Friday, May 23, 2003
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.

> 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.

> 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.

> 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.


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