How it begins

Editorial cartoonist Sandy Huffaker published this toon today:

Sure, maybe it’s a stereotype, but 9/11 changed everything. We really need to sock it to the bastards.

Well, we’ll do it sensitively. We’ve learned from our excesses.

“If I see someone (who) comes in that’s got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over,” [Louisiana Congressman] Cooksey said. [Link]

C’mon, what’s the big deal about toilet paper? It’s just a throwaway joke. Nobody in America wears a turban. Seriously, you guys are way too sensitive.

Jerry: Kramer, he’s just a dentist.
Kramer: Yeah, and you’re an anti-dentite.
Jerry: I am not an anti-dentite!
Kramer: You’re a rabid anti-dentite! Oh, it starts with a few jokes and some slurs. “Hey, denty!” Next thing you know you’re saying they should have their own schools…

Jerry: That’s a good one. Dentists.
Beth: Yeah, who needs ‘em? [Pause] Not to mention the blacks and the Jews… [Link]

Geez, can you say ‘overreacting’?

… Frank Roque, 42, of Mesa, began spouting racist remarks to a bartender and co-workers, including that he was going to “kill some towelheads” and that all Arabs and their children should be rounded up and murdered… Roque drove a black Chevy S-10 pickup to a Chevron gas station and opened fire, killing [gas station owner] Balbir Singh Sodhi… [Link]

“I’m an American,” the suspect… said. “Arrest me and let those terrorists run wild.” [Link]

170 thoughts on “How it begins

  1. “Might I suggest a tinfoil hat or expedia.com?”

    I doubt you expect this is an appropriate response, and if you do, what are you doing on a site for south asian people?

  2. Can we stop responding to people who can’t see the obvious ignorance and racial stereotpying in a cartoon depicting a toilet paper roll coming off a turban for a moment and have a serious conversation among those of us who are capable of such things?

    Here’s a topic: Why do we SM posters and readers have so much more discussion and action about cartoons, radio stations, and other examples of things which will allegedly lead to bad things, but many fewer about actual bad things like this this possible hate murder and subsequent botched NYPD investigation of a brown person in May (apologies if this was covered and I missed it, but I didn’t see it deemed postworthy) or this recent news that immigrants entering from 32 Muslim countries, Thailand, and the Phillippines are being profiled and subjected to extra investigation. Which particulary immigrants–I don’t know–because it’s being done by order of a “secret memo” that we’re not supposed to know about for some reason. So much for democracy.

  3. From the Guardian – Rabinder Singh QC – one of Britain’s top young lawyers – he works with Cherie Blair wife of our Tony

    An open letter to the person I sat opposite on the train yesterday. Yesterday I sat on my commuter train and you were already sitting there in the seat opposite. Your eyes were closed. You must have been tired. Then you opened your eyes and you saw me. You got up and moved to the next carriage. Perhaps you wanted some privacy or did not want to disturb me with a mobile phone call. Or perhaps you were afraid of me … That would not surprise me. Some people say that the police should stop and search people who look “Asian” or “Muslim” at underground stations. In fact I am not a Muslim, I am a Sikh, but it does not matter – I still look suspicious to some. They say that only young men are like the suspects, but I have heard of women being stopped. I share your fears. I do not want to die a horrible death any more than you do. I have a family to look after – perhaps you do too. You know so little about me – I wish we could have chatted and perhaps we might have realised what we have in common. All I ask is that you do not prejudge me. That is what “prejudice” means: to prejudge someone simply because of what they look like. What can I say? On the television everyone is talking about what it means to be “British” and the end of multiculturalism. You may not think I look British but I feel British – I am a British Asian, or British Sikh if you like. If I go to India they know I am not one of them – they can see me coming a mile off. I like Indian food but so, I think, do you. And I also like Italian food, and Chinese, and bagels … I don’t particularly like Bollywood, but apparently enough people in the area where I live do like it because they show Hindi films at the local cinema. By the way, in case you were wondering, it is not in Southall – in fact most of our neighbours are white, although one is from Norway and another American. I don’t think people ask them: “What are you doing here? Are you British?” I do not go to the gurdwara very often but I do believe in God and I am proud of my heritage – I respect my parents and the tradition they came from. I do not think God would want us to hate each other because of the way we look. And I certainly cannot accept that God wants us to kill innocent people. But we have to care about innocent people everywhere – in Iraq and Chechnya as well as in New York and Madrid and London. I am not a pacifist, but I do believe in the principle of nonviolence. Only in the last resort could it ever be justified to use violence, when there is no other way open to defend ourselves or to protect others. You may have heard of Mahatma Gandhi. He was not British. In fact he used the principle of nonviolence to help push the British out of India. I think he was an inspiration to everyone; I think you might agree. I am a lawyer, by the way. What do you do? In my work I sometimes represent the government. Not just the present government; I used to represent the last Conservative government in court too. But I also sometimes defend the rights of individuals who are pretty unpopular. That’s my job. They may be asylum claimants or gay people. They may even be suspected of terrorism. I don’t think suspending the Human Rights Act is the answer to the terrorist threat. The act is not part of the problem. It is part of the answer. It represents what we stand for – democracy and the rule of law. Some people say we should not let the terrorists win; we should carry on as normal. But they seem to be the first people to say that we should get rid of these laws that “get in the way”. In the way of what? Do we want people locked up in prison for years without ever being charged, let alone convicted? If it happened somewhere else, I think you might write a letter for Amnesty International demanding their release. But it happened here – until the law lords said it was incompatible with human rights. These are not some foreign laws. British lawyers helped to draft the European convention on human rights, which was “brought home” by the Human Rights Act. And it is based on British notions of fair play going back to Magna Carta. Yes, I do know about these things and I do care about them. Shakespeare, John Locke and Tom Paine. They have made me who I am. They were as British as I am. Maybe I am not what you think I am. Remember, we are all individual human beings, with our hopes and dreams; we all have our faults but are basically good, I think, and try to do the right thing. It’s what is inside us that really matters, not the colour of our skin or what we wear. I do not ask you to agree with me about everything. But I do ask: please do not prejudge me because of the way I look. · Rabinder Singh QC is a barrister at Matrix Chambers and a visiting professor of law at the LSE
  4. Manish:

    The point is to improve the country we live in.

    Improving is one thing, harping on every perceived slight is another. Was it at Berkeley that you picked up your sense of outrage & racial/ethnic identity politics?

  5. Deepa,

    Raju was talking “race war”. If you think that’s what’s going on, then you seriously need to don the tinfoil or get out.

    Going so far from reality does nothing to fix real injustices.

  6. Manish, Raj, cicatrix, siddartha m, saurav–

    If you think depicting Osama with a toilet paper turban is wrong, what would you say of talk like this:

    Brown man to white man:

    F**k you s**t for brains! 1. My sister was born in this country and is more American than your mullet-wearing-MilwaukeeÂ’s-Best-swilling-franks-and-beans-eating-relatives. 2. Most of you f**kers couldnÂ’t point out where Afghanistan is on a map let alone point out where most American states are located.
  7. I expect nothing less from someone who chooses curry as their moniker.

    You assume quite a bit. You should avoid doing that.

    Manish, you engage in the kind of ethnic navel gazing that would get a white person labeled “racist”. Maybe I’m mistaken, but my guess is that you didn’t have that ethnocentric POV when you were a twelve-year-old boy in that spelling bee, so I’m curious as to what happened between then and now. UCB has the reputation as a place where students indoctrinated in the notion that everything bad in the world is caused by the white man, etc.

    If you aren’t comfortable with my terminology, feel free to say that you became “aware” at Berkeley. I just want to know if that’s where it happened. If not Berkeley, please tell me when, where, and why. Traumatic experience at the hands of skinheads in high school? I really want to know.

  8. “Raju was talking “race war”. If you think that’s what’s going on, then you seriously need to don the tinfoil or get out.”

    Irene, I don’t agree that’s what Raju was saying. I think he was saying that we (desis) could be about to become collateral targets of the War on Terrorism. I personally am freaked about the British “shoot-to-kill” order and the recommendation by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to shoot bomber suspects in the head. Aside from this extreme there may be a great increase in hate crime against us.
    I personally was born and raised in the U.S. and it’s ridiculous to tell me to leave the country if I am not willing to put up with racism against me. (As I recall, the comments thread on the July 4th post contained a whole long “love it or leave it” discussion to which I refer you.)

  9. “curry,”

    who the hell are you to walk into manish’s house and insult him?

    manish and the mutineers set up this site and paid the costs and launched the topic and gave you a space to express yourself. you owe them respect, or you should leave.

    vikram, DNBH and others have expressed disagreement with the premise of manish’s post without feeling the need to insult him.

    if you can’t rise to that basic level of respect and dignity, the rest of us can only conclude that you are either a fool or a troll.

    peace

  10. The point of the cartoon is not to show Arabs as toilet-roll wearers, the point is to show that GW is not really intersted in pushing Gen. Mushy to drive extremist elements out of Pakistan. And the reason Gen. Mushy does not want to drive extremist elements out of Pakistan is because that would not win him lots of popularity votes.

    True. The toilet paper is an afterthought.

    Basically the liberals are arguing that there is no need to include the toilet paper so its inclusion entails that it is a racial insult.

    The conservatives are agruing that the cartoon isn’t about the toilet paper or turbans, its about finding Osama so in that case who gives a shit.

    For what its worth, I am pretty sure cartoonist has not ‘racist intentions’ at all.

    But the turban is somewhat sacred to desis, it is part of the Sikh religion’s Kahlsa Panth. Many Hindus and Muslims in Desiland also have a tradition of wearing turbans (hindus more so than muslims). Example: Gandhi once refused to remove his turban in a british court in South Africa.

    So you can see how this cartoon can be interpreted as a racial insult.

  11. “Going so far from reality does nothing to fix real injustices”

    here’s the problem; you’re defining reality for other people and telling them which injustices they should register

  12. “Brown man to white man:”

    let me know when a brown man can tell a white man to leave the country and then we’ll talk

  13. Deepa,

    There may be a great increase in hate crime against us.

    If it didn’t happen after 9/11, it ain’t going to happen anytime soon.

    we (desis) could be about to become collateral targets of the War on Terrorism. I personally am freaked about the British “shoot-to-kill” order and the recommendation by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to shoot bomber suspects in the head

    A light-skinned Brazilian left a house under suspicion, ignored police orders to stop, jumped a subway turnstile. Why does this fear apply to you only? How did this become a racial issue?

    shit is about to hit the fan..us browns are trying to figure out if we’re about to land in a pretty bad spot. if you’re not down with wondering about that, get out of the way. cos this is know pretty serious business for us…considering some pretty bad ideas about what to do with us brown men

    Deepa, tell me what is Raj talking about there? Is he talking about the Tube like you said? I mean get a grip, how many various brown people have taken the subways in NYC and London since then. Millions. This happened to one guy, who’s really barely brown from the pics I’ve seen. Who are all these “men planning” bad things with brown folks? Have the pogroms started? Why should only brown men be concerned, and not society at-large?

    This kind of exaggeration does no one any good. Manish’s ideas of getting better tech to find bombs, not people is good. But the kind of stuff Raj is talking is pure nonsense.

    I personally was born and raised in the U.S. and it’s ridiculous to tell me to leave the country if I am not willing to put up with racism against me.

    Me, too. Don’t put up with it. Don’t live your life in fear in some exaggerated hysteria either. Things have changed after 9/11, but as a brown person, I don’t feel any different, as a minority, living under Clinton than Bush. Perhaps because I am fortunate enough to live in a red state.

  14. let me know when a brown man can tell a white man to leave the country and then we’ll talk

    I’ve done it many a times.

  15. Irene: comment #28.

    Saurav, your comment about wasting time arguing about trivial matters is a really good one. But Sepia does bring up serious topics quite often, sometimes things like toilet-paper-turbans do need to be confronted, and this site would be a really grim place if it focused unrelentingly on violent hate crimes and deportations. At least, that’s my two cents.

    Punjabi Boy, thanks for posting Rabinder Singh’s letter. Beautifully written, pointedly confronting fears and suspicions, emphasizing a shared culture and humanity…With my impatient and irritable nature, I reach immediately for outrage, so that letter was a great reminder of how powerful gentleness and simplicity can be.

  16. UCB has the reputation as a place where students indoctrinated in the notion that everything bad in the world is caused by the white man, etc.

    A reputation as based in idiotic conventional wisdom as anything else you’ve spouted. First of all, your sentence is missing a good verb. “Are”—is that the verb you’re looking for? Maybe you should reconsider your grammatical training before you tar the University with the country’s best English department. I’m sure that “reputation” explains the gathering of some of the world’s best scholars of Scaninavian studies, German studies, Dutch Studies, Slavic Studies, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Archeology, Italian Studies, French, and Spanish. Or the 50+ year tradition of reading Beowulf. Aloud. In Old English. Yes, it’s because UC Berkeley hates the power of the White Man that it spearheads the UC management of two atomic weapons labs and hosts some of the best ROTC training on the west coast.

    Mixing up town and gown, or free speech with indoctrination, is indicative of exactly the kind of murky, confused thinking that plagues these discussions. The difference between Berkeley and other schools is that it champions free speech and free expression (because the students demanded it) and attracts diversity. It merely allows and encourages to students to express and explore their own opinions, even if that sometimes results in the kinds of noisy situations that attract media circuses. Accusing the University of using indoctrination to create liberals is like accusing Icelanders of manufacturing lava because it happens seep up out of the earth there. It’s everywhere. It’s just usually not that free to escape.

    I don’t know what classes Manish took, but I do know he had a variety to choose from and I assure you nobody indoctrinated him in anything. He’s perfectly capable of forming his own opinions. And before you tell me that Berkeley indoctrinates people against the white man, I’d like to see how many more classes you’ve taken in Classics, Latin, German Literature, Evangelical Christianity in America, Shakespeare, or 19th century European diplomacy there. Basing your thinking on mere Zeitgeist and anecdote is the sign of sheep-like thinking. Check your facts before you spout.

  17. All those who are calling Manish ethnocentric dont realize that how dangerous it is to spread “turban” sterotypes.

    Some innocent Sikhs will pay the price with their life, as Balwinder Sing in Mesa,AZ did.

    It is literally LIFE and DEATH issue.

  18. perhaps because I’m fortunate enough to live in a red state

    Mind if I finish that sentence?

    “Perhaps because I’m fortunate enough to live in a red state and not Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, DC or any other primary terrorist target.”

    I don’t feel any different, as a minority, living under Clinton than Bush

    If you’re trying to convince people to accept the “truth” of your opinion, you really shouldn’t say things like this; that’s a thirteen-year span in which quite a lot has changed, good and bad, for minorities. On the other hand, if you’re trying to tell everyone you’re out of touch with the reality than many minorities currently face then, well, keep going.

    On another note, some person who didn’t have a point asked Manish to reveal where he cut his liberal fangs and Saheli kindly responded. So, now that that’s out of the way, how about all of you who don’t get this conversation step out and tell everyone where you were “indoctrinated” and subsequently explain why everyone’s “outrage” has got you frothing at the mouth?

  19. sd,

    some person who didn’t have a point asked Manish to reveal where he cut his liberal fangs and Saheli kindly responded. So, now that that’s out of the way

    It won’t be out of the way until Manish responds. While I appreciate the efforts of the outraged “siddhartha m” as well as the grammar-checker*, only Manish can answer for himself.

    A question for you, “sd” (as well as anyone else with a conflicted relationship with the US), what other country would be more hospitable to you?

    *Not that I mean “grammar-checker” in any derogatory sense. Companies like Microsoft pay good money for people with that kind of attention to detail.

  20. … you engage in the kind of ethnic navel gazing… that ethnocentric POV…

    You mean I’m a diaspora narcissist? See blog title.

    … that would get a white person labeled “racist”.

    Heavy stuff– back it up. Points for chutzpah, though, objecting to a post about prejudice.

    UCB has the reputation as a place where students indoctrinated in the notion that everything bad in the world is caused by the white man…

    Actually, not only is Cal the best electrical engineering school in the world, there’s a direct line from classical liberalism and the Magna Carta to Mario Savio. Not to mention the most famous college football play ever ;) But the application cycle for ’06 is just beginning, so better luck tomorrow!

    … please tell me when, where, and why…

    Much as I’d love to compare inkblots and childhoods, do suffer me this question, ‘Curry‘: do you post on African-American Web sites as ‘Fried Chicken’ or Asian-American ones as ‘Chop Suey?’ Please tell me when, where and why.

  21. Irene, if you’re brown I think you’re living in denail. And if you’re not I don’t think you should be so sure there is no change in our situation recently. editorials, some of which get quite a bit of support from readers, have been saying its ok to generalize brown men and pick them out. thats not in itself a really bad thing, but things have changed, and could change more, for the worse. to me that just seems like a fact of life. things are different. they could get worse. we should talk about it. there’s not much use for people to deny it, or if they do, why keep pestering other people to deny it.

    if you want to deny it, go ahead, but why the need to stop other people from confronting a problem that reasonably exists.

  22. Manish,

    Much as I’d love to compare inkblots and childhoods, do suffer me this question, ‘Curry’: do you post on African-American Web sites as ‘Fried Chicken’ or Asian-American ones as ‘Chop Suey?’ Please tell me when, where and why.

    No, but I do post as Curry on other fora. Why do you ask? Oh that’s right, you need to feed your sense of outrage as an oppressed minority, so you’ll see an offense where none exists.

    The term “Diaspora narcissist” is apt. Thank you for that.

    It’s interesting that you linked to a Victor Davis Hanson piece on classic liberalism. He sees the difference between it and doctrinaire liberalism. Do you?

    Heavy stuff– back it up.

    MoorNam’s link to UCB’s idea of “diversity” sums it up well.

  23. ABCD bachcha log getting their knickers in a twist over a cartoon. lage raho !

    Andha ban ke kaise sikhao? Adhyapak ban ke daru pilao.

    (How can you teach, once you’re blind? Call yourself a teacher, feed ‘em bad wine.)

  24. … I do post as Curry on other fora… Oh that’s right, you need to feed your sense of outrage as an oppressed minority…

    Ah, curry the tartan. Of course, why didn’t I think of that? Say, do you post as ‘Spic’ on Latino sites because of your love of cleaning products? ;)

    It’s interesting that you linked to a Victor Davis Hanson piece… He sees the difference between it and doctrinaire liberalism. Do you?

    Think hard about this one. Person you revile links to an author you like. How is this possible? Why, it violates the first law of tin-foil-hatitude!

    MoorNam’s link to UCB’s idea of “diversity” sums it up well.

    No, no, let’s not change the subject, let’s respect your original point. You implied the things I’ve written are racist. Show me.

  25. this site would be a really grim place if it focused unrelentingly on violent hate crimes and deportations. At least, that’s my two cents.

    cicatrix, thanks for acknowledging my existence :) Just wanted to be annoying and point out that the threads like this (now at 126 comments and counting) devolve quickly into personal conflicts and random arguments.

    I think that’s because this kind of topic sets up nicely into a false dichotomy between “liberals” and “conservatives” (or “left” and “right”) (or FOBs and ABCDs) and let’s us pretend we’re talking about politics and power and something deeply meaningful when, imo, we’re really primarily talking about our sensibilities being offended and then coming up with somewhat tenuous links to real world events like Balbir Singh’s murder.

    We can talk about the links to a broader cultural trend that creates a climate for abuses, but I don’t think it’s fair to ask people like me who don’t put as much stock in its relative importance (as opposed to, say, the ties between wealth and access to adequate mental health resources, sexual repression, public education’s evident failure to address these issues, or other things that might be to blame) to assume the link or the idea that it can somehow be separated from a broader analysis.

    I think (correct me if I’m wrong, Manish), I’ve previously heard Manish express the opinion that if it’s well done it’s okay–well, why? And if that’s the case, is the real beef against incompetence or people who are not quite so witty (and the people who consume their work) rather than some kind of violation of political ethics?

    It also raises questions about different forms of discourse–there are many things that are offensive in stand-up comedy, cartooning, and satire in general that would be unacceptable in other settings. If those outlets were eliminated from popular culture (or were refocused to attack, say, ugly people, who have no lobby, rather than racial identity groups), then what would the angry or ignorant or mischievious people who partake in them do? Or is it really the case, as a lot of people are contending, that there’s a link to a broader culutural trend and that the toilet paper roll is not just obscene (although perhaps less so than an oil-baron / petty dictator conspiracy to keep us all in fear, if said idea is real ;) but actually socially destructive.

    Either way, I sure as hell am not going to roll over and say “woe is me” without at least putting out all these other aspects of it and making sure that people who are articulate and thoughtful have the right and space to express their opinions here without being shouted down.

    I know that the many people on this blog are capable of that kind of thing–I’ve seen other discussions on this blog that were less rooted in theory and more rooted in people’s personal experiences (restaurant bias, what they were called as kids, etc.)

    Your point about morbid and/or serious topics being not so much fun to dwell on all the time is a good one (and something I hear more frequently than I’d like and hence have to work on), but there are ways to have light fare without framing it in a social justice context. I liked talking about good places to eat and childhood reading habits.

  26. what other country would be more hospitable to you

    Well, I won’t respond to that question until you respond to mine: Why does the conversation/criticism here bother you so much?

  27. I wanna retract my statement I made on this post. I have been busy and I just checked this and WHOA!!!I should have been more lucid I suppose.

    I was only trying to say conservative or/and FOB opinions will have to be backed by very good arguments bcos u have a bunch very smart and articulate liberal 2nd generation people on this blog, who will tear u apart otherwise.

    If I felt this was not a inclusive place I wouldnt be here.

    True, viewpoints here lean more oneway, but everyone has their say. And ofcourse a comment made by one moderator does not indicate the views of all. Having said this, I also think there is room for improvement to accomodate alternative opinions in the comments section.

  28. Manish, I don’t revile you, and I never accused you of being a racist. I accused you of ethnic navel gazing that would get a white person labeled “racist”. A white person who maintained a website detailing white accomplishments, as well as outrages (real or otherwise) committed against whites would be suspicious, you see.

    I’ve suggested that you picked up this POV in Berkeley, but I acknowledged it could be elsewhere. UCB is a fine school if you’re getting a degree in the hard sciences, not so great if you’re getting it in something soft like Journalism or Wimmin’s Studies. I’ll even admit that counterculture can bring refreshing changes to staid industries. But revolutions mature and become ossified, and outlive the original purpose. The kind of “People Power” I see in Berkeley today doesn’t liberate anyone; it just creates animosity and division.

    So if not Berkeley, where? Did you go to high school in a bastion of racist rednecks like the Idaho panhandle? Or maybe you faced discrimination on the job post-college?

  29. Saurav, you’ve brought up so many great points, as always, that I can’t respond to everything without creating yet another dialogue on this thread. ;)

    But let me run through some. I get that you think this is a pointless post resulting in a petty squabble. You may be right, but why be riled up about it? Just move on to a more serious post, yeah? Too many people getting bothered here as it is.

    I share the opinion that if it’s well done, it’s ok..or least, ok enough for me to launch a counter-attack :) But again, if it annoys you, just ignore it. This site can’t humor everyone, and some of us do like the more ridiculous items too.

    yes, there have been some trolls running amock here…but I’m guilty of joyfully leaping into the gutter with them, hurling my best insults ;)

    About different forms of discourse…I don’t mean to buttress a point with an personal anecdote, since I think you prefer theory, but it’s a powerful one to me. When I first came to the states, Andrew Dice Clay’s (I know, he’s the joke now..but back then) jokes about “shit-colored” people were hugely popular.

    I think there’s a difference between humor and mean-spiritedness..I don’t want to wave a PC wand over anything, but who here, even among these rabid defenders of some sort of conservatism (I can’t tell which since all they want to do is make fun of UCB and insinuate that the rest of us are Osama-lovers) find this toilet paper thing funny??! If it had me rolling on the floor, I wouldn’t say a word, no matter how tasteless it might have been. But I think the only people who would guffaw are the kind who blur terrorist/brown/turban all into vestigal fears of minorities getting uppity… Just like those people who were helpless with laughter, cause, you know “shit-colored’ is such a HILARIOUS discription!!! what a hoot!!! People adopt such prejudices unthinkingly after a while, because, you know, it’s just a joke, and next thing you know it’s perfectly ok for the children of reasonable parents to come up to me and tell me I “literally look like shit” and run away, slapping each other on the back with laughter. It’s petty and stupid, sure…but it’s not funny.

    Er, I think you brought up other things that ought to be addressed, but this is way too long already :)

  30. So, if not Berkeley, where?

    Omigod, why does it matter? You’ve wasted 3+ posts trying to nail an answer, give it up, make a point, do something…

  31. “Curry” – what the hell does his college, hometown or on the job experiences have to do with anything? Do you have a point? Are you implying something that the rest of us are too dim to get? Why don’t you do us all a favor and spit it out before you either choke, or bore us to death?

  32. “sd”,

    Why does the conversation/criticism here bother you so much?

    Bother? Like Earth in H2G2, this blog is mostly harmless. It’s no bother.

    “whoa, tiger”,

    You’ve wasted 3+ posts trying to nail an answer, give it up, make a point, do something…

    What can I say, I have patience…

    “cicatrix”,

    what the hell does his college, hometown or on the job experiences have to do with anything? Do you have a point? Are you implying something that the rest of us are too dim to get? Why don’t you do us all a favor and spit it out before you either choke, or bore us to death?

    I am interested in Manish’s formative years, especially as they relate to his current worldview.

  33. Ah, well then…since you’re so very personally interested in Manish, why don’t you email him directly, and spare the rest of us? Unlike you, he’s got the guts to place his email right there.

  34. I get that you think this is a pointless post resulting in a petty squabble. You may be right, but why be riled up about it? Just move on to a more serious post, yeah? Too many people getting bothered here as it is.

    Because I want to squabbble too :) I wish the people who actually opposed what Manish is saying in the post (which I do on some grounds–like the overemphasis on identity politics and total lack of class analysis and hyperbolic historical analogy) would do a better job of articulating what they’re saying.

    I talk in theory, but I actually prefer personal experiences about things like this because it gives some substance to the conversation. And it’s interesting to me–I could care less what someone’s uninformed theories are about something unless they happen to be particularly brilliant or well-informed about it, but their life experiences give you something to talk about and generate new ideas.

    For example, I felt like, on a personal level, I encountered more hostility or slurring after the war in Iraq started than after the 2001 attacks and the tone of the country shifted; I’m not sure if that’s just my perception or chance, or something else entirely, but that is the way it felt to me. If I’m right, I would be more concerned about militarism than about moronic depictions (although the two tend to go hand in hand).

    Similarly, I know from people I’ve met that there’s a big difference in what you encounter living in gentrified Brooklyn and being a professional and a citizen than what you encounter living in working class Brooklyn.

    But I’ll go to another thread and leave you all in…strife, I guess :)

    This site can’t humor everyone.

    Oh…you’ve missed a central point of my personality. I’m a diva, baby.

  35. Because I want to squabbble too :)

    Ah!

    eyes light up

    then stick around now, baby!

    (actually, not right now. It’s bloody late, and I’m still working. argh. I live in Bk too. we should chat.)

    Anyway, you just articulated a magnificent critique of the post. In 14 words, no less. Why not expand it and give me something to really sink my teeth into? (or send me whimpering into a corner)

    Interesting about rise in hostility after the WoT got to Iraq. If I were to venture a hypothesis, I would say that your average insular American felt, understably, shock and sadness and unfocused anxiety after 9/11, but not seething, boiling anger, since there wasn’t a object/person who could draw that kind of ire, you know?

    Even after Osama was, er, fingered, it was too confusing, what with the Taliban, and Osama being Saudi, and all this new Middle East stuff to learn. But Iraq brought clarity! Saddam! We’ve heard of HIM before! All that emotion and fear gets channeled to anger, and you got caught in the (undertow? riptide? wake? insert appropriate oceanographic/sailing metaphor). Since some gigantic chunk of the electorate thought Saddam was responsible for 9/11, I think this theory might be sound.

    But, of course, this is still the worst sort of wild speculation. If you think militarism is a more effective trigger, write away ;)

  36. OMG, that guy is here too! I cannot go through another 8 months of being asked where I lived earlier. And no, for the last time it wasn’t any place that I picked up my dislike for gardening!

  37. It was midnight, when his mother woke up screaming. She woke up to see her sweet son’s face looming over her. Shaking from fear, she asked: “Curry beta! what are you doing?”

    Curry said, with his trademark beatific smile: “I just wanted to see where I came from Ma!”

  38. Manish,

    What’s the wierd/insecure thing with curry’s nickname, besides the fact that some food-ignorant people label all South Asian foods as curries (see previous SM post — good post, btw).

    Maybe curry’s brown and he/she is just making a funny like Turbanhead, or a big fan of curry, or their name is actually Curry (it’s a common name), or they’re part of the clan currie, or they’re spouse is or whatever. Calling a person a racist is pretty bad, isn’t there another conceivable explanation?

    Do you really see racism in everything as small as a poster’s nickname which many people only give a 1-2 second thought to?

  39. … overemphasis on identity politics and total lack of class analysis and hyperbolic historical analogy…

    The post is 67 words long, excluding quotes. You might as well write a dissertation about the talk on a cereal box.

    What’s the wierd/insecure thing with curry’s nickname…

    You really should click through on the links in the comments. Most deleted comment spam here about ‘all you Arabs must die’ uses some variant of ‘curry’ as the nickname, because, for the third time, they’re a common slur against desis.

    Do you really see racism in everything as small as a poster’s nickname…

    You mean an ethnic slur on an ethnic site in a comment implying we’re racist? It is, of course, possible that the intent here is not to slur, in which case it’s an unfortunate, tin-eared nickname given the commenter’s subject matter :)

  40. “Have the pogroms started? Why should only brown men be concerned, and not society at-large?”

    what are you waiting for?

    second, it’d be great if people besides brown men are concerned. it’d be lovely.

    I think there is a transition, at least in my thought, from someone who saw social justice as an issue that would be good to have, to someone who sees that if things are unjust in certain ways, I’m about to lose out. there is a difference. as a middle class north indian man, I have more to worry about all that much regarding my personal relationship with injustice now. its an mind-altering difference

  41. Manish, are you interested in a wager? Nothing that involves money, just your pride. If I can prove that my real name is Curry, I want you to remove this page, as you aren’t worthy to be considered an authority on the subject. No fair moving the content to some other location! If I lose, I’ll not bother you again; I won’t try to contact you again in this forum or through any other means. I’ll let the Sepia Mutiny regulars (excluding you) judge who won. Deal?

  42. If I can prove that my real name is Curry…

    If ‘Curry’ is your actual name, congratulations. You might consider a different nick when posting about racism on a desi forum.

    Much as I’m flattered by your interest in my origin myth, there is none. In the future, try not to start a conversation with ‘so, why are you a racist?’

    A white person who maintained a website detailing white accomplishments, as well as outrages (real or otherwise) committed against whites would be suspicious, you see.

    Conflating the ethnic media with white supremacists? SM, MTV Desi, A. magazine, Yolk, Jade, Ebony and Latina ain’t exactly Stormfront.

    And on that note, you’ve just conclusively proved troll.

  43. I’ll let the Sepia Mutiny regulars (excluding you) judge who won. Deal?

    We already judged and you lost. We think you are a mutt-faced execrable-wretch and a prancing pompous popinjay.

    So shove it in your earhole!

  44. if we had no ethnic media I’d run around thinking I was Tom Cruise. and that would be bad. no one wants that