Dating While Desi in an Obama Nation

The latest Brown Girls comic made me cringe with unease when it popped up on my blogreader this week. Swiped from my latest blog addiction, Devis With Babies, this week’s Brown Girls episode made me wonder just how many similar conversations were had this election cycle.

Brown Girls.jpg

As a SDMF (Single Desi Muslim Female) in my twenties, I’ve had my fair share of Brown Girls-type talk, usually over brunch and usually about boys. Many boys. Over the years, I’ve dated a Desi Hindu and a Black Muslim and I’ve always wondered with whom my parents would cringe less with — would their racial prejudice or Muslim orthodoxy take precedence? I’ve always thought they would be more accepting of a Muslim man, no matter what race, but my friends always begged to differ that racism prevailed over all. Of course, I would like to think that my parents would accept anyone that I would love, but we all know the desi Bradley effect there.

Truth is no boy over the years has met the bar to be introduced to my parents so I have no way to test this effect yet. But I am curious, if Obama is elected President, and my parents vote for him, will it be more acceptable for me to bring home a black man? If elected, will Obama essentially increase the desi dating pool of what boys us SDMFs can bring home? Single brown girls, what are your experiences with the Desi Dating Bradley Effect?

Way to go, Devis, on hitting the nail on the head on this one. I am Brown Girls comic latest biggest fan. Other Brown Girls Comics: Episode 1, Episode 2, and Episode 3.

This entry was posted in Comics by Taz. Bookmark the permalink.

About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

157 thoughts on “Dating While Desi in an Obama Nation

  1. 73 · GetOfMyLawn! said

    I think ABD offsprings seriously misunderstand the value of appreciating one’s own culture………Don’t forget that the very values that many ABDs knock are the ones that have allowed South Asians (and Asians in general) to be the most successful minority in the West. Emphasizing family structure, respect for elders, respect for education, respect for one’s body and sexuality and emotions, and above all, respect for the collective community rather than the individual are all why Asians can come from the poorest of regions during the worse of times (Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Bangladesh) and have their children in graduate schools within one generation.

    This is the usual ignorant, irrational and self-serving nonsense. If desi culture is what makes desis successful in western nations then explain why that same culture performs so miserably in India, Bangladesh etc? Shouldn’t desi culture be blamed for India being home to most of the world’s hungry people, most of the child slaves in the world, most of the people without access to sanitation facilities or clean drinking water, while being home to most of the world’s desis???

    Secondly, I have read that immigrants from Africa are more highly educated than white or asian americans. Africa isn’t that much better off than South Asia. Just being an immigrant in America seems to bring out the best at least among the first generation immigrants.

  2. If you feel that you want to date out of your race, then have the strength of character to openly date that person. If your parents are immigrants, think about it: they LEFT their home country to start new in an unfamiliar nation. They probably put in 12-14 hour days to feed and shelter you. They probably always had a warm meal for you and were probably around for you when you needed them. Your fathers probably never got all misty about existentialism and walked out the door because he needed to find himself. He probably hated his job, and stayed in, day in and day out so that you can have a better life. Your mother probably missed out on a career or gave up a family to brave a new world comparatively alone, and she probably still was always there to help you with your homework. Do you think you can show that level of commitment and courage? If so, have the guts to date whoever you want openly, instead of secretly, but only with courage to whine on a blog. Seriously, a little self awareness and a little more introspection cannot hurt.

    That last part is hardly a way to make a convincing logical argument to me, although I see you are making some kind of an emotional argument there. More precisely, what does the fact that xyz’s parents went through relative hardship have anything to do with who/how xyz dates, etc.?

    If you argue that dating outside the race degrades the family value, etc. that’s an argument you make, and one can argue on it. But I feel that alluding to parents’ hardship is a red herring in the debate. Of course, as a rule in general, life of older generations looks much harder in retrospect. Taking things to an extreme, the life of even a wealthy person in the middle ages would have been much harder than the average person’s life now, and the life of a caveman was a million times more difficult than the middle age people’s. Just as the hardship of somoene’s immigrant parents enabled your good education and growth, one could similarly argue that the hard work of all our previous generation ancestors eventually led to where we are now. If they all sat on their asses and were content to live their lives hunting and farming, that’s what we would be doing too. But this doesn’t imply anything about the relative merits of ways of life, etc. Cultures, society, attitudes and the world in general changes over time, and we all should learn to accept (and even embrace) that.

    I just wrote the above analogy to make it easier to highlight why I don’t find your argument so compelling. I guess ABD’s might hesitate to call you out on your impressively presented argument, out of respect to their own parents, but I have no such stake as I’m presumably just a younger version of you right now***(immigrant grad student). (so that disarms you from trying to picture me as some imaginary stereotypical ungrateful ABD kid with no respect for elders)

    ***- although, I agree your generation probably faced an order of magnitude more hardship than the current one w.r.t. moving to a different country, etc. blah blah.

  3. Sorry, with a PHD, married to a PHD, with a very good job. Not frustrated, not racist, just find racism disgusting — sorry, I know that is hard for many here to understand, given that it is a big part of how many of you see the world.

  4. If they all sat on their asses and were content to live their lives hunting and farming, that’s what we would be doing too.

    Well, I was rereading my comment and wanted to add something… actually that’s kind of exactly what happened for tens of thousands of years I guess – until a few thousands back…. we just hit the jackpot to be born in this age. And its perfectly plausible that, in retrospect a 1000 years from now when people don’t simply grow old and die naturally anymore, even our current way of life would seem absolutely barbaric – “a time when people used to simply live a few years and then die of random diseases and frailty”…. thats just the way things are!

  5. family structure, respect for elders, respect for education, respect for one’s body and sexuality and emotions, and above all, respect for the collective community rather than the individual

    family structure = don’t air dirty laundry, even if it’s tearing the family apart; also make sure you go into a profession, choose a mate etc that reflects well on the family

    respect for elders = even if they have done little or nothing to earn it and might be the most ignorant and malicious people you know

    respect for education = prestige and earning power, baybee; flip side is the pressure South Asian parents put on their kids to overachieve and pursue certain acceptable jobs

    respect for one’s body etc = I don’t even know where to start

    respect for the collective community rather than the individual = caring more about people might think rather than doing what is best for me and mine

  6. 95 · Liz said

    Almost every time I come to this website, I am struck by what filthy small-minded racists so many of you are. It is hard to wade the muck to find whatever is an interesting read, without falling into the comments section which invariably make me disgusted. Despite whatever educational, professional, family qualities are claimed, what comes across most truly is the depraved, racists mindsets that define who you are most of all. The desire for a familiar caste system makes many of you resent any African-American/black person who doesn’t know how to accept such a caste system, even more than any who fulfills the stereotypes just as you need them to be. Because that mentality is so acceptable around you, most of you really have no idea how absolutely disgusting you are. Given any opportunity to inflict your caste-minds on the black people of the US, you will do so, just as those like you do in Fiji, Kenya, Guyana, Trinidad, etc. Consider your family’s national origins, now consider the cesspools of poverty, illiteracy, wife-burning, girl-baby killing, widow-torture and a whole roster of societal ills that aren’t covered over by a few getting Visas to work in a tech firm, or a handful who carry an elite sense of entitlement in the world at the same time carrying the most depraved personal, cultural, religious values. But you don’t want someone to stereotype you, right? Especially not white people – that would be racist, wouldn’t it?

    Much truth in what you wrote Liz. Besides in Fiji, Africa and the West Indies, Indians and other desis aren’t well liked in Europe, the Middle-East, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong etc either. Many of the desi racists here who try to pump each other up with delusions of grandeur (high SES, model minority, some indian-americans making it big) are living in a fool’s paradise. Desis are the most vulnerable minority in America, and probably everywhere. As the economy shrinks desis will likely be the first to lose their jobs or their businesses, being the most alien of all immigrants in looks, culture and religion.

  7. But you don’t want someone to stereotype you, right? Especially not white people – that would be racist, wouldn’t it?

    I totally welcome stereotyping, and always assume it, makes it a lot easier for me to get on with my business. And I always stereotype back, helps cut down on the number of conversations I need to make, and the number of people I need to talk to. It is a great tool to cut cognitive overload.

  8. Desis are the most vulnerable minority in America, and probably everywhere. As the economy shrinks desis will likely be the first to lose their jobs or their businesses, being the most alien of all immigrants in looks, culture and religion.

    Dude, why do you guys need to bash desis as a whole in order to criticize desi racists? Stop being so bitter for heaven’s sake!

  9. It is a great tool to cut cognitive overload.

    Whats the point of avoiding bounding your cognitive load when what you are loading it with is complete crap and gives mostly wrong ideas?

  10. 95 · Liz

    Yes, Liz, in your limited understanding of the the world only leaders of the Black Civil Rights movement should be thanked for human rights, ’cause we all know that Black America brought about the fall of colonization.

    South Asians DON’T KNOW ABOUT SLAVERY?

    The Indians you listed in Fiji, Caribbean, etc., were all indentured servants–essentially slaves.

    Guess what, even before the Civil Rights movement, there were South Asians and Arabs fighting soldiers ON THEIR LANDS to gain independence. Arabs are STILL fighting occupation started by French and British in 1700s.

    No, we don’t know about slavery because only Blacks in America were slaves, right?

    Your pathetic LACK of knowledge of world history is not surprising. The sun rises and sets according to the Black America. The rest of the postcolonial world is just full of wife-burning morons, right?

    The problem with ABDs is that they probably even KNOW what the sepoy mutiny was all about or how many millions of desis died to get rid of superiorly armed British. Liz, don’t come in here and boast about the Civil Rights movement, which is built on the foundation of the waves of end of colonization. Apart from Gandhi, they cannot name another freedom fighter, I am sure. Do you think colonization was a bed of roses for the natives? Do you even KNOW what colonial governments were like? Or do you have a White Man Burden approach to it?

    Don’t lecture desis about slavery. Learn about what the entire world has endured. The fact that India, Bangladesh, etc., are where they are a mere 60+ years after independence is pretty damn amazing.

  11. 105 · Lurker said

    family structure, respect for elders, respect for education, respect for one’s body and sexuality and emotions, and above all, respect for the collective community rather than the individual
    family structure = don’t air dirty laundry, even if it’s tearing the family apart; also make sure you go into a profession, choose a mate etc that reflects well on the family respect for elders = even if they have done little or nothing to earn it and might be the most ignorant and malicious people you know respect for education = prestige and earning power, baybee; flip side is the pressure South Asian parents put on their kids to overachieve and pursue certain acceptable jobs respect for one’s body etc = I don’t even know where to start respect for the collective community rather than the individual = caring more about people might think rather than doing what is best for me and mine

    And here we find the crux of the matter.

    To paraphrase the economist John Kenneth Galbraith put it, “The modern Desi is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

    But in this case, it’s not selfishness for material greed. It’s a selfishness that puts the self above the community/family/etc.

  12. they probably even KNOW what the sepoy mutiny was all about

    They know about it, but probably not the details. If they knew, this blog wouldn’t have this name! :) I should add that the name is rather prescient! :)

  13. 114 · Dallas said

    Boy, this went downhill fast.

    Please BEHAVE. No attacks, no racist, abusive, illiterate comments. I’d like to keep this thread open at least till Monday. Any more offensive comments will be deleted.

  14. Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree

    Well quoted. And a good place to end for tonight.

  15. I have no clue what I said that was offensive enough to merit deletion. But whatever.

    To reiterate. I am personally offended by the idea that the only way to be an enlightened member of modern society is to adhere to norms and practices that will, in the long-run, lead to the dissolution of the traditions and culture that I consider important. Some people might like the notion of all of us living in some homogenized melting pot where there are no differences between people, but I would consider such a world boring and thoroughly unappealing. I like the idea of having my own culture. I like the idea that other people have cultures of their own that make them substantially different from me in ways that have nothing to do with socio-economic status. Variety is the spice of life and I take umbrage at the suggestion that wanting to hold onto my own culture makes me a racist.

    This consumerist mentality that leads us to think of life as being just some buffet of choices which we are supposed to pick from to maximize our personal utility is, frankly, dehumanizing. Part of what makes us human is the fact that we are often burdened with obligations that we have forced upon us. Melancholy is a fact of life. But somehow this overindulgence in political correctness has managed to do what wave after wave of foreign invaders and colonialists could not. It made otherwise right thinking people act to undermine their own cultures and pat themselves on the back for doing so. Macaulay would be proud.

    I’ll repeat the Tagore quote I mentioned before. Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree.

  16. The fact that India, Bangladesh, etc., are where they are a mere 60+ years after independence is pretty damn amazing.

    That is so pitifully delusional. Have you actually been to India and Bangladesh? Its amazing all right, albeit in a horrifying way. Most foreigners who do go there are absolutely shocked by the filth, hunger, poverty and dehumanizing living conditions.

    What asian countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore etc have accomplished in the past few decades is whats amazing. The desi nations of the subcontinent are all failed states by comparison. What do you blame for that if not desi culture?

  17. 117 · NaraVara said

    I’ll repeat the Tagore quote I mentioned before. Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree.

    I have one word for you son. Hydroponics.

  18. You had to know THIS would be a hot topic!

    Desis have alot in common with Africans (not the American kind). In both desh and Africa family lineage and ancestry is very important, there is little divorce and when there is, it is deemed shameful, the families are close knit, the marriages are arranged or assisted, the list goes on. Yeah, the desi obsession with color (fair and lovely/handsome) needs to be tweaked but other than that, I find desis as a whole to be good examples to occidentals when in their countries; work ethic, family values, etc. They sometimes come off as arrogant or proud to people who don’t share the same ethics and values but so what? Basically desi parents want their children to associate with the children of other parents who share the same values. Nothing wrong with that. There is so much negative influence for kids to come under out there nowadays that a little discipline and selectivity in choosing friends can’t hurt. I know I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking it’s ok to have 4 kids by four different daddies or mommas. No thank you. But hey, that’s just me and anyone else is free to teach their kids whatever they like. Not that we criticize such people, but we are not obliged to be friends with them either.

    Wah! You know there’s a white singer with a white turban by the name of WAH! (with the exclamation mark)? She’s a Yogi Bhajan disciple.

  19. In both desh and Africa family lineage and ancestry is very important, there is little divorce and when there is, it is deemed shameful, the families are close knit, the marriages are arranged or assisted, the list goes on.

    uh, africa is a whole continent. how can you generalize about africa like this? india is pretty culturally diverse, but nothing like africa.

  20. Wow, I am amazed by the cess pool of ignorance that some of the comments have become. I honestly don’t know why I’m even responding, but to continue my procrastinating ways i’m going to attempt to address some issues here:

    1. using preservation of Indian culture as a reason for not dating outside of the race, especially as an effective strategy for culture preservation in the midst foreign invasion : The idea that “indian culture” hase been preserved and remained static despite foreign invasion is just untenable. Firstly, like any half-educated social scientist will tell you, culture is not static, but is dynamic! You think “indian” culture remained the same for the last 400 years or more? haha thats kinda what all colonizers though of their subjects (including desi ones- remeber south asia was colonized?), the idea being that with colonization these formerly “static” cultures would “modernize.” Cultural preservation is such a myth – besides one would think that with over a billion indians on this planet (most of whom cant even get along with each other), cultural preservation is probably the last concern lol.

    2: Quoting NaraVara”This consumerist mentality that leads us to think of life as being just some buffet of choices which we are supposed to pick from to maximize our personal utility is, frankly, dehumanizing. Part of what makes us human is the fact that we are often burdened with obligations that we have forced upon us. Melancholy is a fact of life” : How depressing! Also, what is this idea that “life is a buffet of choices?” So picking someone not of your own ethnicity is being consumerist , but picking one indian person from the “buffet” of half a billion choices isn’t treating life as a buffet (albeit with fewer choices). Thats just a bad deal haha Maybe what isnt dehumanizing is picking someone you can actually have a good relationship with, without labeling them with the brand of ethnic identity.

    As for obligations , we all choose our own – if you feel obliged to marry or date an indian (not even any indian i’ll bet – considering the need to “preserve” caste/ethnicity/class/religion etc etc) for the sake if ensuring the continuity of “indian culture” go right ahead.

    and also, what is this monolithic Indian culture that we’re speak of? As a DBD, I have seen way too many versions of “indian culture” in South Asia and the diaspora. typically, this is the normative north indian, hindu – brahman variety, that so many Hindu fundamentalist groups in India are now prescribing as “original Indian culture.” and lets not even begin to talk about how problematic any version of monolithic “Indian” culture is.

    1. The attribution of desi success in the US to their “culture” : You’ve got to be kidding me! This has nothing to do with culture, and more to do with patterns of immigration to the US. Wikipedia the “Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965″ and know that this act basically allowed for more immigration from south asia and other parts of the third world for mostly skilled, highly educated workers.

    2. Holding on to your own culture: Thats just a game lost before the dice are rolled: see comment on culture not being static.

    Taz- thanks for pointing out the violence and why this isn’t a “whiny ABD” issue .

    what does look like a whiny ABD issue is this whole idea of “lets hold on to our culture in this big bad land of Amrika.” Culture isnt a fossil.

    I could go on forever, but I’m going to go back to actually reading something educational.

  21. Hovering, Exactly, Wah! or YesandNo – Please stick to one handle. Or else.

    i thought that creature macacaroach/prema/whatever the new handle was banned anyhow?

  22. Culture not being static does not mean that moving towards homogenization with something else is a good thing, nor does it mean that dynamic cultural shifts don’t retain some connection with their original roots. The entire point is to keep in touch with those roots instead of progressively letting them be ignored.

    The life being a buffet of choices thing is a reference to people taking their familial and cultural obligations lightly. “Don’t like your parents? Just go ahead and spurn them instead of letting them harsh your mellow.” That’s the consumerism. It’s individuality taken to the extreme where it starts to approach selfishness.

    I don’t remember ever saying there was a monolithic Indian culture. All I said was that working to retain one’s cultural identity and intending to pass it on to the next generation is a good thing. And trying to label people who feel that way as “backwards,” “regressive,” or “racist” is exactly the kind of homogenizing, Westernizing influence that would have made Macaulay proud.

    And the complaints about “violence” being prevalent in this community I’d say are largely attempts to backtrack to justify why it isn’t whiny. We can go citing anecdotes all day but that doesn’t mean they’re the norm. Can most of the people here legitimately say that they fear that their parents will put a hit out on their chosen mate? Domestic violence may be an issue, but I guarantee that it is not what motivates most people to write blog posts about interracial dating.

  23. Quick fact check since I have other things to do:

    1. I’m not an ABD. actually a DBD, born and brought up in India. I know where my roots are, thanks for being concerned.

    2. My relationship isnt a secret.

    3. I dont hate my parents, not even close. And as for self- hating, far from it. I just dont have the same narrow conceptions as some people on this forum.

    Also, the only reason to point to wiki was so that some people on here could have something to refer to, even if most basic. My knowledge of Asian immigration in the US actually comes from an Ivy league, south asian studies graduate department in this country. but thats not even the point. I dont have anything to justify here – was just trying to have a non-personal conversation with supposedly intelligent desis.

  24. I am looking for an article I read sometime around last Christmas, but I can’t find it so I’ll try to summarize it as best I can.

    It was written by a Jewish columnist about Channukah. He talks a lot about the Maccabees and how they were such hardline, orthodox people. When Antiochus of the Seleucids forbade the practice of Judaism the Maccabees revolted. They not only revolted against the Seleucids, they did some pretty questionable stuff against their fellow Judeans as well which included stoning of Jews who turned their backs on their culture.

    Most Jews today would be a little uncomfortable about some of the less tolerant actions that the Maccabees perpetrated (and they should be). But the fact remains that if not for what they did, there would be no such thing as Judaism today.

    Just some food for thought in a discussion about the merits of acculturation and/or assimilation. How far should we be willing to go in the pursuit of retaining our own identity? I would assume that anyone who self-identifies by their Indian background enough to post on a blog about it might see some merit to the notion of retaining some sense of cultural identity, but what is the merit that drives us to it?

  25. Unlike other ethnicities, there’s not a cultural bond, tradition or a “heritage” in Black Americans, to collectively ignore an entire race of people, just for the heck of it, or for “cultural” reasons

    This simply is not true. African Americans DO have a distinct culture as a people and many of them are against interracial marriages for the same reasons some desis above have defended: culture, customs and traditions.

  26. 127 · Wow! said

    Unlike other ethnicities, there’s not a cultural bond, tradition or a “heritage” in Black Americans, to collectively ignore an entire race of people, just for the heck of it, or for “cultural” reasons
    This simply is not true. African Americans DO have a distinct culture as a people and many of them are against interracial marriages for the same reasons some desis above have defended: culture, customs and traditions.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard the words “culture,” “customs,” or “traditions” used. But usually when I hear my friends talk about it they grope towards the same idea. Eligible black guys/girls who date outside aren’t usually regarded all that well. But to be perfectly honest. As bad as the bellyaching about the lack of decent Indian guys is among Desi girls, if you want to really get an earful spend an evening with a circle of 4 or 5 young, professional Black women.

  27. I don’t remember ever saying there was a monolithic Indian culture. All I said was that working to retain one’s cultural identity and intending to pass it on to the next generation is a good thing. And trying to label people who feel that way as “backwards,” “regressive,” or “racist” is exactly the kind of homogenizing, Westernizing influence that would have made Macaulay proud
    The life being a buffet of choices thing is a reference to people taking their familial and cultural obligations lightly. “Don’t like your parents? Just go ahead and spurn them instead of letting them harsh your mellow.” That’s the consumerism. It’s individuality taken to the extreme where it starts to approach selfishness.

    Natavara, while there is nothing wrong with wanting to preserve one’s culture to the greatest extent possible, when one reaches adulthood whom they choose to marry is their choice, not their parents’. The parents are more than likely dead and gone before their kids’ marriages have even reached the halfway point. We are the ones who have to wake up daily with our choice, not our parents, unless of course one of the traditions you are in favor of preserving is bringing your bride home to live with her in-laws. This is where one of the greatest strengths of desi culture, it’s family bonds, becomes it’s weakness. And because desi culture is largely focused around religion, it is possible to find non desi Hindus and Sikhs who are more religious and traditional than desi Hindus and Sikhs. Such non desi Hindus and Sikhs may preserve and pass on the Hindu and Sikh traditions to your offspring more efficiently than a desi Hindu or Sikh would. Now I’m not saying that you should run out and find yourself a non desi spouse who practices a desi religion, I’m just saying don’t discount them.

  28. It was written by a Jewish columnist about Channukah. He talks a lot about the Maccabees and how they were such hardline, orthodox people. When Antiochus of the Seleucids forbade the practice of Judaism the Maccabees revolted. They not only revolted against the Seleucids, they did some pretty questionable stuff against their fellow Judeans as well which included stoning of Jews who turned their backs on their culture. Most Jews today would be a little uncomfortable about some of the less tolerant actions that the Maccabees perpetrated (and they should be). But the fact remains that if not for what they did, there would be no such thing as Judaism today. Just some food for thought in a discussion about the merits of acculturation and/or assimilation. How far should we be willing to go in the pursuit of retaining our own identity? I would assume that anyone who self-identifies by their Indian background enough to post on a blog about it might see some merit to the notion of retaining some sense of cultural identity, but what is the merit that drives us to it?

    Yeah, and then you’ve got the Parsees who are dying out precisely because of their lack of acculturation, assimilation, and lack of inter-whatever marrying. The offspring of Parsee women who marry non Parsee men are not counted as Parsees, even if the husbands convert (not really a custom amongst Parsees but should be)and the children are raised with Parsee customs in the home. There’s got to be a limit to this type of thinking otherwise cultures will die out for the opposite reasons to those Natavara is giving.

  29. #97 Of course. But we are not talking about Michelle, we are talking about Barak, who represents a different aspect of the “African-American” experience aspect of the “African-American” experience (which, btw, now theoretically includes North Africans as well)

    ummm I think its safe to say, Taz, & everyone else realize that Barack is married. I read the part of the post that said: will it be more acceptable for me to bring home a black man? I’m happy for any one that will feel empowered, inspired by a Black POTUS. However I stand by my comment that those, like yourself, who feel it neccessary to parse out the percentage of whiteness,degrees of connection to Africa etc to differentiate Barack- from those other black Americans who produced Ivy educated Michelle, are no better than anyone else who needs to catagorically dismiss blacks out of hand on the basis of race. … he’s acceptable if you “de-blackify” him. Who knew Kenyan’s were N. African’s, or that Morrocan/Libyan/Egyptian Americans generically self id as “African Americans”. I’ve met (black) Nigerians, Ethopians etc who don’t do that.

    #100 Word. I’m happy Obama chose a dark skinned black woman who doesn’t have stereotypically white facial features.

    Actually I’m happy to see him, and other celebrities find beauty, love, a solid family etc w/ any “black” woman-we do come in a range of colors and features ;-)

    For all my “preaching” I think we are on the cusp of a change, I trust, going forward that a choice of a mate for a person of Afro American lineage is as free of historical considerations of context,oppression etc, as a choice of a career,political affiliation etc.

    shalom

  30. 119 · Wow! said

    I find desis as a whole to be good examples to occidentals when in their countries; work ethic, family values, etc.

    I think many of these erudite commenters are confused by their experiences in the big city. Real Americans with Small Town Values are Patriotic and Hard Working. In fact, I have found that a good guide to arriving at the right decision when I am at a particularly confounding crossroads is to ask myself: What would Sarah Palin do? All ye desis, rock your go-go boots and fell a moose, and you will find that you too can replace uncertainty and angst with a feeling of supreme confidence, without ever going through that torturous process of information gathering.

  31. 38 · Manju said

    we live in interesting times.

    Yep, at the point Jews are supporting Hitler, and the catastrophic failure of experiments in laissez-faire capitalism are making Greenspan roll over in his grave, you know that things are indeed really weird.

  32. he’s acceptable if you “de-blackify” him.

    … by the by that perpetuates the “acting white meme” pathology that many like to pretend exisits only in the AfAm community.

    catastrophic failure of experiments in laissez-faire capitalism are making Greenspan roll over in his grave

    , He’s not rolling, just ‘shocked that free markets are flawed. No word yet on his faith in Santa Claus.

  33. This simply is not true. African Americans DO have a distinct culture as a people and many of them are against interracial marriages for the same reasons some desis above have defended: culture, customs and traditions.

    in fact, African American women usually have their head on straight and arent misled by the Eurocentric environment that we all live in.

    Ask the question, when a “low caste” person achieves political office in India, does that somehow make them more marryable in the eyes of every day society? no. not at all.

  34. 121 · desiwoman said

    Cultural preservation is such a myth – besides one would think that with over a billion indians on this planet (most of whom cant even get along with each other), cultural preservation is probably the last concern lol.

    I don’t think the issue inter-racial marriage is about cultural preservation but more about anxiety of losing what you consider positive and familiar and adopting new ways of leading a family/social life, different from what you have grown up with. Love is sometimes indeed blind.

  35. 123 · NaraVara said

    Culture not being static does not mean that moving towards homogenization with something else is a good thing, nor does it mean that dynamic cultural shifts don’t retain some connection with their original roots. The entire point is to keep in touch with those roots instead of progressively letting them be ignored

    Btw since many are throwing culture and tradition generously. Let me try to first define desi/south-asian culture in the US context in attempt to understand/discuss the Desi Bradley effect ? (a) Visiting temples/gurdwaras/mosques/churches (b) Learning some south-asian dance, song or art form (c) fan of Bollywood (d) Celebrating desi festivals and wearing south-asian dress for festivals/parties etc. (e) Discussing south-asian politics and relevance to US policies or desi immigrants (f) desi traditional or mixed style marriage.

    I think all this can be done even if you have non-desi partner. So the desi parents concern about inter-racial marriage seem to be just nothing but crocodile tears.

  36. Correct me if I am wrong, but the post wasn’t about general desi reluctance for out-marriage, but a differential racial bias in this behavior. I have no idea what a prime directive for cultural preservation, or the soul-crushing nature of a world buffet dominated by Starbucks baristas rather than soup nazis, has to do with that point.

    Although I will just note that the FDR presidency didn’t create an epidemic of polio inflicted grooms…

  37. 137 · Rahul said

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the post wasn’t about general desi reluctance for out-marriage, but a differential racial bias in this behavior

    If by differential racial bias you are referring to whether non-african american non-desis will be more preferable to Indian/desi parents than african-american then the crux of desi concern is probably (a) fairness (b) socio-economic standing and less to do with cultural preservation . I gather the latter is definitely negated by Obama’s candidature. As to the former, I guess that depends on the level of prejudice that is inherent in the minds of desi parents. To couch those concerns (a,b) in terms of cultural preservation is itself a Bradley effect.

  38. 139 · Brigette Gabriel said

    To couch those concerns (a,b) in terms of cultural preservation is itself a Bradley effect.

    No, a Bradley effect would be when one lies about one’s racial preferences because it would be socially unacceptable to do otherwise. In this context, it would be a claim that outmarriage is acceptable, when asked in the abstract, because it would be socially unacceptable to claim otherwise (Of course, this analogy is heavily flawed because the actual expressing of one’s biases in the voting case is still hidden from society, whereas the same is not necessarily in the case of groom choice).

    If there is a socially acceptable rationalization for one’s biases (in fact, many claim that this is the case for Obama-McCain, where even if the subliminal reason is racism, the person can give socially acceptable reasons based on “socialism” or some other figleaf), then there is no reason to hide that bias, and hence the Bradley effect does not exist.

  39. 7 · Mr.Singh said

    Desis including myself are going to vote for Obama not because he is black, but because he is not Mccain/Republican, his policies etc. Who in their right mind think that Obama is your typical black male? Seriously! He distants himself from the typical black people. How many kids out of wedlock does he have? None! He got the best swagger? Maybe! He would have never gotten the nomination if he wasn’t part of the white aspirations. He is just the black version of the American dream. But he is not the African American dream! I know a lot of black people who are voting for Obama just because he is black. They don’t care about his policies or experience. It’s part of the black reparations for them. They think that Obama is one of their homie. Alot of them are not voting for him because they believe America is not ready for black president. So If you are going by this article,I guess if you vote for Obama you are going to like Rap music. This country is going to crapper but who cares black people will get more booty because there is a black president.

    HAHAHAAHA Your kidding right? A lot of black folks are asking about his politics, folks like Tavis Smiley and others are not for Obama. Come on man not all blacks folks think that if we have a black President the more booty we will get. Stop watching BET man.

  40. 135 · Brigette Gabriel said

    121 · desiwoman said
    Cultural preservation is such a myth – besides one would think that with over a billion indians on this planet (most of whom cant even get along with each other), cultural preservation is probably the last concern lol.
    I don’t think the issue inter-racial marriage is about cultural preservation but more about anxiety of losing what you consider positive and familiar and adopting new ways of leading a family/social life, different from what you have grown up with. Love is sometimes indeed blind.

    See posts 67, 116, 73 where part of the comments clearly point to a need for cultural preservation, or protecting cultural lineage. Also “anxiety of losing what you consider positive and familiar and adopting new ways of leading a family/social life, different from what you have grown up with” is something that even people who marry within the community have to deal with – not just interracial marriages. As you say in your other post, marrying interracially doesnt mean that all your cultural values get thrown out of the window, or that somehow desi children born of 2 desi parents are more likely to hold on to the same culture, more than mixed ones.

  41. 137 · Rahul said

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the post wasn’t about general desi reluctance for out-marriage, but a differential racial bias in this behavior. I have no idea what a prime directive for cultural preservation, or the soul-crushing nature of a world buffet dominated by Starbucks baristas rather than soup nazis, has to do with that point.

    Exactly! The way the comments on this post have gone clearly are part of larger trends in the US when talking about race. Since now a lot of people claim to be color-blind, the talk about race has become increasingly couched under “cultural” terms. Also, some white people increasingly use cultural metaphors to talk about race.

    But let’s face it – desi interracial marriage does exist, whatever its merits or lack thereof maybe. So as far as desi interracial marriage goes, on average how many desis do you see with white people? and how many do you see with other groups, particularly black people? Let’s stop pretending as though there isn’t a clear bias. Perhaps some more of that self-awareness and introspection that we’re all so concerned about?

  42. African American ‘culture’ did not create Barack Obama. He was raised by non-black family members and they instilled their values on him. It’s those values that made him what he’s today.

  43. All this discussion about “preserving culture” is besides the point. How much “Desi Culture” does the average ABD have on offer for preservation anyway?

    I personally think Indian parents should just follow the White model, and kick the kids out after 18, and let them mind their own business. The kids seem to be pining for it, so just give them what they want. That way, they wouldn’t wait for Da Messiah to solve their problems for them. Would also lower the level of handwringing a lot, on both sides.

  44. 145 · Wah! said

    I personally think Indian parents should just follow the White model, and kick the kids out after 18, and let them mind their own business. The kids seem to be pining for it, so just give them what they want

    Very true. Instill American individualism and independence with respect to personal life issues. Then all problems will take care of itself. If the kids still want some exposure to desi culture how about taking an internship or temporary job in India or make friends with “cultured” DBDs or join South-Asian studies program in univs ?

  45. I personally think Indian parents should just follow the White model, and kick the kids out after 18, and let them mind their own business. The kids seem to be pining for it, so just give them what they want

    Funny. But this is one of those cultural aspects that desis seek to preserve, the elderly generation anyway, and they have their reasons for that. You see, I do think that alot of desi elders resistance to interracial coupling is in cultural. When they look around the United States or Canada or the UK and the see to what extent whites and blacks and latinos marry, divorce, remarry, or just shack up, or not even shack up but get pregnant by various men or impregnate various women, well they don’t want the same for themselves and their tribe. Can you blame them? The contemporary west does not exactly have a good track record with stable family life and I don’t see it getting any better, no matter how many desis they date or try to marry. There are also other aspects of desi living that someone else mentioned above would just be too time consuming and harrowing to walk a nondesi partner through and try to incalculate them with in order for them to be accepted by the wider desi family. Can it work? I’ve seen a few, very few. But most of the couples I know who tried have gone the traditional western route and divorced which in turn brought much pain and shame to the desi family, what to speak of “see, I told you so’s” to the desi individual who tried. Is it worth it? Can we not find mates from our own background? Have they become so rare, exclusive, hard to get or picky? This kind of flies in the face of what I wrote above about nondesi Hindus and Sikhs but now that I’ve given it more thought, even though they may be practicing Hinduism or Sikhism more than we are, chances are they come from a broken family if they are American, Canadian or British or western European. Western peoples’ idea of marriage is very different from ours.

  46. African American ‘culture’ did not create Barack Obama. He was raised by non-black family members and they instilled their values on him. It’s those values that made him what he’s today.

    Thanks Musiq, what about his children, I think his mother in law has been heavily involved in rearing them,Just as she and her husband raised Michelle and her brother. (From the looks of it they are successful African Americans) what ‘culture’ do they have? If the Obama children turn out successful, can they claim to be authentically African American? how many more generations do you think it will take before black Americans can be ameicans? or any other words- when will your use of english, deordorant, knives and forks stop being “white” behavior?

  47. 147 · Wow! said

    Have they become so rare, exclusive, hard to get or picky

    Taking a cue from sciences – collision frequncy is proportional to density. Unless you live in big cities (or maybe in a univ) with ample number (and places) of desis to meet you are hardly going to see a desi single souls for miles. Then the entire compatibilty game that plays out independent of race. So it is better and easier to broaden the pool and be open and not look at racial issues wrt marriage as a zero sum game.

  48. Wow#147 >>When they look around the United States or Canada or the UK and the see to what extent whites and blacks and latinos marry, divorce, remarry, or just shack up, or not even shack up but get pregnant by various men or impregnate various women

    You mean, to what extent they give “it” to each other on credit, ie, betting their body on future return on equity? Don’t worry – it will all come to a crashing end with a decade. The process is well underway for the last six months.

    The contemporary west does not exactly have a good track record with stable family life and I don’t see it getting any better

    The contemporary west has lifestyles that were an offshore of easy, plentiful credit and a stable economic environment. Both these will now go the way of folklore that grandparents wistfully talk about with their grandchildren (“When I bought a house fifty years ago, I paid down only 10%, after which I quickly turned around and took a home-equity loan to buy a plasma TV“).

    kick the kids out after 18, and let them mind their own business.

    Without recourse to credit cards, student loans or loans of any other type, how will kids eat?(18 year olds eat a LOT!)

    This entire economic crisis will be a victory for the traditionalists.

    M. Nam