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thoughtsnips
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:


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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! ;) )
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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



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