An Iyer in the Whitehouse

As most of you probably know, <<<Kamala Harris>>>’ <<<mother>>> (who raised her after she was divorced from Harris’ father) was an immigrant from India. A Tamil Brahmin physician, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan Harris instilled a sense of Indian culture in her daughter. At least according to Harris’ Indian.

The weird thing about Harris for me is she looks a lot like an Iyer friend of mine whenever she smiles.

Because of her mainstream/corporate Democrat credentials, I suspect Harris is far more likely to become President than Tulsi Gabbard.

69 thoughts on “An Iyer in the Whitehouse”

  1. It would be interesting to see what type of Iyer (I have a hunch, but still) is she? The upper caste self hating “Dravidian” or the whole conservative temple going “aryan invader” ?

    1. she was raised baptist. i don’t think she’s THAT indian. in a weird way tulsi gabbard is way more invested in indian culture wars than kamala harris….

      1. She’s from a time or her mom is from the time when south Asians barely existed in America and the few that did, they were extremely aligned to African-Americans locally and Indian Anglicized elites like TamBrahms and BongBrams were also high on third world solidarity/non aligned movement. Explains the marriage to a Jamaican elite, raising of kids in black church and participation in US civil rights while also having strong Hindu roots.

        1. and the few that did, they were extremely aligned to African-Americans locally and Indian Anglicized elites like TamBrahms and BongBrams were also high on third world solidarity/non aligned movement.

          are you normally this full of shit? my family arrived in 1980. we knew plenty of ppl from the 65ish years. they were nothing like this. most were well-off professionals and a lot of their children married white people who were professionals.

          harris’ father is a mixed-race jamaican economics professor at stanford. he’s not a typical ‘african-american’.

          (now i’m going to wonder if all of your comments are full of such bullshit. i actually grew up with people who arrived on the tail end of that migration and we moved in communities founded by ppl who arrived in the 60s and 70s)

          1. Her dad isn’t African American at all actually. People from West Indies diaspora in the US have a long history of separating themselves from native blacks.

            Also Kamala Harris is born in 1964 meaning her mom journeyed to the US a whole generation before you. Note I said Indian Anglicized elites, your origins are east Bengali Muslims… More on same level as Bihari Hindus socioeconomically as a culture, doesn’t matter white collar or what not.

          2. Bharotshontan, my family knew many Asians who moved to America in the 1960s. No doubt so does Razib.

            “said Indian Anglicized elites, your origins are east Bengali Muslims… More on same level as Bihari Hindus socioeconomically as a culture, doesn’t matter white collar or what not.”

            This is confusing. Bengalis are the most Anglicized Indians! Bengalis think Bengalis are the most cultured and socio-economically elevated too!

            I think you have heard too many tall tales from post modernists academics who are trying to re-invent and re-write history.

        2. Razib and are also from this time. It was almost unrecognizably different from today.

          The vast majority of Asians backed Reagan in 1980 and 1984. Asians use to vote more Republican than caucasians. Including for GW Bush in 1988. In 1992 only 41% of caucasians voted for GW Bush versus 55% of Asian Americans.

          Remember that 94% of all murders of African Americans are at the hands of African Americans. The same is not even remotely true for Latinos. The vast majority of Asian Americans are murdered by non Asian Americans. Ditto for other types of violent crime.

          There was a lot of tension between Latinos/Asians and some parts of the African American community in the 1980s. These came to the surface in the 1992 LA anti immigrant (Latino and Asian) riots. 19 Latinos were killed. 3,000 Latino businesses attacked. 3,000 Asian businesses attacked (of which over 2,000 were Korean). Of course 3,000 black businesses were also attacked. Many African Americans in LA and around the country strongly denounced the rioters for attacking Latinos and Asians.

          “they were extremely aligned to African-Americans locally and Indian Anglicized elites like TamBrahms and BongBrams were also high on third world solidarity/non aligned movement. ”

          This is not my observation. In the 1970s and 1980s business Asians joined American business associations and were aligned with them. Similarly doctors, lawyers, engineers joined their alumni and professional organizations and were aligned with them.

          A larger percentage of Asians are upper middle class than caucasians. This is widely known in America. Asians are treated as a type of Jew by most Americans. Especially Desi Asian Americans.

          1. I’m talking about around civil rights era which is when kamala harris is born and her mom came to the US, you guys are shifting 15-25 years later the road to Reagan etc.

            Anan the research on this topic and relevant era has been done by Shefali Vaidya and Rajiv Malhotra…

            Fwiw I have close family in the New Jersey area from the mid 1950s

          2. MLK became a beloved figure on the right and among Republicans after his passing. This was true in the 1970s too. Nixon publicly proclaimed his love and praise for MLK and won a lot of Black American votes and civil rights leader support in 1968 and 1972. Leon Panetta worked for Nixon.

            Both parties fought to be the inheritors of the civil rights movement. Remember that in 1964 the civil rights bill was mostly passed by Republicans and even seen as “partisan.” More Republicans voted for the 1965 Civil Rights bill than Democrats.

            The civil rights movement was hardly “left wing”. The idea that it was is a rewriting of history by post modernists.

            MLK’s policy positions would be demonized as Nazi racist alt right today. MLK genuinely supported Christianity, God, spirituality, love, culture, family and patriotism. MLK loved Mahatma Gandhi. And probably would have been a big supporter of the Dalai Lama if he were still alive.

            Today both Gandhiji and the Dalai Lama are attacked as Nazi, white supremacist, imperialistic colonial hegemonic exploitative oppressive racist alt right personalities. There is little doubt that MLK would have been similarly attacked. Much the way Glenn Loury and John McWhorter (the real inheritors of MLK’s legacy I would argue) are demonized by the caucasian intelligentsia today.

      2. I agree. Well closer to elections we will get to see which INDIAN though , considering Indian community in USA is also now invested in culture wars which the whole California book thing as well as recent HSS event

      3. I thought after her parents’ divorce when she was a little child, the mother retained guardianship of her. How was she raised baptist? The only family she seems to have retained contact with is Indian…

        I don’t know much about american baptists, but is marrying Jews common among them?

        (PS: Not that I care what she believes in. I am just confused)

        1. she has said her social circle as a teen was mostly black girls. so i assume she was involved in black american institutions/functions. including the baptist church? anyway, baptist is what she lists as her religious affiliation.

          1. This I did not know.

            Could Harris could win South Carolina? [The first state where black Americans vote in meaningful numbers?]

            Black Lives Matter doesn’t like black american institutions/functions and the baptist church. This is part of why so many African American elders oppose Black Lives Matter. And part of why Glenn Loury and John McWhorter aren’t exactly fans of Black Lives Matter.

    2. Your presumptousness in calling self hating “Dravidian” or the whole conservative temple going “aryan invader” is breathtaking in its stupidity.
      Shades of Pankaj Mishra.

        1. Too much confusion to unpack or descontruct. Suffice it to say traditionally Brahmins as panca Dravida were called as such and there are Iyer sub castes which are known as Dravida. ‘Dravidians’ as mentioned above makes no sense and is a colonial construct.

      1. Hello VijayVan,

        I feel like you have misunderstood the comment above. The user Saurav’s commentary is bloodily incisive most of the times from a strong Right point of view in my view and I find him to be an extraordinarily brilliant person. I personally agree with his hypothesis of cultural and religious discontinuity of south India and Bengal with classical Indian civilisation, but unlike him, I believe this to be the case only with the super-Westernised (super-Anglo-American-Classical-Liberalism-influenced) elite of the two places. Because, at least for south India, I can say that outside of this type of elite (I can perhaps even go ahead and say that there are fewer people in south India compared to north India including the cultural heartland region that are even familiar with and understand Classical Liberalism), the general populace, at least the historical upper/middle castes of the non-Brahmin kind, are extremely conservative socially, culturally (one can argue that this traditional culture of theirs is not of a 100% classical-Indian type but still), religiously (yes, most non-Brahmin south Indians are extremely religious at least as far as temple-going is concerned, just like many south Indian Brahmins) and economically. Most of the population of south India is in fact quite conservative in all respects, probably, except for Kerala and in only some ways.

        Edit: Regarding the Brahmin-hate, I think it is quite a low-incidence phenomenon limited to some extreme regionalist political circles in Tamil Nadu. In all the other places, the usual dynamics are caste-related competitions only as far as I can see (but it is arguable that this type of equality in fighting and competitive spirit is probably not very much classical and somewhat more tribal).

  2. Kamala Harris, is more craven to the cultural marxist post modernists. She is more politically correct and less courageous. Because of this she is less likely to persuade many millions of independents and Republicans to switch parties to vote for her in the primaries.

    It is possible that after winning the nomination she will reinvent herself as an anti PC maveric reformer who stands up to post modernist cultural marxism. Without reinventing herself post nomination, Trump is a shoe in.

    The Democrats need a Democratic Trump to win. Almost every possible Democratic nominee would lose the general election to Trump. I can only think of three conceivable Democratic nominees who could win the Presidency:
    —Lebron James (unlikely to run)
    —Oprah (unlikely to run)
    —Tulsi Gabbard (she will be demonized as a Nazi racist bigoted prejudiced alt right sexist anti LBGTQ colonialist imperialist hegemon exploitative oppressor by liberal and leftists in the primaries, partly because of her Hindu perspective)

  3. So interestingly her dad is Jamaican. Does that take away from her African-American cred?
    She doesn’t look that black either. Looks much more a half-ling than Obama. Plus, she’s married to a white guy. Does that help with white vote?

    1. Unfortunately all these things point to a neither here nor there vote lol.

      America is undergoing a nationalism phase and at the underground, there is an alignment going on between the mass white Americans with the original black Americans. The bigger the Hispanic/Latino demographic takeover occurs in large swathes of America, the blacks are realizing “all skin folk ain’t kin folk”. The blacks are either openly siding with white America against Latinos or sitting it out passively like they did in 2016 election (they didn’t bus in people to the booth like they did for Obama).

      Us south Asians are a further layer outside and we’re like a rich isolated obnoxious class (think Marwaris in Bengal, Jews in Europe, Indians in Uganda) and face the nativist brunt from all three whites blacks and Latinos united against us. Basically you have to earn your stripes in America. Not really a “melting pot” anymore where “we’re all immigrants”. No. The whites and blacks are sensing a sense of real ownership of the land.

      High yella Kamala Devi Harris with Jewish husband is already considered suspiciously by the mass level black and white Americans due to her record as attorney general.

      Trump will win hands down if Harris is nominated as the blacks will sit it out again.

      1. Trump will win hands down if Harris is nominated as the blacks will sit it out again.

        you are full of shit for sure 😉 [they said the same stupid stuff about obama-with-the-kenyan-dad and ‘third culture’ upbringing]

        1. Obama was married to a black American though. Harris is going to have to play up her HBCU attendance and black sorority membership.

        1. pretty much, everyone, one of this commenter’s comments are laced with transparent bullshit. he either thinks we’re stupid. or, he’s not that bright.

        2. Indo-Carib, are you joking? I mean seriously. BP needs many, many more comedians!

          If you are serious, can you explain why Harris has black American support outside of California?

          1. black americans tend to support black americans. and harris grew up among black californians. she’s cosmopolitan, but unlike obama she grew up around bay area black kids from what she’s said as her primary social milieu.

          2. Hmm. And you think this will translate nationally? Maybe. I don’t know. Depends on who her opposition is.

            Will Harris have to endorse Black Lives Matter the way Hillary did to win black support? Or will she be able to only distantly embrace them?

            If Harris bear hugs Black Lives Matter she loses the general election.

      2. Bharotshontan, there is something to what you say. But remember that most people are a-political and don’t really care.

        America still works amazingly well.

        For that matter India on the ground works a heck of a lot better than the press portrays.

      1. He isn’t but trace he has, interestingly enough through his white American maternal grandfather…y-dna goes back to a free black named John Punch.

  4. If we are going to have an Indian American Presidnet, why can’t it be Nikki Haley? Her ancestry is entirely Indian.

    1. I have to agree. Nikki Haley is a Republican to boot. Not ashamed of her Punjabi Sikh roots. I hope she inculcated that pride in her children. And strongly pro-Israel. All good qualities!

      I did know who Harris was. Have only just been reading about her after all this Presidential candidature talk.

      1. ” Not ashamed of her Punjabi Sikh roots. I hope she inculcated that pride in her children.”

        Well you would soon find all this qualities being discovered in our Ms Kamla”Iyer” Harris as well, just wait till we get closer to elections. 😛

        1. More the opposite. Harris would have to explain why she calls her maternal aunt in Chennai (chitthi) to sacrifice 108 coconuts before her Senate election day. Haley would probably have to come on the air and say “I respect all religions but I believe Jesus is the only path to my salvation” when asked about Sikhism. Obama had a lot of twisting to do regarding his Muslim middle name and Indonesian upbringing.

          I remember being grossed out by it because I had not long before that moved to America and considered the concurrent talk in India about Sonia Gandhi’s Italian origins to be low class xenophobia. That was back in the day when I used to think Indians have such mentalities because we are uneducated… Until I saw Americans doing the same with Obama. McCain even had to tell some old white lady in a town hall meeting “he’s not Arab” (also what’s so bad about being Arab?)

          1. I think Haley would be able to be both authentically Christian while honoring her Sikh and Dharmic heritage. Not a problem. Sarva Dharma is her friend.

            Would Harris risk angering the liberals and left by publicly defending eastern philosophy and her friendship with PM Modi? The left and liberal opposition to this will be more intense than what Haley would face.

          2. haley, unlike jindal, has couched her christianity in terms of assimilation rather than rejection of her sikh heritage. i posted a video of her getting emotional in the golden temple and admitting she could feel the holiness in the place. perhaps she would disavow that, but the republican party today is not nearly as christian sectarian as it as 10 years ago.

            donald trump is a nominal protestant.

          3. Um no, you think South Carolina evangelicals will vote for Haley if she said something on sarva Dharma lines like “both Jesus and Nanak are my gurus”?

            This is about posturing for your electorate, and there is no use in posturing as a Hindu/Sikh in any part of the country except maybe in a swing state like Virginia with Indians having concentration in the Fairfax County (also why Trump sent his daughter there last election for Diwali celebration).

          4. “both Jesus and Nanak are my gurus”

            This would be inauthentic. Her Ishta Devata is Jesus. She should proudly and unashamedly speak the truth. This doesn’t take anything away from her honoring her Desi heritage. She can do both simultaneously. Hindus/Sikhs/Buddhists/Jains honor authenticity, synthesis of thought word and deed, honesty. She can honestly say that Jesus and Jesus’ teachings are honored and practiced by Dharmic peoples across the world.

            Evangelicals voted for America’s first de facto atheist president in 2016. They would vote for Haley too. Evangelicals are desperate for allies. The post modernists are ripping them apart. Haley helps them ally with Asians, Latinos and many non Christian caucasians who have sympathies with new age, Eckhart Tolle and the like. Many of these caucasians work in silicon valley, Hollywood and technology. These people are almost all left or liberal. Haley has a better chance winning their support than almost any other Republican. Nikki Haley can unify religious, spiritual and spiritual atheist (of the Sam Harris kind) Americans in a way few others (other than maybe Tulsi Gabbard) can.

            The extent of eastern influence on America (Yoga/Ayurveda, Zen, Accupunture/Tai Chi/Qi Gong/Taoism, martial arts, breathing, mindfulness, meditation, consciousness) has been extensive. Even Ted Cruz speaks the lingo.

  5. Note I said Indian Anglicized elites, your origins are east Bengali Muslims… More on same level as Bihari Hindus socioeconomically as a culture, doesn’t matter white collar or what not.

    you are a such a dumbshit. there were hardly any bangladeshis around in 1980 in USA moron outside of NYC as a ‘community.’ ALL BROWN PPL STUCK TOGETHER. punjabi doctors, tamil engineers, kerala christian dentists, bangladeshi grad students.

    god you’re a moron who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. you are talking about the ppl i grew up with idiot. stop lying to my face.

  6. Anan the research on this topic and relevant era has been done by Shefali Vaidya and Rajiv Malhotra…

    there are all sorts of stories. like the bengali muslims who intermarried into the harlem black community in the early/mid 20th century. and there were politically engaged people.

    but the wave of indians who arrived from 65 on, the mass of the ‘early wave’, were not very politically engaged professionals trying to survive as exotics in a white and black america. this is obvious since i grew up ‘mentored’ by the kids of these people, who arrived half a generation before my own parents, and had laid the seedbed of various south asian institutions (e.g., sponsoring their brother and investing the seed money for a small indian grocery store).

    1. Agreed.

      My observation is that the 1960s Asian immigrants tended to be pro business. But otherwise didn’t care about politics. But then, most Amerians don’t care that much about politics (albeit Americans care more than American Asians in the 1960s and 1970s).

      BTW, I know some marxist and post modernist Indians who went to America in the 1950s and 1960s too! Indians of all kinds came. But most as Razib says didn’t care about politics.

  7. Um no, you think South Carolina evangelicals will vote for Haley if she said something on sarva Dharma lines like “both Jesus and Nanak are my gurus”?

    when she first ran for elected office she admitted that she went to church and the gurdwara (to honor her parents). they did vote for her…. #factsTheyAreAThing

    1. Okay so she watered down the Sikh part to be inherited and cultural, not a parallel belief system to Christianity as such would not be palatable to her voters. Better than Jindal though…

        1. Razib, how would Harris do in a similar environment? Would she openly express her emotions? Would she be very careful to appear politically correct and denounce Hindu/Sikh/Buddhist extremism?

          I don’t know the answer to the above question.

          1. Well that’s what i am interested in, even though as Razib said she is not that much of INDIAN in that sense. Both Haley and Jindal had to address the brown question (probably Jindal had to more than Haley). Harris has cover in that sense, i would really be surprised if her Indian heritage becomes even a talking point. I dont think she would even talk about it apart from specific places and all. But it would be interesting when she does talk about it , will she be the liberal INDIAN or the temple going INDIAN because the money is with the temple going one, while the liberal one has “woke” cred.

          2. i don’t know either. nikki was raised in a sikh household by two punjabi jatt parents. it’s part of her background in a more thorough way. i know kamala went to india a lot as a kid from what I’ve read. but that’s all i know.

          3. I have to say Nikki Haley seems more core Indian – in spirit – to me than these other Hindu-lite (or Hindu-lite-turned-Christian) American politicians. Trust the Sardars to be true to their Punjabi roots!

            PS: Jindal is an unmitigated disgrace. Apparently he even got his office portrait touched up so that he could look white. How revolting is that!


          4. From Razib’s comment I realized that Nikki has at least a partial Serbian background, too. I will contact her and ask if she knows anything about her ancestors. If I get response I’ll keep you posted.

  8. Personally I dont much care about Harris’ genes, skin colour or religious identity. She strikes me as Hillary-II in her political persona.

    The only person so far who seems to have a mind of her own and most of whose views are ‘decent’ is Tulsi Gabbard. Even her fundo past and subsequent conversion to liberal attitudes smack of a genuine thinking brain than the usual run-of-the-mill leftwing dittoheads. The rest – harris, Warren etc. – seem to have all come from various political robot-making facilities.

    Check out the hit piece on her in Jacobin. Ironically it does more to commend her than damn her.

    1. Who else is in the reckoning? Bloomberg maybe? Avenatti was one person who I thought will run but did not in the end.

      1. Do you think the Democrat base would elect Bloomberg? If they did he would be a solid candidate.

        Sadly the Democratic base might be too far gone 🙁 Too many of them might regard Bloomberg as alt right Nazi racist prejudiced, bigoted, sectarian, fundamentalist, exploitative hegemonic oppressive imperialist colonialist.

        Tulsi is different enough that much of the democratic base will get a “no compute” system error when looking at her. Which she can ride to victory.

        Of course Lebron and Oprah are the modern equivalent of demi-gods and demi-goddesses. But doubt they would run.

  9. In a blog with devoted right wing patronage, and being the sole left wing, anti-Razib (Bizar?) I am totally surprised by the Kamala fandom. In the 6 years she was the attorney general of California, she was horribly non-left:

    she tried to put people in prison for pimping for running Backpage with advertisements she didn’t like. (when the court quickly tossed all the charges against the execs, and told Harris to take it up with Congress. However, not content to just try to change the laws, Harris has chosen to file brand new charges against the three execs, Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacy, and James Larkin. The press release from Harris claims that the reason for the new charges is that she’s “uncovered new evidence” but that’s a load of hogwash)

    Harris refused to enforce California’s Proposition 8, a voter-passed initiative in 2008 that banned same-sex marriage in the state, and in 2011 she pressed a federal appeals court to allow weddings to continue as the court considered the constitutionality of the ban.

    This is the same Kamala Harris whose feelings didn’t prevent her from opposing police body cams (, giving a pass to killing cops (, protecting lying prosecutors, as well as dirty district attorneys offices (

    I mean, judge her by performance; not by the fact that she is half-Iyer. Even this is the closest my people will become president.

      1. I do not have a problem over what she is. She won as a SJW but was entirely in the prosecutor-cop axis in the whole time in California.

        She is believed to be, by many, a standard issue left wing democrat. She is not. She is pro-prosecuting attorneys and pro-Cops. May be the Brahmin in her rearing head. Once again, I am run-of-the-mill left wing and do not care for the prosecution system in the US. Once it kicks off, there is no way out for anyone. You will be forever in the system.

        1. she’s in the hillary lane. she’s pro-state pro-establishment and will pull the sex/gender/race card to shore up her left. didn’t work for hillary, but she was a white woman.

        2. Excellent comment.

          Vijay, Trump is big into criminal justice reform in spirit, intention and principle. [Of course details ain’t his thing and passing legislation might be beyond his skills.] Do you support Trump on this? I do. I also support Kasich on criminal justice reform.

          Yes, I am worried about Harris’ questionable authenticity. I find both Haley and Gabbard far more authentic and real.

          1. If it didn’t work for a white woman, fat chance it’ll work for an Indo Jamaican of Canadian upbringing

            I like Gabbard the most but I worry how she can connect with her Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya. This isn’t something like Nikki or Kamala can brush under the carpet as family heritage/cultural. She’s a non Indian by blood that’s in an explicit organized religion that is not part of the Judeo Christian foundation of America.

    1. Formative years from age 7 to 18, post parents divorced spent in Canada with mom only

    2. From the age of 7 to 18, after parents divorce, her mother moved to Montreal and worked in Jewish general hospital. from first to 12th grade she studied bilingual in Montreal old quarter.

      Her biography provides no mention of Baptist church upbringing in Montreal even if it talks about Chennai trips, and the fact that Montreal bilingual schooling made it difficult to get into US colleges.

      OK, now I have officially switched to Kamala 2020, based on the biography and the Tamil Iyer thing; if a politician cannot switch ideas and campaign on exactly the opposite as her principles, then who can. If I get on this early, may be there will be something for me.

  10. The degree of wreckage ‘woke” Indian-american can bring to Tulsi “Hindu” Gabbard might decide how much of the whole “Indian” thing Kamala would really want to be part of. Anyhow it would be interesting how desi folks really see her. Not woke enough for the “left” desis and not “Indian” enough for the conservative “desis”.

  11. Two interesting articles I came across about Kamala H.

    One is in Tamil, an interview with her mother Shyamala

    She says she brought up Kamala and maya with much respect and involvement in Indian culture and they are close to their grandparents in Madras. Her relatives went on coconut breaking ritual for her victory , where you propitiate gods – usually Vinayaka- (or bribe gods depending on POV) with granting favourable results.

    That interview was 15 years back.

    Recent article by her father harris

    where he gives Jamaican angle of her upbringing.

    Afro-american support with coconut breaking in Madras may do the trick of putting her in the white House.

    Funny, each parent talks of completely different heritage.

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