The more things change…

Consider if you will some of the following quotes:

“There are Koreans, Chinese, and Hindoos numbering over one billion. Allow them to secure a foothold in the United States, and they will, within a few generations, sweep like an avalanche of death from the Himalayas around the globe”

or

“It is essential that the blood of the American-Europeans of this country, who together with their ancestors developed civilization to its present state, should be kept pure and free from the taint of the decadent Orientalism of China, Japan and India. We have no quarrel with those people. We wish them well in their own countries, but we do not want them in ours.”

or

“[Indian religions are] debauched with deeds of lust and blood…Many of the Indian deities, given to lustful amours, are especially worshipped by the people….It is not surprising that religion in India is not only divorced from morality but married to vice…much indecency exists in India under the guise of religion, many of the temple dancing girls are merely consecrated prostitutes, and in many cases respectable women are led to lives of shame.”

Do you get angry when you read this? Or perhaps it sounds vaguely familiar to you? When compared to the transcript of the Jersey Guys radio show that I posted a few days ago the above quotes aren’t that radically different. Well what if I told you the quotes above are all about a century old? Indolink.com has a very educational article titled, Fear and Loathing: Hinduphobia in America .

Francis Assisi writes:

Fear and loathing towards Asians, towards people of Indian origin, towards Hindus — this is a substratum of Indian American or Asian American history that has yet to find its way into American classrooms.

I am, of course, referring to a period in American history when a Hindu, or any person of Asian origin in America, was condemned as an undesirable alien, as a lesser breed, or a benighted heathen.

No doubt things have gotten much better over the years. I was just struck by how little the language of bigotry evolves over time. You can use the same language and sentence a century apart, and without context a historian would not be able to figure out from which period the quote originated. Let us hope that the following quote will not be repeated a century from now:

“The Asiatic race and the Caucasian race never could and never can exist in the same territory. Their morals, their philosophy, their religion, their education, their standard of living are reversed, and as far apart as the two poles. They can never blend, harmonize, commingle or live together in peace. The welfare of both races will be best served and their happiness effectively advanced if they confine their operations and efforts to that portion of the earth given them as a home by God.”

27 thoughts on “The more things change…

  1. Many of the Indian deities, given to lustful amours, are especially worshipped by the people… …much indecency exists in India under the guise of religion, many of the temple dancing girls are merely consecrated prostitutes

    I have to admit both claims are (were) true, and I’m proud of the first one, Christian morality be damned. We seemed to have convinced each other of the superiority of the other’s morality in the meantime though, leading to a complete reversal of attitudes.

  2. Yes this sounds pretty bad, but you have to admit, this country was founded by the English mainly, and built up by Anglo-Saxons and other Western Europeans or caucasians or whatever you want to call it. You can understand when they see all of these 1st and 2nd generation immigrants being successful with great amounts of wealth. Yes, these immigrants (like our parents) did work hard, I’m not taking anything away from them. But this is a “white” country.

    Everyone wants to come here (and also but not as much, England, then Western Europee) because they don’t want to live in countries such as India or Pakistan. Opportunities are hard to come by over there and corruption is rampant. Can you honestly be surprised if a few whites make comments like that? Look at what their ancestors from England, Spain, Italy have done compared to the civilizations of India, Pakistan, China, Middle East. I’m not talking about culture, I’m talking about progress and rule of law. Yea yea they raped and murdered a few hundred years ago, but apparently that was the smart thing to do since everyone wants to get the heck outta developing countries where 1/3 of the population lives on less than $1/day (India) and into countries dominated and built up by western christian whites (i.e. U.S. and Canada, nothing south of Texas).

  3. “Yea yea they raped and murdered a few hundred years ago, but apparently that was the smart thing to do”

    You’re dismissing one of the main reasons that developing countries remain dependant.

    Colonialism fostered the unequal situation that exists today, neo-colonialism continues to reinforce it. The west has prospered on the backs of the east and have the audacity to try to bar those they keep down from sharing that wealth, fuck em.

    on a side note, what code do you guys use for quotes?

  4. The west has prospered on the backs of the east…

    London’s financial industry was built on wealth strip-mined from the colonies.

    what code do you guys use for quotes?

    See the FAQ.

  5. I understand what you mean by the west taking advantage of the east, and colonialism, neo-colonialism, whatever else. But then again are you so distraught by that history to move to India or any country that didn’t engage in that activity? Too bad India, China, Iran, African countries, didn’t engage in exploration and colonialism/exploitation centuries ago. I’m sure all of the poverty stricken citizens of the developing world wished that their ancestors acted a bit differently in order for them to have the opportunities provided by the west today, even if there would be criticisms of colonialism from a few people.

    On a side note, can you believe the Bollywood awards are going to be in Atlantic City this weekend? I understand the argument about exposure and money, but come on, have some pride in where the industry is based out of. s

  6. [Indian religions are] debauched with deeds of lust and bloodÂ…Many of the Indian deities, given to lustful amours, are especially worshipped by the peopleÂ….It is not surprising that religion in India is not only divorced from morality but married to viceÂ…much indecency exists in India under the guise of religion, many of the temple dancing girls are merely consecrated prostitutes, and in many cases respectable women are led to lives of shame

    Am I the only one who felt proud after reading that? I was almost brainwashed by our VHP/RSS overlords that our culture was a paragon of virtue with no sex at all. Phew!

  7. I really do appreciate the way this blog takes a close look at the way Hinduism/Indians has been handled by mainly white Christian America.You keep blogging about racist comments against the Asians. I am sure there is a reverse-racist attack by the Asians not spoken about.

    Honestly, I would like to have a view of what the Hindus/Indians think of White/Christain America.Let us hear it out. There must be something said.

    I hardly hear comments – Don’t you all talk about it, if you do I’d like to hear about it.

    I love hearing two sides of a story.

  8. I love hearing two sides of a story.

    Who said the other side was being suppressed? There are routine discussions on the Shiv Sena extremists back in India.

    There must be something said.

    I challenge you to uncover a dialog occuring on one of desi America’s media outlets (89.3FM, little india magazine, desi talk, etc) which even approaching the racist drivel spewed by “the Jersey Guys” on 101.5 or Star and Buckwile on 105.1. If you can find it, send it in as a tip.

  9. i don’t buy the neo-colonialism stuff for a lot of reasons…but, i would like to add that it takes a lot of historical ignorance to slot spain and italy as cultures that promoted “progress and rule of law.”* there are serious issues here, let’s bring some knowledge to the table.

    • italy in some ways invented “rule of law” by its promotion of the concept during the roman period…but be careful of what you ship to that country, the customs office is notorious for swiping value added products and giving them to their buddies. i know this because i knew someone who got a shit load of playstation 2′s from a buddy in customs.
  10. Vurdlife, I live in India, so I am very well acquainted with what what the fundamentalist Shiv Sena says about Western culture.

    But my interest is in finding out if the “Indian Diaspora” aka the ‘model minority’ in the US, has made such racial remarks on the white majority in America in the media.

  11. Cecilia: “Indian Diaspora” aka the ‘model minority’ in the US”

    Huh?

    Too many things to explain and too many assumptions inherent in your statement to even begin addressing it.

    Regardless, I don’t know of any desis in the US who have made ‘racial remarks’ about whites in the US. But sometimes I wish we had a brown counterpart to Chris Rock, who is brilliant and funny in dissecting America’s infatuation with race. I don’t know if Russell Peters deals with race issues in his stand-up routines; maybe he should.

  12. ‘Jay’ has given the standard argument about how all of us have to live on the mercy of the “white” people as this is “their country”.

    First of all if it was anyone’s country it was native americans’ .. but again that is also a standard argument on the other side. - European settlers killed and occupied this land and claimed it for themselves. (“Jiski lathi usiki Bhainse” .. translation ..whoever has the stick, the buffalo is his) - So, if hispanics overrun this country by demographic shift it should become a hispanic country. - The ratio of people to natural resources is 20 times better in the US than say in India. So it is natural that people would want to go where there is abundance of resources. - It is also natural for European Americans to defend their hegemony. They dont want to lose the proverbial “buffalo”. (Samuel Huntington’s opion is just that, defending dilution of WASPiness of US) - So, just like European settlers came to America looking for Natural resources, new immigrants come today.

  13. Not knowing where to begin responding to this post, I simply wish to point out that “lustful amours” cracked me up. Om lustful amoursayah namaha!

    Of course, a lot of these arcane quotes are just that, written at the turn of the 20th century.

    I am sure there is a reverse-racist attack by the Asians not spoken about

    The expression of that reverse racism, at least here in the US, is quite latent or maybe passive-aggressive. Every time I talk to my parents about anti-desi sentiments their usual response is, “Don’t get involved in all this. Work harder and show that you are there because you have something.” Something being my talent.

    This makes me wonder why I have to work harder if this really is my country and we all enjoy equal rights. Then I try to feel how it is for American women and African-Americans, who have no cultural connection to any other nation on this planet.

  14. I don’t know if Russell Peters deals with race issues in his stand-up routines; maybe he should.

    race is pretty much all russel peters deals with, but he doesn’t do it in nearly as pointed a manner as chris rock

  15. let me add that is a great country, and we’ve moved a lot in the past 100 years from “hindoos” to “south asians” (or whatever term you want). this was a historically racist country…but so are most nations in some “ist/ism” sort of way.

    anyway, all this identity politics angst makes me want to be a marxist. feels like a cleaner resentment to me. where do i sign up saurav?

    p.s. i probably make some fat chicks uncomfortable because i don’t give them their due respect cuz i’m kind of lookist too. sue me.

  16. by the way, if anyone would like i can upload a 45 minute standup routine by russell peters that was on tv here last year, pretty funny

    for those that don’t know, he’s a canada raised indian standup comedian, here is a clip

  17. p.s. i probably make some fat chicks uncomfortable because i don’t give them their due respect cuz i’m kind of lookist too. sue me.

    I’m sure they don’t care.

  18. on a little bit of an unrelated note (though i’m not sure it’s more unrelated that the “fat chicks” comments) i find the fear of indians taking over our jobs” to be ironic. the europeans exploited the asian colonies for years and built their power of the backs of brown folks, as jay pointed out. could it be the asian countries are now using capitalism at its finest to build their power on the backs of the former-europeans/americans?

    just a thought.

  19. And what’s wrong with that? It’s not a system that Asians invented, it’s taking (legitimate) advantage of the existing system to better their situation.

  20. Oh, how many times in India have I heard middle class Indians assert that all white women are prostites? Too damn many times. The snobbery of desi-ness is appalling. And the hypocrisy that is always just under the surface. One of the amazing things in this world is the gap between public morality, and private morality, and it is very big in India. I think these sorts of comment threads just cannot be taken seriously by anyone who is a human first, and then a color or a gender or a nationality. So deadly boring, these distinctions.

  21. anyway, all this identity politics angst makes me want to be a marxist. feels like a cleaner resentment to me. where do i sign up saurav? where do i sign up saurav?

    Nice. Now I get red-baited in threads in which I’m not even part of the discussion.

  22. fuk tha guy i wud love 2 c him say tha shit in front of a punjabi lol

    i aint got no white kids @ all wer i live only us blacks, lota guyanese n sum tamils

    i tink dey call tha da ghetto i dunno but i have 2 go a skul outside it now n i get in a lot of shit cuz da white kidz tink der better den us so i do wat ny punjabi wud do beat der asses down n iz pretty easy o yea in Toronto’s Northwest side Rexdale/Jane n Finch so mayb thas y no white kidz all da 1z at ma school r da rich snobby kind who tink dey can take ny1 till suma da black kids also expelled got der dis year n we beat em down all year it wuz fukn fun

    plus principal so pussy about school’s rep no suspension or expulsion i even had knives n shit n i held up 2 kidz faces n he called ma parents many times 4 other shit almost everyday but i didnt get suspended let alone expelled or arrested crazy it wuz so wicked he wuznt gonna do shit

    c am cool w/ white ppl but if u fuck wit me or ma ppl ur a dead honky plain n simple u no fuk da model minority shit i dunno about america but in Vancouver & Toronto we aint close just as poor as blacks n tamils n just as much crime also spec in Vancouver da punjabi mafiaz der n all da truck drivers r helpin keep drugs cheap in states by smugglin em

    say model minority 2 tha ppl say in america is blacks n mexican in canada n uk is indians (mosyly punjabi sum areas tamils) tha feared

  23. Brown_Rexdale, I’m not trying to be condescending, but please could you write using full, standard English words? I know that’s an elitist question, but it’s really difficult to trudge through reading chat-speak.

    You can understand when they see all of these 1st and 2nd generation immigrants being successful with great amounts of wealth. Yes, these immigrants (like our parents) did work hard, I’m not taking anything away from them. But this is a “white” country.

    jay, this country was built on the backs of generations of people — including people of color. I’m not mitigating or denying that European-American immigrants (particularly of the non-WASP variety) have been treated like fodder in this country, but it’s completely ahistoric to ignore slavery, genocide, colonization, coolies, and the bonded labor that the U.S. has used to subsidize its “economic growth.” And from a moral standpoint, I think arguing that colonization is somehow a good thing since the winners won is a) circular reasoning, and b) repulsive.

    I am sure there is a reverse-racist attack by the Asians not spoken about. Honestly, I would like to have a view of what the Hindus/Indians think of White/Christain America.Let us hear it out. There must be something said. I hardly hear comments – Don’t you all talk about it, if you do I’d like to hear about it.

    Cecilia, shockingly most of us do not spend our lives producing widely-broadcasted radio programming devoted to any form of hatred towards people of European descent in the U.S.

    Also I find your use of the term “reverse-racist attack” problematic and inaccurate, but that’s not really central to this conversation.

    Hat tip to Kiran — I think Karma of Brown Folk does a pretty great job of speaking to post-1960s ABD/DBD middle-class/professional immigrants and their offspring about the historic racism against desis, and by extension, the way that racist policies in the U.S. have been used to drive divisions between desis and other communities of color. That’s not, of course, the entire point of his book, but he does break it down well.

  24. That’s not, of course, the entire point of his book, but he does break it down well.

    Camille, you’re not that far off the mark actually, when I met him in LA, he basically said the book was a response to Dinesh D’Souza.

  25. Indian religions are debauched with deeds of lust and blood.

    I am sure indian religions have different points of views/ perspectives. Even if there is a history of deeds of lust and blood- this observation can be made with the other world religions-Christianity included; and I am one!

    As for reverse stereotyping, I am sure some Indians continental and stateside perceive Americans to be arrogant,materialistic, decadent, and selfish with a sense of entitlement. To the extent that enough of us display these traits they are NOT THAT offbase! I will be the last to say that all of us are-but too many Americans make a past time of denigrating India,the Third World, and domestic minorities-then get mad when these same people call us out on our boo-boos.Mind you, not to make themselves appear superior in alot of cases- just to put our arrogance in perspective/check! Heaven forbid anybody throw a chink in our self-perception that we are exceptional people that are superior to the rest of the world! Nevermind the fact that we are the ones that initiate/start the putdowns as a matter of course. I get this impression and I am American so SUE M-E! Sorry, but whatever!

    As for the apologists for the colonization of India, perhaps if India had not gone through colonialism in the first place, the country would be a developed country already as opposed to an emerging power. Also, if these former colonized countries had not been looted for resources and drained of cheap and educated labor among other things-they too would probably be the choices of destinations for the starvin’ masses and bootstrapping immigrants now arriving in America and much of the Global North/Industrial West. Perhaps the Indian and Third World immigrants in America would have stayed home to take advantage of opportunities if colonialism did not stunt the progress and development of their countries.