The once and future “Brown Pundits”

CountryUsersRank%Rank
 China746,662,194153.20%109
 India391,292,631229.55%143
 United States245,436,423376.18%54
 Brazil123,927,230459.68%90
 Japan117,528,631592.00%15
 Russia110,003,284676.41%53

The “Brown Pundits” blog was formed on a lark about 7 years ago. The Sepia Munity weblog was clearly winding down, and people like Zach and I didn’t feel too well represented. What I mean is that weblog in its latter years reflected a certain activist Left-wing South Asian American perspective which naturally didn’t include all Diaspora South Asians. In some ways this was a shift away from its original years, when it was more politically eclectic, with some center-Right and libertarian voices, to go along with conventional center-Left viewpoints.

Two of the co-founders I knew personally before the blog was founded, and we had a small e-list where we discussed cultural and social issues. To a great extent, I think the Sepia Mutiny blog reflected a decade in transition for South Asian brown Americans. Most of the contributors were of an age where they would be routinely asked where “they were really from,” and all of us understood that we were seen to be a novel and exotic contribution to the American landscape.

Things have changed a lot since then. Most particularly in 2008, Barack Hussein Obama was elected president of the United States. Where black Americans rejoined in the election of a black man, I suspect many Americans of Asian background noted his exotic background and name. If a man with such a foreign name could become head of state of the United States could we be such aliens after all?

I do understand that some people feel that the election of Donald J. Trump has rendered us aliens in our own land again. Overall, I disagree. In a Spenglerian sense, I see the election of Trump as a crying in the wilderness of an old America which is feeling less at the center of our culture, as well as the more general atavisms triggered by globalization.

South Asian Americans, which mostly means Indian Americans, have a place and a role in American culture that can’t be denied. Most Indian Americans have followed a “Jewish model”, aligning with the political and social Left, especially a small activist class.

A framework to understand the trajectory of young 2nd and later generation South Asian Americans that I outlined over 10 years ago I think is a useful model. Roughly, there are three broad classes of South Asian Americans (with overlap):

  • Assimilators. Unlike some groups, South Asian Americans are physically distinct enough that assimilation doesn’t involve “passing” into another identity. Rather, assimilation involves intermarriage and socialization with a broad set of Americans and a very loose attachment to distinctively South Asian cultural markers ad community institutions. Most of the children of assimilators will be mixed, and so will not have a singular South Asian identity in an authentic way.
  • South Asian Americans. This group is perhaps equivalent to Indian identities in the West Indies, which have become distinct from Old World self-conceptions while retaining a sense of South Asianness. In some ways, I think this was a core group for the Sepia Mutiny blog. These are the sort of people who might marry other Indian Americans, but these marriages are often cross-regional, cross-caste, and even cross-religion. To give a concrete example, I know that two of the original Sepia Mutiny bloggers married and had children with someone whose family was from a different ethnoreligious tradition from their own. The sort of marriage which would raise eyebrows in South Asia, but wouldn’t be viewed that strange in the American context.
  • Finally, traditionalists. There are American-born and raised Patels who marry other Patels. There are Dawoodi Bohra Muslims who marry other Dawoodi Bohra Muslims. This group would be most recognizable to people from South Asia.

But to me, that’s the past. I think it’s done. I don’t see Brown Pundits contributing to that discussion or cultural space, for various reasons (the primary one being most that none of the contributors are of the second class). Rather, I’ve started to get interested in Brown Pundits in large part because it seems that Asia, including South Asia, is getting to be a bigger and bigger part of the discussion. There are now more Indians browsing the internet than Americans!

Yes, it’s mostly on mobile phones, but most Americans were on dial-up until the mid-2000s.

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87 Replies to “The once and future “Brown Pundits””

    1. Yes but I have reflected on this. I’m cusp in the sense I spent lots of time in the Old Country growing up but also moved to Britain at a time when I could also partake in a British Asian identity.

      I would also correct that Indians in India have dramatically Westernised. Inter caste marriage is booming where even “arranged marriages” cut through caste lines (and becoming more about class).

      In the new Ocean 8 trailer Mindy Kaling’s onscreen mother asks her in Hindi when is she getting married. We have officially arrived!

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      1. +108

        Very insightful Zack.

        I have learned a lot from BP. Including that caste is still a “thing” for Hindus. Caste doesn’t seem to matter in Indian business, Indian tech and in the many Hindu-ish spiritual communities that I have observed. Spiritual people are very rare in the world. They are a caste above Brahmins that are revered by the east. Few in the East will not bow before a great Sufi master or Shinto master or great Christian saint.

        Caste still matters of course. But caste in the traditional sense of Varna. Varna refers to the qualities, temperament and vocation of a person. Caste and class are the same thing, it seems to me.

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        1. Social Class and caste are very different. You can be a rich OBC or a poor Brahmin. The Brahmin still has “Brahmin privilege”.

          Just read Sujatha Gidla on her family’s experience of being educated “untouchables”. It’s a harrowing book.

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          1. Kabir, how representative is Sujatha Gidla’s experience?

            A spiritual untouchable can become a Brahmin if they want. There is a procedure. Most untouchables/Dalits/Harijans choose not to be Brahmin, which is their right.

            Even very orthodox Hindu organizations will convert someone into a Brahmin if they are spiritual enough. Although I don’t see why someone needs to become a Brahmin. It is hard to pray daily and maintain a disciplined practice.

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  1. Razib, as you say, bloggers on the now-defunct Sepia Mutiny were generally of the leftist persuasion, but the comments section had a far more diverse set of opinions, including, of course, yours. I often used to hang out on the site to follow your comments (often more insightful than the blog post/article) and you are the only former Mutineer whose writings I have kept up with.

    I’m also in a different demographic than the folks you listed. I followed Sepia Mutiny through most of the 2000s, as I spent that entire decade as a foreign graduate student (and later worker for a brief period) in the US. I moved back to India, so I’m now one of this blog’s “Indian” readers. I’d imagine many, if not most, of your Indian readers, have spent some time in the West like I did. (As an aside, when I was in America, I considered myself fairly “assimilated”, though I formally remained an Indian, or as we call it, an NRI.)

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    1. Yes Indians are an order of magnitude to belong to an “assimilator” class than Pakistanis.

      Even secular Persians will still actively hold on to their culture even if their religion is meaningless to them..

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      1. Agree about Indians vs Pakistanis; could that be because of the anti-Muslim sentiment that’s been increasing since 9/11? If people are defensive and insecure, that may make them hold on more tightly to the culture they know. Hinduism was also considered weird (and maybe dangerous) in the West once (our British colonizers considered Islam to be more familiar and preferable to Hinduism), but that isn’t so any more.

        Regarding Persians, the ones I was familiar with (in Southern California, especially around the UCLA area, where you’ll see few blocks of stores with Farsi signs) seemed pretty Westernized. If I didn’t know they were Persians, I’d have thought of them as generic white Americans. I guess many of the folks in that area are descended from the refugees of the Iranian revolution (partisans of the Shah), so maybe they consciously try to fit in to America.

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        1. most american persians are secular. something like 30% are from religious/ethnic minorities (bahai, zoroastrian, jewish, christian armenian). there have been surveys. and yeah, it’s cuz of the migration after the fall of the shah.

          (iranians in sweden also assimilate well because they are secular; in contrast to more recent muslim refugee groups)

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          1. Yes London now has a lot of Muslim migrants from other European countries (Somalis from Netherlands, Iranians from Sweden).

            Even the Scandi-Iranians (second generation) in London hang out with the Persian rather than Scandi crowd; this is observational.

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        2. Around the millennium a lot of Iranian started emigrating to the West (especially Britain) and they have made England a significant centre of Iranian Diaspora life; especially eclipsing France as the European centre.

          What is interesting for these arrivals (now long settled) while religion is not important their culture is paramount.

          The Iranian American community is much more Shahi but it also isn’t as dominant in diaspora discourse as it once was. The Shahis are definitely marginalised..

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          1. well, let’s see how much they retain their culture in 10-15 years. not sure it’s comparable to the american group since that’s an older community.

            similarly in britain bangladeshis are mostly immigrant. pakistanis not. i bet in a generation sans migration bangladeshis would be more assimilated/integrated than pakistanis, but they are not now because they are mostly immigrant.

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          2. I’m from London too, with an Iranian father that came here in the 1970s. Originally came for university with the intention of going back to Iran, but stayed in UK because of the revolution and Iran-Iraq war. My perception is that crowd that came to the UK in the 1970s and 80s has not been that good in passing their culture down to their children, and I would estimate half (or more than half) of Iranians that came in that period married non-Iranians. This applies to Iranian immigrants from all social classes.

            I’ve definitely noticed a big increase in the Iranian population here, and some neighbourhoods are becoming very Iranian (e.g. Finchley, Barnet) and they tend to be different. Almost all of them are married to Iranians (unlike my dad’s generation), they all seem to speak Persian with their children and also move to neighbourhoods with a lot of other Iranians. For a long time there was no real neighbourhood that Iranians could meet, because Iranians that came in the 70s and 80s never stuck together, and just lived everywhere. I’m seeing positive changes in the Iranian community of London for the better because of the newer arrivals 🙂

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        3. Three defining geopolitical moments in my life:

          Gulf Invasion 1 (had to leave Kuwait)

          9-11 (before we were Asian afterward Muslims became under intense focus)

          Market Big Bang 2008/2009 (career shift)

          In the evolution of Muslim political consciousness:

          Satanic Verses (India & Britain)
          & 9-11

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          1. I can’t reply to the comment you left me, so I’ll reply here.

            Parts of north London like Finchley feel very much like Iranian neighbourhoods now, and most of the new shops that open up on the high street are Iranian-owned. Everywhere you go people are speaking Persian, it’s awesome. The quality of Iranian restaurants is still not that great, though.

            I am half Chinese from Hong Kong. I don’t speak Persian but I do understand a lot of it – I grew up with Persian always being spoken around me, but I was never directly spoken to in Persian.

            I think I’ve heard of K-von. Interesting.

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      2. Even secular Persians will still actively hold on to their culture even if their religion is meaningless to them…

        what do you base this on? i don’t think persian americans are any more or less inclined to assimilate than indian americans. perhaps a little more, though their concentration in greater LA allows them to maintain some cohesion. but a lot of persian americans are jewish and intermarry with other american jews.

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        1. I should have caveated with what I see in Britain ..

          I think Persian Jews and Christians have a somewhat different ethnos to the other three Yazdis, Muslims (secular & non secular) & Bahais (who of course like the Jews will marry co-religionists over compatriots).

          Also re Persians Jews I would imagine that a significant part of their marriage patterns depends on their observance and attachment to Judaism; I know lots of mixed Persian Jewish-non Persian Jewish couples & children..

          But I have also noticed a dramatic shift in the diaspora discourse where in the 90’s there was this huge rage against anything Muslim/Islamic (ditch the Arab alphabet). In the new millennia that seems to have completely subsided and I’ve seen atheist Persians actively defend Iran’s Muslim heritage.

          It is difficult to quantify this shift since this is observational but also Iranian-Americans are not the only important Diaspora voice anymore.

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    2. one thing that the principals struggled with at SM over time is that the % of foreign-born and india-based comments kept increasing, and the cultural differences were pretty huge. sometimes it was illuminating, but a lot of times it would just cause confusion and conflict.

      by the end, those devoting most of their time to the blog were more leftist, as even the moderate-left voices were busy with their “real life.” i don’t think it was really reflective of even brown americans by that point.

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    3. I used to read Sepia Mutiny as well and comment sometimes. But I am a South-Asian American. Though I have lived in Pakistan, I would primarily consider myself to be an American, however much attached I am to Pakistani culture. Also, I am definitely center-left on the US political spectrum.

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    4. @Numinous

      I spent the latter part of the 2000s as a foreign grad student (in the UK) too, but I have no idea what Sepia Mutiny is/was. Maybe I have been living under a rock or maybe it was too much of an American thing.

      In fact I heard the term for the first time being mentioned on this blog!

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      1. During those days there used to be one south Asian blog originating in U. K. called Pickled Politics (seriously). It used to be equally interesting and there would be some cross posting with Sepia Mutiny. I think emergence of other social media like Face Book and even smart phones with texting slowed the traffic on the blogs eventually leading some to close down.

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        1. i used to comment there now and then. sunny hundal would ‘crossover’ to SM now and then.

          (often i would be asked to weigh in on genetic stuff)

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  2. I don’t think there’s much value in ‘South Asian’ as a grouping for the diaspora anymore, since it’s a sub-continent we’re talking about and there’s large differences in how Indian-descended folk behave from say Pak-descended or Bangladesh-descended folk, at least here in the UK (I’m not sure about the US). In the midlands town that I live in, these differences are large enough that I see that even non-south Asians can perceive it at a group-average level (of course not at an individual level).

    I find the Pak-British diaspora folk to be frankly quite culturally insular and disappointing. The Indian-Brit folk aren’t much better in my opinion, expect that they’ve managed to work up the economic ladder a fair bit. The second and third gen Indian-Brits also outmarry quite a bit more, while the Pak-Brit I notice still ‘import’ their partners from back home to a large extent.

    Meanwhile the youth culture in India is changing quite a bit – there’s a noticeable class of folk in the cities (my age-cohort, especially in the south) who are extremely global in outlook and subscribe to American SJW-memes to a large extent. In the long run, I’m fairly confident that this lot will be able to bring about widespread social change – this is a group that volunteers at remote communities, etc.

    https://scroll.in/magazine/867130/indo-anglians-the-newest-and-fastest-growing-caste-in-india

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    1. who are extremely global in outlook and subscribe to American SJW-memes to a large extent. In the long run, I’m fairly confident that this lot will be able to bring about widespread social change

      They are the vanguard of Westernization in India. However, the extent of social change they can actually bring about is far from certain at this point. Too much going on in a very large and messy place.

      Indian diasporas in the US and UK (and increasingly Australia etc) are clustered around communities that generally inter-marry and inter-dine. Few outliers and probably there will be more diffusion in the future, but right now the distribution is clearly multi-modal (in stat speak).

      In fact I’m off to Boston in 3 weeks to attend a mixed Hindu-Christian wedding – my wife’s cousin marrying a Keralite Syrian Christian – with very little/no fuss on either side (all born and bred Americans). Just about possible in India too, but not as smoothly I’d imagine.

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    2. Some of us still prefer to identify as “South Asian” in certain contexts rather than Pakistani (which in practice mainly means Muslim). See this blog for example:

      https://thesouthasianidea.wordpress.com/

      Hindustani Classical Music and Urdu-Hindi certainly transcend the borders of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Both my music teachers growing up in the US were Bengali, from Calcutta and Dhaka. Also I think brown people face some common problems so “South Asian” still makes sense as a grouping, at least to me.

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      1. Yes I agree that there are large cultural continuities – but it’s too vague a term for a region that’s no longer a backwater in the world’s consciousness. No one really groups all the European countries under one umbrella, do they?

        Whatever the ground realities may be, ‘Indian’ is definitely a positive global brand though – borne out by all the Indian restaurants that are run by Bangladeshis and Pakistanis 🙂

        Peace

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          1. My experience in the US (even after 9/11) was that a lot of people didn’t know where Pakistan was. Someone even said “Isn’t that part of India?” And I was like “Ummm, you’ve just missed the last 70 years”.

            Those who did know wanted to then talk about the Taliban (AfPak) and all. When people asked if I was Indian and I said yes (not a lie because two of my grandparents were from today’s India) they told me how much they liked “Slumdog Millionaire”. I much preferred having a discussion about Bollywood to having a discussion about the Taliban.

            But I don’t tell people I’m from Delhi. If asked specific questions, I say that my parents grew up in Lahore.

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        1. Well, a lot of people identify as “European” and I don’t think anyone would call Europe a backwater. On further conversation, people will tell you they are French or Italian or whatever, but generally they feel European as well. That’s what the EU is supposed to be about.

          I look at “South Asian” in the same way.

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  3. Anecdotally, on whether “South Asian” is a thing at all, I think it IS because of common food, music, movies, language etc (we share grocery stores if nothing else), but the religious divide is real too. So actual interaction varies.
    btw, I have at least two close friends who are married to Indian Hindu girls..in one case the girl converted to Islam (but both are pretty “secular”, so I am not sure how much it matters), the other girl did not (you can say that in this case my friend has more or less converted to Hinduism; though a hafiz of the Quran (someone who memorized the whole Quran) he was pretty irreligious and has become more so with time, so the conversion is all about theory, no religion being practiced; incidentally he claims that Hafiz e Quran have a higher proportion of secret atheists than the general Muslim population, Allah u alam as they say 🙂 ). In this case the girl’s family were more worried about her marrying a Pakistani Muslim, but eventually relented when their pandit did her astrological chart and said she would be happier with him, so best to let it happen. I don’t think the pandit was paid off 🙂

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    1. Very interesting Omar. There are many cases similar to these.

      A large percentage of Indian muslims are Sufi or Shia. Do you find a large religious divide here too? Many Sufis and Shia seem to go to Yoga studios and are part of Hindu/Buddhist spiritual communities. Many Hindus love to visit Sufi shrines and get the blessings of Sufi masters.

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  4. The very possibility of anything other than ‘assimilation’ for Indians in America was contingent on the social and economic order in India remaining static. Marriage within the same community was critical to resisting assimilation, and there was a large pool of wannabe NRI brides/grooms back in the pind you could hitch your American born kids too.

    But the situation is changing quite rapidly, driven principally by lower fertility (do you really want your only son/daughter to live 10,000 miles away for the rest of their lives ?) and the entry of women into the formal workforce (up from 12% in 1990 to nearly 25% today).

    These changes are dramatically altering old social contracts, especially regarding parental care responsibilities. A substantial proportion of divorce cases in India stem from disagreements about living arrangements (she doesnt want to live with my parents) and parental care (she wont take care of my parents).

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    1. Yes I always tell Vidhi the best joint family structure is where the boy moves into his in laws instead of vice versa.

      Abortion rates of girls would plummet 🙁

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      1. +108.

        Vidhi appears to be very wise. You are incredibly lucky. [I mean how did you pull it off? 🙂 :LOL: ] Maybe one day she will share her peerless wisdom with us lowly mortals at BP.

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        1. Yes I’m going to organise a BP UK Meetup; we may have a very esteemed commentator/contributor moving to these islands come September..

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      2. Boys moving into their in-laws houses are called “ghar damads” at least in Pakistan and looked down on. You are supposed to take someone’s daughter and have her live in your or your parents’ house. That’s why there is a “ruksati” or a “bidaai”. The husband is not supposed to become an additional economic liability on the bride’s parents. That kind of defeats the purpose of getting your daughter settled in a good home.

        The parents’ home belongs to the sons and their wives. The married daughter can visit her “maika” but if she hangs around too long the bhabis (who now own the home) become quite upset.

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          1. Even in Pakistan, there are lots of girls (of a certain social class) who refuse to live in the future husband’s family home. But that doesn’t mean the boy becomes a ghar damad. It means the couple gets a place of their own.

            The cultural idea that a married woman belongs to her husband’s family and not her natal family is very strong. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

            Also, if you look at it from an economic perspective, daughters are considered a liability whom you try to sell to the highest bidder through marriage. Sons are assets who will actually reproduce your family line. Your daughter will be producing children for her husband’s family line. Sexist but that’s how South Asians think.

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          2. Kabir, I think Zack is talking about a rich son-in-law with lots of money who works a lot. Staying at the in-laws have big advantages if the in-laws have a giant empty home. Son-in-law can take care of his in-law parents. And the in-law parents can help raise their grandkids. This lets the son-in-law work insane hours for insanely high wages. Desis love to save a lot and invest money. Many Desis become very rich this way.

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          3. Anan,
            At least in Pakistan, even if the son-in-law is rich, he is supposed to go take the girl to live with his parents. “Ghar Damad” means a man who marries a woman basically for her (or her parents’) economic assets.

            The idea is that you take the girl and she becomes part of your family and then you support her. No one wants the son-in-law to become their responsibility. Then you are still stuck with your daughter and now her additional liabilities. Yes, this is patriarchal but its how Pakistan (and I believe North India) works.

            People want to get rid of their daughters. Daughters are considered guests in their father’s house until they can be married off successfully.

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      3. This is indeed the case in Meghalaya. For example, Mukul Sangma’s daughter Miani Shira, who just won an Assembly seat carries her mother’s last name.

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  5. Cyrus, please stick around and share your wisdom at BP. You have the most beautiful name. I love me some Cyrus the Great!

    I love the way Iranians value their Aryan heritage and history!

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    1. Thank you. I will try to keep myself updated with new articles! Although I’m not South Asian, I find South Asia very interesting.

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      1. Cyrus, Iranians and South Asians are from the same family! Same language family. Same ancient pre Islamic philosophy. Over time I think this will become more obvious.

        Afghanistan is still a Farsi country (they just call it Dari). Pakistan, India and Bangladesh were Farsi country until the English. Farsi for centuries was the language of business, legal documents, court cases, elites and culture. High culture it was.

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  6. Razib, very nice post. It summarizes many of my thoughts and perspectives that haven’t before been articulated or consciously acknowledged.

    “In a Spenglerian sense, I see the election of Trump as a crying in the wilderness of an old America which is feeling less at the center of our culture, as well as the more general atavisms triggered by globalization.”
    I saw the 2016 Trump phenonenon (versus the much more rational president he has evolved into) as hard to define. 2016 Trump was heavily post modernist. A critic of globalization, a critic of global business (increasingly dominated by foreigners), a critic of the global rich (who are increasingly foreign). A critic of Wall Street (increasingly influenced foreigners and increasingly a global financial system versus an American one). A critic of capital mobility, trade mobility and cross border product development collaboration. Trump was also a revolt by poor male Americans who hasn’t attended college who were tired of uppity college educated Americans being condescending, patronizing and pretentious towards them; and a revolt against political correctness. Trump has always overtly been pro Asian and was never a threat to Asians except to the degree that Trump was anti capitalist.

    ++++++++++++

    “Most Indian Americans have followed a “Jewish model”, aligning with the political and social Left, especially a small activist class.”
    Is there a data set on this? Most affluent Desis appear to support both democrats and republicans; donate to both and want their pictures taken with both. Desis love to be super loyal partisan democrats, partisan republicans, and partisan “whoever you want me to support” all at once. And all authentically and simultaneously. Heck I kind of feel like this too.

    In 1992 Asian Americans were more strongly republican than caucasions. Since then Asian Americans have evolved into a swing voter group. In 2014, Asian Americans voted 50% to 49% in favor of Republicans. 2016 is probably a one time deviation related to Trump.

    Are Desis split down the middle on politics similar to Asian Americans as a whole?

    Is there a difference between business Desis versus tech Desis versus academic Desis versus activist Desis? I know some activist Desis and they all have a common question. Why are most Desis not interested in activism. My explanation is that Desis are deeply into powerful and influential business associations and business lobbies. But they say this isn’t what they mean by activism.

    I should add that Desis are taking a larger role in global charity and nonprofits. And this is very good 🙂

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Love your three broad classes of South Asian Americans and your analysis of them. Is there now a forth class? The “cosmopolitan globalist”? When I read books about various religions or meet spiritualists from many religions I feel like I belong to all of them. When I read books about various countries I feel like I belong to all of them. When I read about history, I feel connected to many eras of the past as well as the present as well as what can evolve out of a present. Is it accurate to say that more and more people around the world think in global terms?

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    1. 1) asian americans have gone left since 1992. indian americans most democrat of call. just google pew asian americans. you’ll see the data.

      2) i think global cosmopolitan is definitely a fourth class. tbh i’m probably starting to shift away from #1 to #4 ever so slightly.

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      1. Razib the 2014 exit polls are:
        https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/04/us/politics/2014-exit-polls.html
        Asians went for Republicans 51% to 49%. Since 2014 the Asian American vote went much more strongly democrat. Part of this is that Trump did poorly with college educated voters and the upper middle class. [A larger percentage of Asian Americans are college educated and the upper middle class (two separate groups with a lot of overlap) than is the case for caucasions]. Of course if the democrats can steal the college educated and upper middle class voter from the Republican party the way they did in 2016, all bets are off. {For non American readers; until 1992 Republicans did very well among college educated and upper middle class voters and very poorly among poor and less educated voters. George W Bush was the first Republican in modern history whose base included high school dropouts. Trump overwhelmingly won the high school dropout vote. The switch of poor voters to the Republicans and upper middle class voters to Democrats is extraordinary.}

        I believe you might be right about Desis being more supportive of Democrats than Asian Americans in general. Is there more data on this?

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          1. Very interesting article Razib. Is part of the reason that Indian Americans support Democrats because they are the richest and highest income group in America and they think Democrats can do a better job protecting rich Indian Americans from a less affluent people riot? Do you think that this is also why Jewish Americans support Democrats? Could part of the reason be the perception that the upper middle class, “smart people”, and graduates from first and second tier universities tend to vote democrat?

            My own anecdotal observation is that many Indians donate a lot of money to both Democrats and Republicans. At Democratic fundraisers Indian Americans often talk about what Republicans offer them and ask what Democrats offer. And Democratic politicians try to answer the question and present themselves as more pro business and pro entrepreneurial than Republicans . . . perfect message for Indian Americans.

            I also get the sense that many people think Republicans are less educated, less sophisticated, not as intelligent and not as successful. I don’t fully agree with this perception by the way.

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          2. If the Republican candidate wants all “Brown” people kicked out of the country, I doubt a lot of “Desis” are going to vote for him. There were some. There was a guy who, for his own reasons, was spearheading “Muslims for Trump” (He was Pakistani, I am ashamed to say).

            But it’s obvious most South Asians went for Mrs. Clinton.

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  7. the fact that indian americans are professional class is a reason they lean dem.

    but i’ve analyzed data as far back as 2008. republican asian americans tend to be christian. indian americans are the least christian of the various asian groups aside from pakistanis.

    basically as a generality you can be white and non-christian. or christian and non-white. but to be both and on the right is rare (there are some, including me).

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    1. Razib, a ton of Hindu Americans are on the right. Most right of center Hindu Americans are probably conservative Democrats or independents. Their being on the right or left has almost nothing to do with party affiliation. Many of them say “Democrat” for virtue signaling only.

      Indian Americans and Jewish Americans are hugely over represented in Republican fundraising. No doubt many of these Indian Americans and Jews are Democrats.

      Think of it like this; most of the businesses attacked in America are owned by Asians or Latinos. Indian American business owners will claim to support whatever party they think can protect them from rioters.

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      1. the indian american community is mostly immigrant. these people are mostly socially conservative.

        their children are not.

        i know all the stuff about some indian and jewish oligarchs donating republican. i’m a republican! (though not an oligarch) they are a small minority. the “brahmin” professional classes, which includes doctors, have been trending left for decades. indian americans are joining that march.

        indian americans are now the most democrat leaning asian american group. that’s a fact. i’m not saying all of them are. a minority remain republican. that’s also a fact.

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          1. I’m a Never-Republican Democrat. Though I really didn’t like Mrs. Clinton and would have voted for Bernie. If I were not a DC resident, I would have probably held my nose and voted for Mrs. Clinton.

            Serious question: How do you square being Republican with your atheism? This is a party dominated by Evangelical Christianity and Christian Zionism. These are some weird people you are associating yourself with. The days of the sane “Eisenhower Republican” seem to be over. Eisenhower Republicans are now conservative Democrats.

            Or is it that you are more of a Libertarian and hence don’t identify with the Democratic Party?

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  8. How do you square being Republican with your atheism? This is a party dominated by Evangelical Christianity and Christian Zionism.

    trump is an atheist. and the intellectual elites of the Right aren’t intolerant of my atheism at all (many of them are atheist). the cultural ascendancy of the Christian Right is far less than it was 10 years ago.

    i know, because i move in elite right-wing circles.

    i can write for *national review* whenever i want to:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/03/book-review-david-reich-human-genes-reveal-history/

    and am friendly with many right-wing intellectuals who follow my opinions.

    in contrast, the left tries to get me fired, accuses me of being a white supremacist, and left-wing journalists who see me RTed into their timelines send angry messages to people who do this (i know because these people tell me so privately).

    i’m a never-democrat because the left will hunt someone like me and destitute my family if they could. in contrast, the right is relatively welcoming. it’s all as simple as that. there are two teams. pick one. my decision was made for me a long time ago. i stand with those who stand for me, and against those who stand against me.

    i allow other people to make whatever they choice they think aligns with their interests. at the end of the day it’s all about power, and you need to stand with the side less likely to hang you from a rope.

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    1. That’s cool. I’m not judging you (I would if you had voted for Trump). I’m sure there are some sensible Republicans out there. But from what I read, it seems the party does not like brown people, immigrants, Muslims (or people they perceive to be Muslims), non-straight people or even particularly women. “Make America Great Again” is a very scary slogan in some ways. But whatever, you decide who you want to hang with. Vice President Pence freaks me out and the current occupant of the White House is a horror show. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were still kind of reasonable human beings.

      As a non-straight “Muslim” “Pakistani” Humanities major, I think the Republican Party hates me and all that I stand for. Mr T. wants my family to not be able to get visas to come to the US. The Democrats have issues too, but they are not overtly racist. So I guess in some sense the choice was made for me long ago as well.

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    2. Many self proclaimed hard leftists I know sound to the right of you (Razib Khan). Many young SJWs I know love them some John Stossel. Most self described leftist that I have observed celebrated the recently passed tax cuts. Virtue signaling might be at an all time high.

      Thanks very much for the polling results. I had not seen them before.

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  9. and yes, i’m more libertarian. but it’s not about ideology.

    the left/democrats have a very established track record of trying to destitute my family through making me unemployable. i’m voting right-wing forever. and when sulla comes, i’ll hope to avoid his proscriptions and not shed tears for my enemies 🙂

    the marxists have won me over. it’s all about power.

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    1. Why would the left want to destitute you? What exactly have you done to them?

      And what is “the left”. The Democratic Party is hardly “left”. To me, “left” is someone like Jill Stein.

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      1. >Why would the left want to destitute you? What exactly have you done to them?

        Previous association with the HBD community, I think. I’m not going to say that Razib is a racist like that community was, but the only reason I’m on this blog right now is because I followed a bunch of links posted by neo-Nazis and eventually came across Razib’s name.

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        1. Mr, why is HBD racist? Shouldn’t geneticists be free to research and publish their results? Isn’t more data good? Everyone is free to interpret data as they choose but how is this connected to data. How can data be racist?

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          1. It’s not about the data, it’s the fact that a lot of HBD blogs are run by reactionaries and White supremacists who use whatever data is out there to make their own descriptive claims and push their own agenda, all under the guise of asking questions in the name of science.
            In fact, they’re so inter-connected, that HBD and Razib Khan are mentioned as key components of the ‘Dark Enlightenment’ movement.

            https://hbdchick.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/darkenlightenment1.png
            http://neoreactionarymap.blogspot.com/

            There you see HBD proponents sitting alongside White supremacists like Vox Day and American Renaissance. Also a plethora of neo-reactionaries and monarchists and flat out Nazis.

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          1. It’s hard to miss them with all the dog whistling they do on Twitter. Things like the Sam Harris/Ezra Klein debate pretty much bring them out of the woodwork. A genuine attempt to try to understand their arguments on race realism landed me in their blogs, which of course led me to the HBD community.

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  10. Kabir, you have a good heart and are very intelligent. You are still naive in some ways . . . but the school of hard knocks will quickly take care of it. [I am trying very hard to be as respectful as I can.]

    Maajid Nawaz speaks of the triple threat all of us confront:
    1) Islamists
    2) Hard ethno-nationalist identitarian right
    3) Regressive left (what I call post modernism)

    While all of us are deeply threatened by all three, right now:
    -Islamists focus primarily on attacking reasonable muslims (such as you)
    -The hard ethno-nationalist identitarian right focuses primarily on attacking reasonable conservatives such as Ben Shapiro (the largest target of the alt-right over the past 3 years . . . I love me some Ben Shapiro!)
    -Post modernists focus primarily on attacking the reasonable left

    Almost every democrat, liberal and reasonable leftist that I know of are terrified of being destroyed by post modernists. So is every PhD or PhD student that I know of in economics, neuroscience and genetics.

    Many very good reasonable leftists have had their lives destroyed by post modernists. Just see what the Southern Poverty Law Center [an Alabama based post modernist anti muslim hate group] tried to do with Maajid Nawaz–one of the most popular and respected muslim leaders in the world.

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    1. Thanks. I am not naive. I have read enough and been educated enough to have formed left-of-center views in the US context. Most Humanities people are left-of-center.

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  11. Left of center is fine. It is certain post modernist assumptions and illogical thinking processes that are problematic:
    -assumption that people are not potentially very powerful
    -assumption that people are not potentially very wise
    -assumption of where power comes from and what power is
    -assumption that individuals are not sovereign and not entitled to freedom of art, speech, thought, intuition, feeling and action

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      1. It would take a lengthy article to explain my views on Foucault and how his understanding of power are deeply incomplete and misleading. There are many levels and nuances to power. Foucault partly describes the least important parts of power.

        In general I think we can try to hurt others. That doesn’t mean we can. Even if we are very rich and powerful and privileged. Even seemingly marginalized “weak” people can be incredibly wise and powerful. Even the seemingly “weakest” and most “oppressed” person in the world can transform the world for the better.

        I also believe that we generally hurt ourselves worse than whoever we try to hurt. We almost always hurt ourselves whenever we try to hurt others (which means oppression is practice is almost impossible). In many cases we inadvertently help those we try to hurt. And we often hurt those we try to help.

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        1. If it comes to trusting you or trusting Michel Foucault, one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century, I would pick Michel Foucault every time. He published books and frankly has a lot more credibility than anonymous contributors on a blog. People’s published work speaks for itself. If you think you deserve to be in the same class as Foucault or Said, do half as much work as they did and then perhaps you will be taken seriously. Otherwise, why should anyone in the Humanities take you seriously? Have you produced the equivalent of “Discipline and Punish” or “Power/Knowledge”?

          But you are entitled to your views. As we all are.

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        2. Na chhodo kal ki baatayN
          kal ki baat phirsay aazmani
          Phooko ki dohrayengay ham
          wahi ghisi piti kahani
          Ham pak pakistani’ee
          Ham pakaoo pakistani…

          (Aray aray Markle baji, belan aisay nahiN pakadtay haiN. Aap bhi na…

          Harry sahab kay liye rotiyan aaj maiN paka deta huN. Kal subah phir say practice kartay haiN harvey nichols meiN? Theek hai?)

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  12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuFAKBZvGSs

    1 minute 42 minutes in a young atheist muslim college student speaks to Sam Harris and Sarah Haider. He fled from the Arab world because his university suspected that he and his friends were atheist and he was threatened. When he transferred to American university for his safety; he was accused by Antifa and caucasions of being a “white supremacist” because he didn’t fully agree with every aspect of Antifa and socialism.

    Caucasions need to learn to shut up and stop accusing any “darkie” they slightly disagree with of being a:
    -white supremacist
    -alt right
    -racist
    -bigot
    -sectarian
    -nazi
    -fascist
    -imperialist
    -hegemon

    My observation is that “darkies” are more likely to be attacked in this way than caucasions. And the attackers are almost always caucasions. Most “darkies” are terrified of being attacked in this way. The only exception are African American females; especially LBGTQ African American females.

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