We Have Come a Long Way

Today South Asian Americans Leading Together is launching a year long narrative campaign ‘America4All.’ The campaign will be collecting and sharing stories from the South Asian community on reflections of the past ten years since September 11th. Cross posted below is my piece launching the campaign on the SAALT Spot blog. Please follow the blog to get the latest from the ‘America4All’ series.

+++

I used to tell this story. It was 2001 and I was living in D.C., 22 yrs old and miles away from my family in Los Angeles. It was just months after September 11th and as a Muslim South Asian woman, though I knew there would be repercussion for looking like the enemy, I was most worried about my family.

Sure enough, on a phone call with my mother she shared a story of how Homeland Security came to our house looking for my male cousin. My family had stopped going to the mosque, wore patriotic flag pins and got followed in unmarked vehicles. My mother said “it doesn’t matter that I’ve lived here for 30 years or that I have my citizenship. I will always be a second class citizen.”

Thus marked my oft told founding story of why I became a South Asian American activist.

Ten years since September 11th, 2001, I wonder, how much has really changed?

SAAVY Sticker.jpg

This is the story I tell when people ask me about South Asian American Voting Youth, an organization I founded in 2003 to organize young South Asian people around the country. I was young, naïve and invincible. I truly believed in the power of electoral politics and civic engagement and, most importantly, I believed we could swing political power in our favor when we vote. If we did that – the racial profiling, hate crimes and marginalization of our community would all just stop.

The organization has since dissolved and the state of the South Asian American community has evolved. For me, it has now gone beyond simply registering South Asian Americans to vote into a world of identity politics and includes documenting our narratives and building community at both the pop and politics level.The community too has changed in the past ten years, dramatically so. Whereas before being Brown or Desi or having a beard or brown skin or wearing a hijab or a sari was an isolating experience, we now have infrastructure in our community to protect ourselves. There are organizations like SAALT that are going to Washington D.C. to make sure our voices are heard by politicians. There are domestic violence multi-lingual hotlines in South Asian languages in almost every metropolitan area. There are blogs and websites like Sepia Mutiny and networks like South Asian Journalism Association that not only give voice to the stories in our South Asian community but also highlight issues relevant to us that we may never have heard of otherwise. In the past few years, over 30 statues of Gandhi are all across this country, funded by local South Asian communities. This past election cycle six South Asian candidates ran for Congress, with the Bangladeshi Hansen Clarke from Detroit being the third Desi ever to serve in D.C.

We have come a long way in such a short amount of time. Just think about. There is a generation of Desi Youth that do not remember what life was like before September 11th.They don’t remember what life was like before South Asians could build virtual online communities or have organizations like SAALT to support them if an issue came up. A life before we were in the mainstream of entertainment, before Slumdog Millionaire,American Idol Sanjaya, or hipster goddess M.I.A. A life before the President was a black man with a best friend from Pakistan.

For their generation, parity and equity take on a new meaning.

In grad school I was taught that for certain public policies to come to fruition, there needs to be a “window of opportunity”. For the South Asian community, the catalyst for this window of opportunity was the Twin Towers falling. As tragic of an event it was for everyone in our nation, that day was a starting point for our community not wanting to get together but NEEDING to get together. We were forced to organize and mobilize.

We still have a long way to go. This past election cycle clearly reflected that with the rampant racist attitudes from the Tea Party and beyond. In some ways, we need to work even harder to counteract the negativity that is running loose in this country. Health disparities, community disenfranchisement, targeted hate crimes and racial profiling are all injustices and are fights that we are still fighting. We can’t let our stories be marginalized, we can’t let ourselves be tokenized, we can’t let our public figures be brown-faced and house-Desi-ed.

I may not be able to make my mother ever feel like a 1st class citizen, but I can do everything in my power to make my family’s life, and my South Asian American community, have better access to equity, fairness, and justice. I challenge you to do the same.

This entry was posted in Blog, Community, Issues, Musings 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

60 thoughts on “We Have Come a Long Way

  1. this is a very nice post and all, but it seems strange there is no coverage on ameya pawar today (considering how it relates to this post)

  2. I am very thankful for this weblog but not for the tendency towards leaning on lobbying and advocacy to get things that individuals, if we are really being honest, want. No desi committee on fairness and equity enabled Abhi and Anna to create SM–it was their own initiative. I reject SAALT and all such organizations that claim to pursue issues on my behalf. Everything that I and my vast extended family have accomplished here (and abroad) was by dint of great individual effort, perseverance and the painstaking cultivation of personal relationships with people who know and trust us based on what we, as individuals, have done. If I went to my grandmother today and told her that I was joining up to ‘fight for our rights’ it would be tantamount to saying that I was joining up with remnants of the LTTE in Oslo or Paris and received with the proper level of disgust and disappointment–we did not flee communalism and a culture which values group identities over all others so that we could recreate that mess in a new land.

    • To me, Nandalal’s post shows everything that is wrong in the typical desi attitude. In order for minorities to get equality and fairness(and all we are asking for is equality and fairness, by the way), minorities have to show some solidarity and form organizations to make their points heard. The odd shout here or there by one person is of no consequence. You need a proper organized group of like-minded people to go out there and push for equality. These types of organizations should be supported by desis as they only help them ultimately. It is the same for any other special interest group – they all have organizations and they make themselves heard collectively – that is the only way to get somebody to listen.

      The desire to separate and be “individual”, in my opinion, is exactly what causes weakness in the desi cause and again, in my opinion, is what allows stronger, smarter countries (who act as a unit) to come in and push places like India around (colonialism, anyone?).

      I mean, fine, be your own man, do your own thing, but when it comes to issues that affect desis in America, you should be glad that there are organizations which are fighting for you – for your rights and equality. In my view, you should support them (as long as they are not pushing ridiculous ideas of course).

  3. a lot of this has to do with: who is this We you speak of? the We includes some (most of those who read this blog probably), but certainly not all.

  4. I really like this post; its interesting how the South Asian Community in the US is smaller than in the UK (in terms of relative % of pop) but is so much-better organised. Must be a reflection between American activism and British laissez-faire.

    I think that hypenated-Americans are not a bad thing as long as they’re able to add to the life of the nation and intermingle (and intermarry) freely. Identity is an evolving thing.

  5. i’ve made this point before but the vast majority of desis are not like me, did not grow up in a trailer, in a cult, living on the income of a dance teacher. I’m glad for the networks my family has but not stupid enough to believe ‘solidarity’ takes the credit. Most americans believe they are middle-class, regardless of their material wealth, so when I see someone calling themselves “poor” or say “i grew up working-class” or “middle-class” I mentally call bullshit (ESPECIALLY if they are desi and grew up here) and most of the time I am correct–just like you would if you heard Bill O’Reilly’s “middle-class” spiel and snorted in derision. I have very little in common with the US desi population and I only comment here to remind others of the ways in which they differ as well.

    • I’m not sure why you bring up your background, I don’t see how it is relevant. I also don’t see why you talk about being poor or middle class – I don’t recall anyone mentioning anything about that either.

      You may be different from the average US desi (so am I, I’m in the UK!) but you are still desi and the more desis identify with each other and refuse to be separated and “divided” the stronger they will be as a unit, community and bringer of fairness and equality to all desis.

      I mean, it’s fairly obvious isn’t it, if you think about it?

  6. minorities have to show some solidarity and form organizations to make their points heard.

    “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” logic when it comes to pushing parochial interests only works for a little while. Eventually, if every wheel is perpetually squeaking regardless of how much you grease them then it’s time for a new wagon. American political culture is absolutely sick with an oversaturation of interest group politics. So while it might be necessary to have some clout on hand to protect your interests, we should also be aware that having a state of affairs where every little group and community feels the need to arm itself in this manner is probably not healthy.

  7. I have very little in common with the US desi population and I only comment here to remind others of the ways in which they differ as well.

    yeah, your voice is necessary,

  8. “There is a generation of Desi Youth that do not remember what life was like before September 11th.”

    Sure, but this same generation also doesn’t remember turbans/hijabs not being the enemy and not automatically being considered terrorists whenever they walk out the door. Case in point: my sister’s four year daughter was at preschool one day, and was told by a classmate that sitting next to her on an airplane would be “scary” because she was a terrorist. So yes, it’s great that this generation has somewhere to turn when faced with these situations, but things are not all sunshine and daisies for this new generation of desi youth.

  9. i would like to see social science on the increase in this sort of terrorist-related discrimination since 9/11. or at least its persistence. i’m old, so i remember the 1980s when middle eastern terrorists were in the news, and people would ask if i was iranian. during gulf war 1, people would ask if i was iraqi. WTC bombing #1 in the 90s was a big deal, and all my friends asked me about it because they assumed i’d know all about it (i was focused on school so much then that i didn’t even know what they were talking about that morning!).

    i know that 9/11 is quantitatively a bigger deal, but i’d like to see quantitative data on the discrimination being a bigger deal too.

    i look exactly like the typical brown guy (well, except i’m better looking :-) , and have a muslim name, and i can attest that i experienced 10 times more racism/prejudice in italy in 3 weeks last year that i have in the USA in my whole life (i picked 10 specifically, because i’d say that instances of obvious racism were an order of magnitude more in the aggregate). that’s not to pick on europe, as when i was in finland i experienced no racism. perhaps the finns hated me, but were too shy to act out :-)

  10. “10 times more racism/prejudice in italy”

    That’s interesting. What happened?

    I’ve visited several times, austere Milan, and found the people stylish and friendly..on a surface level at least.

  11. That’s interesting. What happened?

    nothing big. lots of dirty looks, food vendors trying to screw me, etc. i’m not much self-conscious about my racial minority status because i think i’m so awesome, but i have to admit that i was definitely more conscious by the end of my time in italy because i could tell people wouldn’t give me the benefit of the doubt. bologna and rome have HUGE bangaldeshi populations, while i don’t think milan does so much. so that’s probably it (genoa had a lot of africans, and i think milan has more chinese). the immigrants are in direct competition with the italian working classes, so there’s a lot of anger and resentment. going to finland was like going back to america after that. everyone was super friendly. reminded me of the pacific northwest, but with tiny trees :-)

  12. i look exactly like the typical brown guy (well, except i’m better looking :-) , and have a muslim name, and i can attest that i experienced 10 times more racism/prejudice in italy in 3 weeks last year that i have in the USA in my whole life (i picked 10 specifically, because i’d say that instances of obvious racism were an order of magnitude more in the aggregate). that’s not to pick on europe, as when i was in finland i experienced no racism. perhaps the finns hated me, but were too shy to act out :-)

    Have you considered maybe it was xenophobia instead of racism? I’ve heard some (white) Americans complain about getting the cold shoulder in Europe, where we’re often perceived to be fat, lazy, ignorant, blahblah…

    The reason I’m asking is because I studied abroad in Italy last summer and didn’t have that experience at all. I studied in Florence, but traveled to multiple Italian cities over the summer. I am almost fluent in Italian at this point because I’ve studied it for 6 years, and locals always seemed surprised and appreciative that the Americana could speak Italian so well. I found that the food vendors are a lot nicer when you chat with them in Italian as opposed to English – the prices magically become lower, too ;)

  13. Have you considered maybe it was xenophobia instead of racism?

    yeah, that could be it. they really hate english people for example. and of course those from ‘padania’ hate the southerners. finns do not think highly have russians as an equivalent example, though they do not express their distaste in colorful or grand language.

    though you do look considerably whiter than i do i think going by your google head shot. when i was in florence i thought i saw an italian guy with a brown chick, but more likely she was sicilian or puglian from what others told me (there was huge of a scuba diving camp from all over italy in that restaurant).

  14. ” I found that the food vendors are a lot nicer when you chat with them in Italian as opposed to English – the prices magically become lower, too ;)

    I imagine dealing with hordes of clueless tourists must get old really fast. My Italian isn’t very good but I found that every Italian male from 18 to 60 is VERY addicted to F1 especially (surprise surprise) the Ferrari team. A little chit chat and prices became lower. Nice.

    Maybe what we perceive as racism, xenophobia is at times nothing more that a massive cold shoulder that a little effort on our part can melt away.

  15. Maybe what we perceive as racism, xenophobia is at times nothing more that a massive cold shoulder that a little effort on our part can melt away.

    i think this is a huge point, which can be generalized. e.g., i have known of asian american males who complain that they can’t get dates because white women are racist against them and asian chicks want to date white guys. perhaps, but the same guys are nerds who aren’t too obsessed with hygiene.

  16. i think this is a huge point, which can be generalized. e.g., i have known of asian american males who complain that they can’t get dates because white women are racist against them and asian chicks want to date white guys.

    it’s funny how many asian guys i’ve heard complain about that, but then many of them also openly admit they would never date black or brown girls.

    (ps – not trying to say people can’t have their preferences, to each his own, but I find a lot of irony in “wahh, white chicks are so racist because they don’t date me….heck no i’d never touch a black girl!!)

  17. “it’s funny how many asian guys i’ve heard complain about that, but then many of them also openly admit they would never date black or brown”

    That’s because as a great singer once sang, Love is a Battlefield.

     Self interests trumps all in matters of love and lust. The desi man doesn't want to see his desi dreamgirl nuzzling a gora at the bar because he thinks it lessens his chances...and if the desi guy doesn't learn to man up and approach the desi girl will leave with the gora. Suck it up. It ain't racism. You just have no game.  
    
    Everyone is seeking to cast their own personal failings in a larger social/political context...its racism dammit! No you're just not that hot. 
    

    We’ve all seen the 30 something women who cry ‘where are all the good men’ blaming the peter pan phenomena…whaaaa all he does is play playstation… when in reality she’s just not attractive anymore. Or the desi man from india who can’t get a date with an american desi girl and calls her self hating….. she just doesn’t like you. It ain’t racism..you’re just fugly.

  18. it’s funny how many asian guys i’ve heard complain about that, but then many of them also openly admit they would never date black or brown girls.

    sure, sure. but that being said, the social science is moderately robust that women are much more race-conscious about dating when you control for physical attractiveness. that is, if a man finds a woman physically attractive race is generally no bar. if a woman finds a man physically attractive, she may still pass (and quite often does) based on demographics. you can probably re-frame this as men just allowing looks to trump all other considerations, while women take a more balanced view. this post as a link to my past post on this topic:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/10/female-race-consciousness-as-prudence/

  19. Razib checked out your link….an asian would have to make 250K more to be deemed suitable by white woman looks being equal among suitors?!…now ain’t that some shit.

    A question though why the reframe? That men value looks over all else is known…so what? Why let the women off the hook calling their views ‘balanced’…It is pure self interest…attraction is a bloodsport.. Excepting of course not wanting pies hurled at you by the irate masses :)

  20. Interesting post! I was already 16 when 911 happened, so I’m not really sure if the event and its repercussions were the impetus for me to get interested in South Asian diaspora issues. For me, it might have been simply a natural result of examining and appraising my life honestly; if 911 hadn’t happened, I still think I would be keenly interested in the SA experience.

    “I find a lot of irony in “wahh, white chicks are so racist because they don’t date me….heck no i’d never touch a black girl!!)”

    Hahahah, my thoughts exactly! Where I’m at, my black female friends tend to date practically every hue under the sun (black, white, hispanic, middle eastern, desi, etc) EXCEPT East Asian men. One refuses to even be friends with East Asian men. Seems kinda hateful, but you’ve gotta agree, the sense of entitlement that SOME of them have to be with only The Prettiest is off-putting, and especially absurd when you consider how little effort they put into personal grooming, and how little they have to offer in terms of looks. I’m usually quite sympathetic to the plight of East Asian men in our society, but seriously, these overly picky guys have only themselves to blame for their singlehood. (I’m not dissing all East Asian men though; just the ones who fit this bill.)

  21. @Razib – yeah but ethnicity does factor into physical beauty. if curvy blondes are your thing, chances are you’re not down with the pretty asian chicks, and vice versa.

    @kidpoker – I think “balanced” is fair, because it’s hardly like money is the only factor that women consider, it’s also culture/religion/etc (which men consider too obviously, but to a lesser extent according to Razib’s link). For example, I know many Desi girls in college who openly date white/black/latino guys, but at the end of the day, they’re open about the fact they want to marry another Desi, or another Hindu/Muslim/Sikh. Which I can totally understand and relate to.

    @Neja – Like your friend, I’ve also never dated East Asians, and tbh, am not attracted to them (sexually speaking I mean, I’m not talking about friendship here!). I agree SOME of them have that entitlement but most don’t luckily.

    I think 9/11 influenced my sense of “desi-ness”, so to speak. I was only 10 when it happened, and had never put much thought into my culture before then, other than that i ate spicier food than everyone else and rarely sunburned. I remember being asked, “Are you (insert brown ethnicity here)?” a lot after that.

  22. Razib I think you might want to follow up some of these thoughts on your next post…I predict a bare fisted brawl :)

  23. “it’s also culture/religion/etc “

    for sure but if the consideration is cultural then no amount of money should sway that right ;) ;)

  24. Not sure who’s moderating this thread but the comments have completely diverged from the original article!

    Bring it back, please…

  25. Not sure who’s moderating this thread but the comments have completely diverged from the original article!

    Hi, welcome to Sepia Mutiny….kabobs! bangladesh! sikhs! cows! outsourced! ….hmm, what was the original article about again?

    for sure but if the consideration is cultural then no amount of money should sway that right ;) ;)

    Oh i don’t know, I feel like i relate better culturally to rich guys ;)

  26. ” I feel like i relate better culturally to rich guys ;)

    HA!

    Well played!

    I heard Charlie Sheen’s pornstar family feels the same way.

  27. yeah but ethnicity does factor into physical beauty. if curvy blondes are your thing, chances are you’re not down with the pretty asian chicks, and vice versa.

    no, i was careful with how i said it. yes, you can find trait X, Y, Z, correlated with groups 1, 2, 3, attractive, explaining why you are attracted to groups 1, 2, 3. but when you control for this by selecting a sample of individuals who you judge to be equally attractive, do you still discriminate? to be concrete, black women tend to get less response on dating sites from white men. why? a lot of that has to do with background variables correlated with black women (they’re heavier, on average, for example). but when you limit the sample to black women who are rated a 10 out of 10, and white women who are rated 10 out of 10, do white men still discriminate? probably, but the vast majority of the effect disappears. do the same with white women, and asian men who they rate 10 out of 10 vs. white men who they rate 10 out of 10. they still continue to discriminate A LOT. so the point i’m trying to make is that looks can trump other variables for men, but they tend not to for women. men will pick a good looking woman of another race over an average looking woman of the same race, no doubt about it. for women, the answer is more contingent and conditional. looks does not trump all.

    i find this very ironic, because i’ve heard men complain a lot more about women dating out than women complaining about me. this has cropped up on this weblog too. but the tendencies are inverted. so why the griping? i assume because men have a sense of entitlement that these are “their women.”

    i’m doing some data analysis with R’s mapping functions for my next post fwiw.

    • That OKCupid study is flawed due to one hell of a biased sample problem. If an Indian girl exhibits a very strong preference for an Indian guy she isn’t going to be on OKCupid, she will be on Shaadi or whatever other specifically Indian dating site you can name. Likewise with girls who are Asian, Jewish, and so on.

      With White girls, however, where else are they going to go? Stormfront?

      With general interest dating sites where most of the men are White (or the kinds of ethnics who like the stuff White people like anyway), the women who tend to use that site are going to self-select based on the options available there.

      I’d also question how valid a direct comparison between male and female response rates are. I actually don’t know any guys on OKCupid but several of my female friends are on it and they complain about getting a lot of annoying, pervy messages. The signal to noise ratio for them is way lower than I suspect it is for men and that’s also going to affect their response rates.

      • “That OKCupid study is flawed due to one hell of a biased sample problem. If an Indian girl exhibits a very strong preference for an Indian guy she isn’t going to be on OKCupid, she will be on Shaadi or whatever other specifically Indian dating site you can name. Likewise with girls who are Asian, Jewish, and so on.”

        And if she’s on Shaadi, then we can assume age and dbd/abd status as well–which for someone young and abd means that OKC sample is all they have to look forward to in the larger world. I think Razib’s use of the OKC data is entirely justified (from my own selfish perspective) and anecdotally, the argument is absolutely valid.

  28. i find this very ironic, because i’ve heard men complain a lot more about women dating out than women complaining about me. this has cropped up on this weblog too. but the tendencies are inverted. so why the griping? i assume because men have a sense of entitlement that these are “their women.”

    The irony could be explained by the flip side to women preferring their own race. The complaining men know they are restricted to “their women.” Women don’t complain because they are not restricted. They can get any man of any race, especially if they are hot.

    So they don’t care that Razib is doing Cindy since they can always replace him with Hugo. But if Aishwarya defects how are Desi men going to be made whole? I know, we controlled Russian beauty standards thruout the cold war via Bollywood, and thats the real reason for non-alignment. But post-glasnost Russia has penetrated by other wood. So things are getting harder.

  29. “But post-glasnost Russia has penetrated by other wood. So things are getting harder.”

    just go to Dubai….plenty of Russian girls :)

  30. black women tend to get less response on dating sites from white men. why? Well not to nit pick, but according OKCupid (or plentyoffish, i can’t remember) they get less response from all men, even black men. There was actually a study done on this, and Nightline did a special on it (shame I can’t find the original source but I’m sure it’s there)..

    when you limit the sample to black women who are rated a 10 out of 10, and white women who are rated 10 out of 10, do white men still discriminate? probably, but the vast majority of the effect disappears I am not so sure it is that simple. While I agree that looks matter more to men than race, I have serious doubts that a white or any other man will usually choose an “attractive” black woman over an “average” white girl. Ethnicity/race is a huge factor in determining physical beauty, whether we want to admit it or not. For example, black women who are considered attractive by whites and blacks alike usually have features atypical of their race and resemble women who are mixed (longer hair, thinner nose, lighter skin, thinner body, smaller lips etc). Of course, context also matters, so it depends if we are looking at one night stands or long term relationships.

  31. i find this very ironic, because i’ve heard men complain a lot more about women dating out than women complaining about me. this has cropped up on this weblog too. but the tendencies are inverted. so why the griping? i assume because men have a sense of entitlement that these are “their women.”

    I’m not so sure about that either. In my experience the median woman dates more than the median man even if the average amounts of dates are similar. Throughout the animal kingdom the nature of being male is a high-risk/high-reward proposition so some guys get around a lot and some very little. So it is very plausible that the guys complaining will notice the phenomenon more often because of sour grapes about being on the shitty end of the bell curve.

  32. “Throughout the animal kingdom the nature of being male is a high-risk/high-reward proposition”

    Hypergamy…80% of women want 20% of the men…

  33. don’t focus on the OKCupid study. there are so many of these studies using different dating sites + behavioral economic experiments that you can pick them out of a height. the sex difference in race/culture consciousness is robust, unless there’s a conspiracy out there. the skepticism about selection bias is a valid point of course. anyway, need to put up my post visualizing demographic data soon….

      • That’s true this thread has been hijacked. What’s worse is that one of your valued contributor/ bloggers has done it. Surely that should not be allowed. Surely the “staff” at Sepia Mutiny should have enough sense not to hijack each other’s threads?

  34. And now another “valued” contributor has called me a loser and made a juvenile remark. Good job, guys, keep it up!

  35. I don’t think everyone agrees that kidpoker666 is a valid contributor all the time. I think SM’s policy of allowing free conversations contributes to a more lively blog. It would be awful if it was moderated and restricted further so that readers/contributors wouldn’t be able to have open, interesting, and free discussions by removing comments that diverged from the presented topic. Such actions get in the way of natural, organic conversations and frankly would be extremely limiting.

  36. Agree with Nandalal Nagalingam Rasia completely. Lets not recreate communal politics here – it is not a virtue, it is simply racism under a different mask.

  37. True, your comment was truly unnecessary and is serving in furthering what you pointed out. Now hush down and don’t be Captain (Obvious-ly Flaming) Hindsight . And kidpoker is indeed a valued contributer! For anytime an invalid observation needs to be made he is right there with his precisely off-target comments full of hinbonics and enough audition material to be the next sidekick on “The Pick Up Artist”

  38. I’m not up on all this newfangled lingo and hippity hop music. What is “hinbonics?”

  39. Wow so much hate today ;) :)

    Crack open a beer and put your feet up…relax…

  40. “That OKCupid study is flawed due to one hell of a biased sample problem”

    While I agree the study and its process is flawed, I am sure there is some truth to its findings because there are non-white, non-black women on OKCupid who don’t receive the lack of response that black women got (ie women who identified as Middle Eastern/Arab received very high response from white men, which surprised even the researchers)

  41. online dating is for the socially challenged – atleast here in the US. so when you have a self selected bunch of losers nothing abt their attitudes shld be surprising

  42. “atleast here in the US”

    Why just in the US swamy? Do you see a difference between Cupid and Shaadi?

  43. “online dating is for the socially challenged”

    I’m not sure this is true. While I have never participated in a site because I think they just don’t work (unless you just want a few one night stands), it certainly seems like a legitimate way to meet people…although I do suspect there are many people motivated by desperation nonetheless.

    and taz, sorry about going off on a tangent. I meant to address this earlier, but I have a few problems with your post. You say we have “to work even harder to counteract the negativity that is running loose in this country” but I think you are forgetting that racial attacks/injustices/other forms of white privilege are things which we cannot really control, besides spreading awareness. What’s worse than white people denying their white privilege is that many South Asians, I am sorry to say, do too. Though it is comforting to ignore/deny encounters with ‘racism’ (I put that in quotes, because in this modern day, it comes in subtle forms making it harder to recognize) it is harmful and with this attitude, very little progress can be made. Granted, many of us are protected by class privilege (usually only because our parents have it or we prosper in career fields that do not need white skin for advancement ie see medical), but the fact is, and I assure you, we are still not seen as equals. I think a lot of this might go unseen because generally South Asians surround themselves with other south Asians.

    However, we do have some power to change the problems within our community. Though very few of us are willing to admit, we come from a culture where domestic violence and child abuse is normalized and even encouraged (not saying this occurs frequently among 1st and 2nd gens, but I am certain it is something they witnessed through their parents’ relationship). Women are pressured to have careers, but also to get married and be mothers. This is detrimental, I have seen too many college (South Asian) girls who later achieved their ardent goal of getting married and pregnant, leaving them to throw away their education, be stay at home mothers and financially dependent on their husbands. Of course there are plenty of South Asian women who don’t care for these things and I have so much respect for them.

  44. “You say we have “to work even harder to counteract the negativity that is running loose in this country” but I think you are forgetting that racial attacks/injustices/other forms of white privilege are things which we cannot really control, besides spreading awareness.”

    I’m not forgetting – I simply disagree. I do not believe that white privilege is something that cannot really be controlled. I do believe that we can change it – because white privilege is a part of systematic oppression and a system of whiteness that is built into how laws are created, policies developed, and the rules of this nation are lived by. Systems can be changed. South Asians weren’t considered “citizens” in the US until the signing of the Luce-Cellar Act. That is a form of “injustice” against South Asians and how we were able to counteract it with legislation. I am a firm believer in in changing public policy whether with pushing legislation, advocating perspectives to policy makers or lawyering up to change the laws that are in place. It’s the fact that systematic unfairness exists that leads to higher rates of risks of cervical cancer for Desi women than white women or a higher chance of being the victim of a hate crime – to me that is not something I’m willing to simply “bring awareness” to and step away and just say “oh that white privilege, again.” I’m going to change the larger system. And that I can control, through the work that I do and have been doing. I’m not “forgetting” – I just completely disagree.

    As for @Nandala – I get it – you don’t have the Desi class privilege. My mother is Teamster who worked in an airport parking lot just to make sure our family had health insurance as my dad bounced job to job until he landed at Home Depot which is where he’s at now. I have two unemployed sisters. I’m unemployed. There are a large amount of Desis that come from situations way worse then me. And you know what, I’m still going to try to do work to serve the community because I want to make sure my family has access to fairness AND that my community of brown people have access to fairness. Because frankly, they have too much on their plate just trying to survive and I know that if I organize, I can help change the system. As for this you got here with your bootstraps and you can make on your own narrative and you don’t need no one else – actually – there are two key pieces of legislation that got you here – one is the Luce Cellar Act mentioned above, and the other is the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 – one gave you the right to be considered a citizen, and the other let your people immigrate to this country. And there were organized communities that made sure those acts happened. So don’t think you made it here with your bootstraps when there’s a whole HISTORY that brought you and made you before you became you.

    As for “we” – you and me, we are a we, even if you don’t want us to be “we” -ed – because we live in a racialized society that boxes people by race. Whether you like it or not. And “we” have common issues affecting “our” community, whether you like it or not. Though there are probably a great number of statistics out there that can show the clear disparities between “we” and “them”. So how about we just get over it, work to break the disparities that do exist, so that we can do away with the “we” completely?

    • Well said Taz and thank you for bringing the thread back to the issue at hand. You are of course absolutely correct in what you have said.

      It is somewhat unfortunate that several people came out in support of the thread hijackers but noone supported Taz, who has been a long and truly valued contributor to this blog. Taz was also making a far deeper point of substance compared to the inane banter about dating sites.

      I hope this thread stays on track now.

    • you’re missing the point. I don’t subscribe to bootstraps theory but more what YogaFire mentioned above–whatever interest group and organizing functions that were possible before are impossible now because everyone and their entitled mother is doing it. And don’t tell me Ted Kennedy waking up in a Chilean brothel and thinking “eureka! we need more human capital!” is the result of activism. We would have made it here with or without him or any community organizers–just like mom made it out of Colombo in ’83 six-months pregnant, without the sanction of the state or any formal community organizers. What I owe is fealty and that is to my family and our cultivated networks–that’s no ideology I can think of.

      I don’t understand this need for progressives to continually kowtow to the ghosts of organization and political struggles past–especially as what happened and how is continually changed by historical research.

      • Well, actually you did subscribe to the bootstraps theory – that was what your comments have talked about. Only now have you mentioned your belief in the YogaFire theory. A convenient switch to win the argument? Come on, surely you can do better than that.

        In addition, if anyone is missing the point here, it is you, my friend, you are just too blind to see it.

  45. Holy cow I have a theory now?

    Awesome! Can I get it published?

    I think you’re misunderstanding Nagalingam’s point though Well, actually. He wasn’t talking about pulling himself up by bootstraps. He was talking about how minority group political activists claim to speak for the whole group while only representing the interests of a subset of it. Razib mentioned something similar in a separate thread about regionalism when he mentioned how growing up in the US makes brown people think that what their grandparents did = what “we” do.

    • Are you all the same person or something? Yogafire=Razib=Nandalal?

      Good job there by you, Yogafire of claiming that I have misunderstood Nandalals’ point by again switching it to something that he himself has not even mentioned. Anyone who reads this thread will quickly discover who is missing the point, and it ain’t me.

      Seriously, just because most people are too lazy to read the previous comments and figure it out doesn’t mean we all are.

  46. Taz, I’m curious. Which way would you personally prefer to see South Asians vote? Repub? Dem? Green? Independent? Libertarian?