereotype. East Asians (I consider East Indian a better definition for us), Africans or African Americans have always been been down the ladder. The question is why? I have had to mail one particular grad student in CIS dept to ask him to remove a particular word, used as a racial slur for Chinese, from his website. Now, you are right when u say tht every community has bigots. But then, does that mean we, esp considering the fact that we are ourselves a miniscule minority, should harbor one? More importantly, the question is more abt the amt bigotry we carry individually. I agree with Chubs here that we haev more of it in our individuals.

4.
> prejudice in general is not necessarily bad.
I strongly disagree. You might say that in reality, even liberalism is discrimination in a way. Being non-discriminating does not mean looking at whole society as amorphous lumps. It only means not having scales of judgement based on non-individualistic characteristics.

R




 
Wow! Good hot tempers here!! Keep it that way guys... just make sure there are no fistfights. :)
R

 
Kartic,
You had asked for an opposing POV, I provided it. But you still seem to be miffed. Please calm down and let me end this rationally.

1) Why its not wrong when Indians call them "black": Because that's what they call themselves, and that's what newly-arrived Indians see people calling them. OTOH, Indians don't define themselves in racial terms, but cultural terms. Having been around US and Canadian ABCDs a bit I find that some of them do refer to the indian, paki and arab community as "brown" quite often. Now that's alright, but personally I'm not too fond of that epithet, because it doesn't say anything about me, and its not how I choose to define myself.

But Af-Ams don't identify with African culture anymore. Like you, I also find this use of colour terms shallow. But within Am society I suppose that's how Af-Ams distinguish themselves. Due to the prevalence of ridiculous stereotypes in Am society, they are embarassed by African roots (just as some ABCDs are embarassed because of the way India and Hindus are portrayed in the Am media and education). Incidentally, the feeling is mutual -- the few African students I know here have equal contempt for Af-Ams. Anyhow, we use the term "blacks" for them since it is common and convenient, and that's what they use for themselves. If they tell me that they do not want me to use it, of course I won't.

2) I was *not* defending "Indian's cause to shun Af-Am society". I was only doing 2 things:

a) Providing legitimate reasons why some Indians do shun Af-Am society in general (but open up when they get to know a decent Af-Am individual personally).

b) Refuting your misplaced references to partly real and partly imaginary Indian mental complexes and history.

Now there are bigots in all communities, including ours. Let's not generalize. In fact, you will find Indians carrying as many prejudices about whites, chinese or any other foreigners as about Af-Ams (and vice versa).

The issue you brought up is a good one and worth thinking about. It only reflects the fact that we Indians do tend to be more thoughtful and sensitive about these things in general. However, remember that prejudice in general is not necessarily bad.
Cheers

 
Carl,

I was using the black Indian calling a Afr-American black as a counter to your generalization that we use kallu because of "Negro's natural color" and for you to accuse that I think black is bad is totally baseless for you don't even know who I am and what my background is. In fact, that example exposes our own ignorance of branding somebody based on skin color.

You seem to be defending the Indians' cause about trying to shun Af-Am society. Let me ask you this...is there any rhyme or reason to not move into an apartment complex where blacks reside in relatively large numbers? Since you seem to "know these people", their goods and bads, why don't you enlighten us?

--Kartic

 
Kartic,
dude dont take offence at the tone or anything in my posts! just typing away quickly.

1) I mentioned the fetish in order to make a point: that there is little colour-bias in determining attractiveness.

2) Your female friend who shuns a street because of blacks has a point. More than one Indian girl on campus here has told me that some blacks regularly fondle them while brushing past, or make obscene sexual gestures at them. These are not isolated incidents. Have a chat with females, and you will find that this is general knowledge among them. Also, black males do find Indian women attractive (as some have told me openly) and even vulnerable for some reason, perhaps because they don't protest. This is infuriating. Like I said, blacks have faults, and they should grow up if they want to be treated normally. (disclaimer: i have many grown-up black friends)

3) Why do you repeatedly say Indians can't call blacks "black" because some of them are black themselves? You yourself seem to think being black is bad, since your logic seems to be "don't point a finger at other when...". I can't believe this!

4) without realizing it your argument is all about semantics: whether we should call them "kalla" or "african american".

one last point: If some Indians do erect a wall of feigned arrogance around themselves here, it is probably a social necessity. American culture does not respect overly solicitous people. I know that as a TA. People draw boundaries around themselves here (more than we do in india), and one way to do that is social prejudice. Hence the occasional aggressive "humour".

Cheers

 
Carl,

It actually does not matter who my friends are but since you ask, they are OSU students, professionals, business owners and 60+ year old retirees. So, we are not looking at some antiquated notion of traditional Indians that cooked I up but a historic progression of Indians. One of your fellow OSU students (a Phd-to-be when I met her) would not go grocery shopping at the Kroger on King Ave because it is frequented by "kallus". I understand that Indians use terms like that to refer to other peoples (also "desis" for our own kind, that is a total different rant) but seemingly innocent terms like that are given a malicious face when garnished with instances like this. As for refering to the natural color of the negro, that you eloquently put it, I have already pointed out the irony...Indians so black so as to disappear into midnight are not better off, are they? I don't want a falling out over semantics, so I will not delve further.

Blacks might call BET - Black Entertainment Television. Blacks call each other using the "N" word as well and that does not bother them when it is an intra-cultural exchange, but I challenge you to address a black with the "N" word and come out walking on your feet. Just because a community uses a collective term amongst themselves does not mean it is not actually derogatory when others use it. Actually, the collective term for African-Americans (that they want to be used when referring to their community by outsiders) has changed a lot since the 1940's from Negro, to Black, to African-American, so to say that they "like" to be called black is at best shortsighted, true since they have the Hobson's choice. Here is where I agree with Ramki as well. When people (media, Indians etc) refer to Americans, they actually mean white, whereas others are XXX-American where XXX is a racial identification. If we want a unified world, is there any sense in using such divisive terminology?

You may have some thing for african-american women, but that does not mean you treat a black with the same respect you would a white person (though you might and note, nothing personal against you!). Here we are talking about respect for other communities, other cultures and not isolated fetishes....it is still difficult to see a fit place in the use of "Kallu" or similar words...especially in contexts that I have described.

--Kartic

 
My point is simply this: Indians who come here form impressions based on--
1) Stereotypes prevalent here
2) Personal observation (accurate or otherwise)

This is perfectly natural. What I don't understand is why Jung and recent Indian history is being dragged into the discussion.

Besides, the snide comments and good hjumour apart, I believe at an individual level Indians treat foreigners quite well. In fact, our recent historical experience makes us more sensitive.

 
OK, ironically, the pout of concurrence is going to come from yours truly :). Chubs is right. Indians are eminently capable of practicing and propagating such biases and stereotype. Strange as it might be, have u noticed that when a desi says some one is American, he actually means a *white* American? I could add one more instance, which I always make a to condemn pointedly to the face, is the African American Heritage Weekend. If you notice, many Indians will not so much as move out of their apartment complex those days. Ironically, on Michigan football nights, the same characters will take stroll down High Street, taking in the awesome spectacle of (mostly) white kids on rampage.

While I do mostly agree with the reasons Chubs has mentioned, I have to mention that it is not possible to associate one explanation to the behavior a big group of individuals. There are many reasons, two of which Chubs has mentioned. Each individual acts on a mixture of such reasons.
Having said that, let me also add one more explanation - Jungian psychology. If u look hard, there is one more race many Indians love to stereotype - Desis.... at some level, it is the insecurity arising out of the centuries of living as slaves. We still have to climb out of it. Besides, Hinduism, and Hindu culture, is, at most levels, strongly pro-establishment. So, we would rather agree than be the sore thumb. Put together the fact that we have been "taught", by the invading Muslims and the Brits that we are teh slave race, we have almost been conditioned to look at ourselves that way. At the same time, we hate it too, which is why you see this new kind of jingoism among Indians. It could be suprising, but sometimes, the same person who talks so much abt new Indian role in the world and yada and yada, will also mock at the Indian sitting next to him, doing something completely un-Amruish desi. This suppressed discontent is what we show on the other race who were also enslaved.

Carl, as for that social misfits part, well, we seem to be comfortable with *GOPers* for heaven's sakes!

GTG now, will post a li'l bit more soon.


 
Kartic,
I don't know who your Indian friends are, but I don't see any particular discrimination by Indians in general on the basis of colour. If we call blacks "kallas" its because the average negro is black. I can't believe I have to explain this. How did you conclude that this is a pejorative? I see Indians being referred to as "brown" sometimes, and I have no problems with that, except that I think its a pretty lame, empty word that means nothing. India is not defined by race. On the other hand, blacks do like to call themselves "black". E.g. Black Entertainment Television.

If some Indians keep away from ghettos, its for a reason. My black friends will admit that a section of their community are social misfits. So they should expect to be shunned.

But in general, Indians are equally suspicious or fawning on all foreigners. I have seen this with blacks and east asians who came to India.

As for colour, I think Indians like a clear complexion, as do everyone else. Yes there is a preference for lighter skin too, but this is context-specific, and the 'slavishness' you refer to is a factor that's dying out. Please don't go on with last-generation cliches.

Fascination with foreign looks is natural to humans. Sexually speaking, caucasian, chinese and black females are all attractive to me. In fact I believe I have a fetish for black chicks -- the tight, filled-out types especially.

 
Why do Indians dislike Blacks..the kallus, that we so affectionately like to refer to them? Ever noticed how Indians love to steer clear from apartment complexes that have, what they perceive, as a noticeable population African-Americans? What is the interaction between Indians and African-Americans to even warrant such discrimination? The irony is that the our compatriots that use words like Kallu (Blacky in Hindi) or Karuppu (Black in Tamil) are blacker than charcoal themselves! So, what sense does it make to be discriminatory toward a set of people Indians rarely care to get to know.

I seek to think openly on these questions that have haunted me, nay, made my blood boil when Indians make such bigotted statements and I hope our blogger community can have a good discussion about this.

I think it all stems from two traits of Indians in general - Color-consciousness and our proclivity for servitude; I am sure there are other traits that determine such behaviour but these two, I think are predominant factor. Lets look at color-consciousness. How many times have we encountered something like - "That girl is very pretty...but she is on the dark side". I personally don't see any connection between these two physical characteristics, but somehow the average joe on the street not only makes this correlation, but also implements such prejudices in everyday living. When people bring such thoughts with them to the shores of the US, they naturally extend out these thoughts toward the African-Americans. From my experience, I have noticed that first generation Indian's who have lived in the States for over a quarter century still stick to such views. In fact, the wife of a person I know can't speak English even to survive in case of crisis (after 25 years here!), comments on the accent of African-Americans' English; such is our blindness to our own lacunae. What really cracks me up is the irony I mentioned in the first paragraph. How could a person blacker than a piece of charcoal himself make derogatory remarks about a entire community, using that community skin-color? It has taken a lot out of me not to retort with "You are not too fair complexioned yourself".

As for our proclivity for servitude, pick any page of our history and each will speak volumes for itself. At every juncture, there has always been people that have chosen to appease the "ruling" in order to make themselves comfortable and profitable. In the current scenario, are we trying to chime in with the local whites by choosing to pass such no-so-nice comments about the the minority America has chosen to hate. Or is just the Indians' inclination to adopt anything white, even their prejudices? I don't see anything objectionable about African-American culture and life style; at least not as otherworldly as our own might seem to the white man or even to black or yellow!

I don't understand what needs to happen in order for Indians in the US to undergo a catharsis of their thought process. It kills me each time I hear snyde remarks being passed about a fellow-minority that is struggling to this day to free themselves from the shackles of historical slavery and modern-day prejudices. If felt like assaulting a "friend" of mine who said that blacks never have money and even the ones that drive BMW's are knee deep in debt (suggesting that they would do anything to please themselves materially), notwithstanding the fact these BMW owners may be legitimately earned. Why don't we think for a moment that the majority white population are equally capable of that being in debt? A typical white household, living in the upper 250K neighbourhood has the house mortgage, maxed out credit card and may a car note or two on a fancy Lexus or Acura. But, my friend, who himself would be considered a black in India, has the gall to comment about the status of a few successful African-Americans; is it ignorance or just plain jealousy at someone's success?

May be we are taken in by the media that always portrays every little shoplift or hold-up that blacks do. May be we think that all blacks are thieves. Do we pause for a moment to think about the number of non-blacks in the prisons of the US?

I just had to rant; I just had to get this thought out of my system! Please post your comments and further thoughts on this topic...

 
Better to post your opinions with links to articles rather than just the articles themselves.

BTW, how do these congressional causes work? Came across that list Ram Narayanan ji sent out with all Republican members. I thought caucases were across party lines.

 
Better to post your opinions with links to articles rather than just the articles themselves.

BTW, how do these congressional causes work? Came across that list Ram Narayanan ji sent out with all Republican members. I thought caucases were across party lines.

 

Oh Why, Oh Why, Oh Why, Ohio?

Bad: mayor gets charged with DUI. Worse: mayor's wife drives to jail to bail him out and gets charged with DUI too
Where? GARRETTSVILLE VILLAGE, Ohio!!

 
American Jewish body set to open office in India
JYOTI MALHOTRA
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=24443


Thursday, May 22, 2003
 
On Thu, 22 May 2003, Carl Clemens wrote:
> i posted. now howmany members do we have?

As of now, only u and me! I have invited four more at least. May be u can ask some more ppl. Try getting people who can write sense, and in various fields. I definitely think we need people to discuss defence related matters, at least one other, who significantly differs with u. I know there will be people who will bristle at my suggestions in social and political matters, whatever I say ;).

We need to have people who will post meaningful stuff, rather than just pout out concurrences and appreciations for articles or ideas. I want more dissents than concurrences!

Another thing.... looking at ur last posting, I think we need a translator for Chinese too! :-P



Ramki


 
hen hao! hen hao!

 
here's my posting. you should have a button on the webpage itself that allows one to post/reply etc

 
It Really works!


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