A marriage of East and West

Earlier this month, the NYT ran a wedding announcement for the marriage of Nicolette Bird and Ravi Mehta. At first this seemed like the usual thing: one person with family in Calcutta, went to college in Calcutta, marrying another person with family in New York who went to Harvard.

Except …

In this case it was Nicolette Bird who is from Calcutta and works in Bollywood, and it’s Ravi Mehta who was born in Colorado, with his parents and job in New York City.

The bride, 25, is an actress and model and has had roles in the Bollywood films “Rock On,” released in 2008, and “Striker,” released earlier this month. As a model, she has appeared in television commercials and magazine advertisements in India. She graduated from Bhowanipur Education Society College in Calcutta. She is a daughter of Edwina Bird and Nicholas Bird of Calcutta.

The bridegroom, 28, is the founder and managing director of Steadview Capital Management of New York, a hedge fund that focuses on companies in India. He graduated from Harvard. The bridegroom is a son of Geeta Mehta and Krishen Mehta of New York. [NYT]

<

p>And why not? We hate it when people ask us “Really, where are you from” do we think this only happens to brown folks in America? Heck, this week people sent me two links to Indian TV ads which had anxiety about hybridity as their main theme:

<

p>

No word yet on what the Mehta-Bird’s will be eating at home, but given that he grew up in Japan I imagine their dinner table negotiations are quite intense. Or maybe they just get takeout.

154 thoughts on “A marriage of East and West

  1. “Staying hot takes hard work. A man who gets a hot wife as a trophy won’t hesitate to dump her or cheat on her when she starts losing that hotness. Remember, aging is one of the harsh realities of life, especially for women who don’t have a lot more than their physical assets.”

    Oh, you don’t know about US divorce laws. She gets 50% of all assets of her husband if they divorce. So she is rich women who can date young men now.

  2. de-lurker:

    except that (as I blogged before) Jamie Alter still gets asked the question all the time, even though he’s second generation Indian and (unlike Ms. Bird) is fluent in an Indian language besides English. Really, the rule in India is one of skin color, and that’s around it. That’s why (again as we covered) Meiyang Chang was listed on the Indian Idol website as the “contestant from China.” It’s why Tibetan Indians who were born, raised, and went to college in India, who eat Indian food rather than Tibetan and whose Hindi is better than their Tibetan, still get treated as if they’re full on foreigners. So yes, people do get asked “Where are you really from?” in India too.

    It works the other way too — a friend of mine with similar ancestry to Obama’s lived for a year in India. Since he had his hair cut very short, and had skin color within the Indian range, people kept coming up to him and trying to speak to him in whatever the dominant local language was. When he told them he only spoke English, people would berate him as a stupid ABCD. More than once people insisted that he obviously was desi and why was he pretending that he was African? He thought this was hilarious.

    In any case, that’s all besides the point. The point of the article was the tension between seeing the names in the NYT (antecedent condition) and then finding out that the Anglo name was of somebody born in India and the more Indian name was of somebody born in America. And yes, this blog is written from the perspective of an ABD.

    C’mon, seriously, if you saw “Shah marries Smith” in the New York Times, you wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find out that Shah was the (South Asian) American and Smith was the (Anglo) Indian? Even if it was in an Indian newspaper, you would automatically assume that “Smith” was an Indian rather than a foreigner or a temporary resident?

  3. “C’mon, seriously, if you saw “Shah marries Smith” in the New York Times, you wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find out that Shah was the (South Asian) American and Smith was the (Anglo) Indian?”

    exactly what I said in #96. And that’s because certain names point us in certain directions. That doesn’t mean every name automatically guarantees a certain background, domicile or skin color, but when certain expectations are broken, it’s newsworthy, interesting, and hence, blogged about.

  4. Even if it was in an Indian newspaper, you would automatically assume that “Smith” was an Indian rather than a foreigner or a temporary resident?

    and yet, when people “assume” stuff about you based on your looks or name or whatever, it is cause for grand offence. apparently, bayesian priors are only good when it comes to you, not to others.

  5. “and yet, when people “assume” stuff about you based on your looks or name or whatever,”

    it depends on what that is.

    if someone looks at my face and assumes that I eat monkey brains, rip people’s hearts out from their chest while they’re still beating, and doesn’t give me a job, a place to live, or anything else that society deems a necessity then it’s cause for grand offense.

    If someone looks at my face and thinks “hmm, he must have heritage outside of the united states” then it’s not.

  6. @Ennis, I conceded in my previous posts that the issue comes up with skin color, and the issues with N.Es, African-Indians, Chinese Indians, etc. I said it doesn’t really apply “in this particular case.”

    I appreciate the greater point you were trying to make. And I accept it. I am just saying there was a reason for many of us to object and/or expand on it.

    As for what I would think, like I said before the first thought gives way to a very likely assumption once you’ve read her profile in the wedding announcement.

    I think for me, what it comes down to is that both sides have valid reasoning and points. I am just explaining why one side’s point is perfectly valid. That doesn’t mean that your perspective as an ABD is invalid.

  7. the bharatmatrimony.com add is creepy. Oh no! hes bringing home a white grl! thats horrible! its ok… shes the right race. its like the aryan nation or something…

    Puliogre, I actually thought that the matrimony add was tactful enough and kind of funny. Imgagine if they had used a “muslim” “black” or “hispanic” twist instead?

    I think that the “aryan nation” comparison is a little unfair. The parents were surrounded by symbols of Indian culture. I thought they were afraid that their son would become more distant from whatever version of Indian culture permeates their lives. You could argue the racial aspect if the parents were in jeans sipping margaritas. ;-)

  8. @Cultural Bayes:

    Yes it’s surprising, because of the numbers involved. That said, I would never follow up and insistently ask “No, where are you really from” that’s obnoxious whether it happens to me or Meiyang Chang or Jamie Alter. The wrong part is the fact that somebody disbelieves your self-description because they think of their own country as homogeneous, which is not true of either country, and is absurd in a country like the USA where 99% of people are descended from immigrants.

    As I’ve pointed out several times in the comments, we’ve been blogging about non-brown Indians for some time: white, yellow and black. That’s exactly why I’m interested in these groups, they’re the mirror image of our own here in America, although more atypical since South Asian Americans number around 1% of the US population, while Anglo-Indians are .01% of India. Especially as ABDs we tend to forget about them.

  9. For someone having grown up in India (and not anglo-Indian), the usual case is that Anglo-Indians are integral to the local community and yes they are a small minority in terms of numbers since several have migrated to places like Australia, the US and the Middle East but just like with Parsis are integral to local communities – also one instinctively knows and accepts anglo-indians to be as Indian as a parsi or a Jain. In school and in college, I had typically may be 1-2 anglo-Indian classmates in a class of about 40-45 people. And, most cities have pockets or neighborhoods where anglo-Indians live. I am from Hyderabad and know of such neighborhoods there. The Indian railways for some reason would have a large number of anglo-Indian employees.

    I can understand that ABDs have difficulty with the ‘instinctive’ classifying – I remember taking an anglo-Indian friend of mine here in the US to a party where everyone kept asking her where she is from…and I remember it making her very uncomfortable and fostering a sense of ‘othering’ her. As de-lurker has said, somehow in India, its just easier to not question identity based on a anglo-saxon name because one is perhaps working with a much larger sample and you learn over the years to instinctively know what a particular name means. For instance, I would think most Indians would know that a person with Saldanha as their last name is perhaps Mangalorean and a Pinto perhaps Goan and a Bird an anglo-Indian. I also agree with one of the posters that to some degree skin color plays into it. Yes, a Tom Alter who looks white but is very Indian is rare so people in India may do a double take but really not for long.

    I have several cousins who were born and raised in the US who have difficulty placing people with Indian last names – I have a cousin who keeps asking me if a particular last name is a North Indian one or a South Indian one or Gujarati or Bengali – that’s when I realized that what we learn growing up in India is not even conscious about placing people regionally to some degree by their last name but that this obviously does not come easy to someone not raised in India. Also, typically growing up in India, we didnt really spend much time in school and college on a person’s identity – personality mattered more than where the person was from. But here with a lot of my ABD friends and cousins, it comes up more than I’ve ever seen in India on whether someone is south Indian or Gujju or whatever else…I am not judging it – I can understand the reasons for heightened identity sensitivity here. Also identity politics are very, very different here than in India. Not that all is well in one place or the other….each place has its own issues with identity construction.

  10. [quote] Now tell me, if you see Mehta marries Bird in an American newspaper, why would you automatically assume that Bird is one of the people from the smallest group of the three? That’s just bad bayesianism. It’s surprising that Bird in this case is Indian, not because there are no Indian Birds, but because most Birds are not. That’s part of the purpose of the post.[/quote]

    Ennis, I do understand the spirit in which you made this post, but the point that I was trying to make and de-lurker makes in comment #100 is that Indians and those raised in the social milieu of India would not assume that Nicolette Bird from Cal was white, they would assume she was AI. I was familiar with Nicolette before reading the wedding announcement, so I didn’t assume anything from it. But my first assumption from watching her in Rock On and reading her name was that she was AI.

    It’s highly unlikely that she would have ever gotten the question “Where are you really from?” in India. Bollyspice is an American website and the interviewer is probably an ABD.

    Your situation growing up in America is not comparable to Nicolette’s. I think you are missing the point that most middle class Indians with some education and exposure looks at their country and accepts people who are far different from them as their countrymen. Of course, there are communal issues, but that is something that is created and nurtured, it’s not the default.

    I’m not sure exactly what I found off-putting in the post, but I think that it might be the assumption that Indians are narrow-minded and you put up this post to say that they should accept Nicolette as Indian, when no one even questioned it. The only one questioning was done by ABDs who haven’t had the experience of growing up in India. I don’t want to make this a ABD v. DBD thing (I’m 1.5), but this post stems from a lack of understanding of the workings of Indian society. While not the original intention of the post, I think it’s good that you put it up because I think this discussion is helpful to people who might not have known.

    I think #100 and #109 do a great job of explaining it, especially about learning to place names.

  11. I also agree with one of the posters that to some degree skin color plays into it. Yes, a Tom Alter who looks white but is very Indian is rare so people in India may do a double take but really not for long.

    Exactly right. It is not so much about the name. Nicolette Bird is obviously not white, so there is no questioning her desiness. In contrast there are white-skinned hare krishnas with indian names walking around in India but no one really assumes they are natives.

  12. As I’ve pointed out several times in the comments, we’ve been blogging about non-brown Indians for some time: white, yellow and black. That’s exactly why I’m interested in these groups, they’re the mirror image of our own here in America, although more atypical since South Asian Americans number around 1% of the US population, while Anglo-Indians are .01% of India. Especially as ABDs we tend to forget about them.

    But as noted in previous comments, that .01 percent is very well known, similar to parsees as comment 109 points out.

    Percentage and numbers are the deciding factor here. It would be a mistake to assume Indian reaction and acceptance according to the numbers of a community.

    Northeasterners are most likely greater in number. And I think everyone would agree that they are more likely to have the problems you are talking about, not Anglo-Indians, or people with Anglo/Portuguese names.

    Of course DBDs are more likely to have some questions about both. And now, as as been mentioned upward by myself and others, despite the ongoing neglect still by the central gov’t, Northeasters are slowly having presence in mainstream national media. Of course there are still problems and a long way to go, but the population in India has progressed a bit in this regard.

    Before, their presence was certainly noticed in places like Delhi and other cities. But I think Media representation and a few other factors have a lot to do with “acceptance as a non-other.”

    But again, the issues apply to those communities, Chinese Indians, Tibetans in India, African Indians, etc. The numbers have less to do with it.

  13. I meant “percentages and numbers are NOT the deciding factor here.”

    Also to add on, to my last statement. It should be:

    But again, the issues apply to those communities, Chinese Indians, Tibetans in India, African Indians, etc. To a different extent, to people like the Alters.

    They would not apply to A.Is and those with similar names.

    The numbers are not the most deciding factor.

  14. As an aside:

    I wanted to mention this yesterday, but slipped my mind.

    That post on Jamie alter was great, beautiful post. It was great to read again.

  15. Understood. I guess what’s getting lost is that I didn’t know she was from Calcutta when I first read the announcement, I just saw the names, and this being the NYT I made an assumption based on a different set of reference populations. That’s why I was surprised to see Mehta was from NYC and Bird was from Calcutta.

  16. For what it’s worth, I was raised in the West but I have no trouble grasping the existence of people with all sorts of different names in India. I’m frankly suprised that none of the ABDs knew about the existence of Anglo-Indians, Portuguese Christians, Chinese Indians, etc. Your parents should’ve done a better job, taking pride in India is taking pride in our sheer diversity.

  17. Metal Mickey:

    Not only do we know about them, we’ve blogged about them. SM has a blogger named “Anna John” I’ve written about Jamie Alter and black Indians on this blog. I know many Tibetan Indians. Others have written about Chinese Indians and many other groups. I get it. Nobody here thinks that Indians, or South Asians in general, are homogeneous. You’re missing the point.

  18. I need to preview my posts:

    Another typo correction.

    Comment 112 — it should be ABDs instead of DBDs

    Of course DBDs are more likely to have some questions about both.
  19. One of my former classmate in India was from Meghalya, and his name is Walter Shocklet

    Dude, do you have to give out personal info of people? I know you want to be Mr. Professor but that’s very uncool.

  20. Barry White is black

    Jack Black is white

    Mike Brown is black

    Aaron Gray is white

    Redd Fox was a black man

    Alan Greenspan is white

    Maroon 5 is a band with a bunch of white dudes

    Pink is a white singer.

  21. Cause Ricky Ricardo is such a common south Asian name. Ironically , the actor who plays him is named Desi. !!

    Serioulsy, Jenna…? You didn’t get that that’s what Manju was referring to in the first place?

  22. I’ve written about…..black Indians on this blog.

    You have written about Rama, Krishna, Vyasa and the majority of indians? Where?

  23. Fiona Apple eats Kiwis

    Joe Bananas likes lemon in his tea

    This girl in high school we called “The Fig” would always eat raisins.

  24. I’m frankly suprised that none of the ABDs knew about the existence of Anglo-Indians, Portuguese Christians, Chinese Indians, etc. Your parents should’ve done a better job, taking pride in India is taking pride in our sheer diversity.

    For most ABDs going to India means getting in touch with family and reconnecting with their roots. Not necessarily touring around experiencing the country.

  25. ouch. the ads were a little cringeworthy… especially the first. the target market seems to be the indian who likes to go ‘southindian’ now and then. they want to contrast someone who is as far removed from tamil culture as possible onto someone who’s tamil to the core. if this is hitting their target market, then it reflects a rather low opinion of the target market. it’s the cuisine equivalent to showing boobage for selling anti-perspirants. nothing wrong with it – except i realize with a little stab of pleasure – that i’m likely not the target market. haha. if you liked it, you’re the lowest common denominator. i laugh at your pea-brain.

  26. just got around to watching the first ad. my friends from india always talk about how ads in the US are dumb and ads in india are greatly made. Holy $hit, these ads are just horrendous.

  27. Serioulsy, Jenna…? You didn’t get that that’s what Manju was referring to in the first place?

    manju never mentioned the actors name. maybe I read too fast, sheesh I got four hours of sleep the night before

    shilip: how is that illogical? stereotypes go hand in hand with the media.

    because its surprising for someone with a traditionally western european name (read: white name) to be Indian (or any other non-white category)

    no it’s really not. anglo indians are nothing new. Even western european names have Indian origins (Monica & Tanya) and lots of Indian people have non Indian names , go to any Indian Christian groups (I grew up in one, not a Christian anymore though) and you’ll meet many Daniels, Jacobs, Samuels, Alberts, Carolines–who are all just as Indian as the Shreyas, Samirs and Riyas etc. It’s illogical to assume something about someone’s background because of their name. My name is Jenna (not a pornstar!) and what’s worse is that my maiden name is of Danish origin. I’m not the only one.

  28. Are those Indian Ads, or ads targeted at Indian Americans? I ask because the first one I’ve definitely seen on during AVS in public television. And it’s been a couple of years, too. It’s definitely not a recent ad.

    Not sure about the second one.

    @126, there certainly are some great Indian ads. It’s been a while since I saw a great ad in the U.S. But at the same time India has some dumb and corny ads as well.

  29. My first name is Alivia, last name Dey (which can be found among Westerners too, a variant of Day – look up directories in NYC/NJ area). I have often been mistaken as a non-desi until people see my brown face. I am a Bengali born and raised in Calcutta and moved to North America 5 years back. I get especially irritated when I meet people (desis and nons-desis alike) who ask me whether I “changed” my first name like many East Asians do,on coming to North America. Trust Bongs and their fascinations with western inspired names as illustrated in Namesake. I have had known people with names like Lincoln, James with Bengali surnames.

    My point is – why can’t one be global about names ? Is it really that unexpected in today’s world.

    Though at times I found it cool my parents named me such, yet sometimes when I am faced with barrage of questions, I think it would have helped others associate my name & identity if I had a fancy Bengali name. Talk about crisis :) .

  30. For most ABDs going to India means getting in touch with family and reconnecting with their roots. Not necessarily touring around experiencing the country.

    Yoga Fire, you don’t need to tour through India to find these people. Don’t your parents ever talk about their school days in India? If they went to a convent school, there would’ve been Indian Christians and at least a few Anglo-Indians.

  31. Don’t your parents ever talk about their school days in India? If they went to a convent school, there would’ve been Indian Christians and at least a few Anglo-Indians.

    Lol! Convent school.

    My father grew up in a rinky-dink village with a one-room shack for a school. (Now torn down and replaced with an actual building.)

  32. @Delurker:

    I think the first is an Indian ad, there’s a good chunk in Hindi and I thought the couple they showed was supposed to be in Bangalore, but I could be wrong about the intended market.

    @Metal Mickey:

    There are in fact four bloggers at Sepia Mutiny who are from Christian families.

  33. Well, most of the 1st gen Indians I know went to convent school. My grandmother insisted that my mother go to convent school, so that at least she’d “learn to speak proper English”.

  34. Well, most of the 1st gen Indians I know went to convent school.

    i didnt. but that’s not the point. this post is weird because for all the protestations about inclusiveness, sensitivity etc., ennis still seems to think it is perfectly ok for him to have preconceptions about some people being “the other” and that these biases are noteworthy enough to blog about.

    maybe he and the others here will be a-ok the next time he gets confused for a muslim or somebody says “how do you speak english so well”.

  35. I think the first is an Indian ad, there’s a good chunk in Hindi and I thought the couple they showed was supposed to be in Bangalore, but I could be wrong about the intended market.

    The first commercial is for Deep Foods, which is an American company whose quality food is due to expertise honed at the Cornell University Department of Food Science and the New York Restaurant School. It has aired on Hindi channels in North America for a few years. The second commercial also airs on Hindi channels in North America, and has been out for a few months.

  36. My father grew up in a rinky-dink village with a one-room shack for a school. (Now torn down and replaced with an actual building.)

    My father did as well. I do not think my background is peculiar.

  37. “I think the first is an Indian ad, there’s a good chunk in Hindi and I thought the couple they showed was supposed to be in Bangalore, but I could be wrong about the intended market.”

    I don’t think so. It’s definitely not aimed at the South Indian market. I’m guessing it’s for American desis, primary targets being North Indians. It’s got that mocking edge that North Indian or Bombay media always has when referring to South Indians.

  38. I have often been mistaken as a non-desi until people see my brown face.

    New rule on Sepia Mutiny. Anytime somebody says that they can pass for a non-desi, or say that they are mistaken for greek, Italian or something like that, they have to post there picture here.

  39. New rule on Sepia Mutiny. Anytime somebody says that they can pass for a non-desi, or say that they are mistaken for greek, Italian or something like that, they have to post there picture here.

    Hehe. No race is as insanely delusional as the desi race. Thats a good way to call these wannabe whites out and bring them to their senses. There was an article in the news section that revealed that 98% of indians, including even indians living in western nations, claim to be “fair-skinned”!!!

    Rare is the honest indian, such as this anglo-indian, who admits that he is mistaken for an african or aborigine when in America or Australia:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,300683,00.html

    There are even some newcomers, including the Scot-Indian Cameron. After living in Australia, Britain and Africa, he says he’s finally found his home. Before arriving in McCluskieganj, his restless blood led him through a rainbow of identities, from Indian army captain to cocktail pianist, author to pilot, headmaster to racehorse breeder. Yet only in McCluskieganj, he says, among his fellow outsiders, is he truly himself. “Because I’m rather swarthy, people in England and Australia mistake me for an African or an Aboriginal,” he says. “Nobody knows who you are or what you are. But here, in this place, how do I put it? I simply never feel out of sorts.”

  40. There are in fact four bloggers at Sepia Mutiny who are from Christian families.

    I guess that’s part of why I’m confused about this post. I truly had no idea that it was not well known among Indian-Americans that some Indians have “western” last names. I would sort of expect it from white Americans but did not know that this was true for ABDs as well.

    Not picking on you, Ennis. This has been an interesting read.

  41. 139 · Suki Dillon on February 28, 2010 2:53 PM · Direct link I have often been mistaken as a non-desi until people see my brown face. New rule on Sepia Mutiny. Anytime somebody says that they can pass for a non-desi, or say that they are mistaken for greek, Italian or something like that, they have to post there picture here.

    Suki and McCluskie,

    Please read before jumping to conclusions. That person is talking about having a ‘Christian name’ ( a western sounding one) and hence thought to be a non-desi, until they see their ‘brown face’. Got it? It is about the name being considered non-desi, not the looks!

  42. “shilip: how is that illogical? stereotypes go hand in hand with the media. “

    It’s illogical, because you claim shaniqua is not a real african american name and say it only exists in the media, or as a stereotype but lambast me for “having the media pounding” stereotypes in my head.

    But again, that doesn’t take away from the discussion at hand. That certain names point you to certain directions. Just ask Anna.

    “no it’s really not. anglo indians are nothing new. Even western european names have Indian origins (Monica & Tanya) and lots of Indian people have non Indian names , go to any Indian Christian groups (I grew up in one, not a Christian anymore though) and you’ll meet many Daniels, Jacobs, Samuels, Alberts, Carolines–who are all just as Indian as the Shreyas, Samirs and Riyas etc. It’s illogical to assume something about someone’s background because of their name.”

    Ok, explain why the story was chosen as a blog-worthy story then ? If you read a wedding announcement “smith marries shah” are you telling me you’d equally likely think smith and shah were desi? heck they both can be eskimos. thats not the point.

    No one is saying that indians with non-sanskrit names are non-existent. But they do not occupy THE MAJORITY. If you don’t concede this obvious point, that many others have made, then I assert that you’re simply being stubborn.

  43. “Most cultures have the idea that a woman “marries into” the husband’s family.”

    Well, I think that depends. I know in my family, my dad is protestant, and my mom is catholic, but the traditional catholic idea is that the mother is responsible for passing the religion onto the child, hence I was raised catholic (not that that worked out, ha!) rather than protestant.

    Also there are some (though probably less) cultures, even in India (mostly South India) where the family line is matrilineal, rather than patrilineal.

    “But acceptance of Indian husband/non-Indian wife in the Indian community is not a pattern that just appears in India.” While there is some acceptance of this arrangement– I also think there is still a good amount of rejection of this situation, as well. It is not necessarily easy to get an Indian family to agree to this, in my case, it took a lot of time, but in the end it worked out. I think a lot more (in this case) Indian men would be marrying outside their culture if it was more acceptable… I know a lot of Indian guys in grad school who fell in love with an American and then felt pressure to give up the relationship for an in-community marriage. I do think though, that it is probably relatively easier for an Indian male to marry a non-Indian than for an Indian female. That’s just a hunch at this point though.

  44. “I find this post amusing because no one in India has ever questioned whether Nicolette Bird is actually desi or not.”

    Does being born and raised in Kolkata make her desi, or does she need something more?

  45. It’s illogical, because you claim shaniqua is not a real african american name and say it only exists in the media, or as a stereotype but lambast me for “having the media pounding” stereotypes in my head. I never said it wasn’t real, it’s just not as common as you seem to think or as the media portrays. Generally, black people have protestant derived names.

    Ok, explain why the story was chosen as a blog-worthy story then ? If you read a wedding announcement “smith marries shah” are you telling me you’d equally likely think smith and shah were desi? Honestly, I would just think it was two people getting married and not give any thought about their backgrounds (Iranians share the last name Shah with Indians) . But I understand what you’re saying, it’s almost instinctive to associate names with certain cultures. I guess it’s blog worthy cause the author of this post has never met someone of X origin with a Y origin name or he thinks that most people would assume that Bird spent her life in the west whereas her fiance spent his in the east, but it’s actually the opposite: and his point was maybe that people shouldn’t have assumptions of people’s backgrounds based on their names… I don’t know his intentions, perhaps you should ask him, not me :)

    But they do not occupy THE MAJORITY I agree, but it’s stupid to assume that someone’s name exposes their ethnicity, that’s all i’m saying.

  46. Does being born and raised in Kolkata make her desi, or does she need something more?

    she needs to be able to do the indian head shake

  47. I agree, but it’s stupid to assume that someone’s name exposes their ethnicity, that’s all i’m saying.

    It’s stupid to assume that something that two things which correlate in 90% of cases are probably going to correlate for any given case you’re dealing with?

    I really don’t see what’s worth getting your knickers in a twist over here. So we might be mistaken in a vanishingly small minority of situations. Woe is us!

  48. I do think though, that it is probably relatively easier for an Indian male to marry a non-Indian than for an Indian female. That’s just a hunch at this point though.

    I suspect Razib has the study bookmarked given how often he references it, but I seem to recall that the numbers bore out the opposite conclusion. Indian women are more likely to marry out than Indian men.