One of those ongoing, identity debates is what term appropriately encompasses “us”. “South Asian” is a little too stuffy, geographic, doesn’t account for some parts of the diaspora, and has a slight of Oriental-ish tinge to it (South of what? Is Europe implicitly the center/norm?). I just don’t go around high-fivin’ South-Asians in da house.
“Desi,” on the other hand, has a nice congenial ring to it and doesn’t seem as loaded with meaning dependent on some relation to the “other”. Plus, it’s “soft” enough that it avoids all those debates about Indian vs. Pakistani vs. Sri Lankan vs. Bhutanese (?) and so on. A 4th gen Fijian Indian is far more easily “desi” than “South Asian”.
But alas, there’s a new sort of Desi out there that might muddy the waters a bit. One use is described here –
If a Desi analyzer can be miniaturized and automated into a surgical tool, a surgeon could, for example, quickly test body tissues for the presence of molecules associated with cancer. “That’s the long-term aim of this work,” Dr. Cooks said.
Say whuh? It’s an acronym –
…a tiny spray of liquid that has been electrically charged, either water or water and alcohol, is sprayed on a tiny bit of the fingerprint. The droplets dissolve compounds in the fingerprints and splash them off the surface into the analyzer. The liquid is heated and evaporates, and the electrical charge is transferred to the fingerprint molecules, which are then identified by a device called a mass spectrometer. The process is repeated over the entire fingerprint, producing a two-dimensional image.
The researchers call the technique desorption electrospray ionization, or Desi, for short.