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On this episode, we talk about cosmopolitan conservatism with Sahil Handa, a writer at National Review. Sahil is a student at Harvard. As such, I had assumed he was American before he got on the call…but it turns out he is from the suburbs north of London! His father is a Punjabi from Kenya, while his mother is a Sindhi from Gujarat.
I found the below poem to be classic virtue signalling. One could argue I did the same thing by ranting three posts about Daughters of Destiny and advocating Dalit causes. But what really turns me off is the way it’s done.
Imagine I had a Dalit friend; took a photograph with them and then published a poem about how much more privileged I was compared to them.
What is so much more powerful is asking the Dalit friend to write the poem about their feelings and publish it.
One could argue I’m jealous but this is in exceptionally poor taste. The most privileged person on the planet is HM the Queen and she doesn’t humble brag about it but tries to serve as best she can.
The truly great are truly humble.
In 2012, I came to work in Nanjing for the summer
Ariel came to live and work here this year
Our experiences are very different
As a white person living in China
I receive a lot of unmerited positive attention
From people who do not know a thing about me
Restaurant owners giving me meals for free
Old men wanting to buy me lunch and show me the city
Old women telling me I am pretty and that I should find a wife soon
Young men wanting to chat with me and become WeChat friends
Young women commenting that I am “so white and handsome”
Little kids coming up to me and saying “Hello” cheerfully
As a black person living in China
Ariel faces negative judgment, annoyance, and violation daily
From people who do not know a thing about her
Strangers coming up and touching her hair without asking
People in the street trying to steal photos of her
Small groups of people glancing at her and then snickering
Businesses insinuating that her presence will scare away customers
Constant reminders that her dark skin is viewed as not beautiful
And racist remarks that add up to a considerable weight over time
I am only able to experience China inside of this white skin
I will never know a China
Where I am not given unmerited benefits because of my skin color
But for my Chinese friends, let me ask you this:
Who am I to you, apart from this whiteness?
If I wore a different skin on the day you met me
How would your feelings towards me be different?
And more importantly
What do you feel when you see people who look like Ariel?
Where do those feelings come from
And what do they tell you about
Your broken relationship with your own skin?
The truth is that none of us can see ourselves clearly
And so we have distorted perception of each other
But I long for a day when our insecurities are made conscious
And when the blinders are removed
On that day
We look at the skin of the other and into their eyes
That day we will say in spirit and in truth
“It makes me happy to know YOU.
As I was watching yesterday’s excellent and profound show; it dawned on me that all of the Dalit children looked very nice. I would say pretty but then that would make me a pedophile like nos ancetres.
This by my Westernised aesthetic standard, where I like all types of beauty. Nonetheless by our Desi standards these Dalit children looked hideous because of their dusky skins and soft features.
After seeing the amazing show Daughters of Destiny; I believe the catch-all term Brown is deeply offensive.
The reason being is that we are not all the same shade and it masks privilege. Dalit South Asians are black and need to embrace that term (I know there was a movement to that effect) to be able to articulate their separate racial interests.
This idea that being South Asian is somehow only a colour spectrum undermines the darker members of the community who immediately get overshadowed by the lighter and fairer spokespeople (the upper castes of all religions and regions) who act as interlocutors and Macauley’s children. Continue reading Why I hate the term Brown
In the recent World Cup my heart says Pakistan for some reason. I was feeling somewhat traitorous and disloyal because of the infamous Tebbit test as to whether a British Pakistan would (or rather would not) support England in a match against Pakistan.
As I grow older and wiser I realise now this is simply coded racism. The concept of British nationality is the Union of the 4 Nations (Ireland sort of broke away but no matter) and 3 Kingdoms.
So nobody would bat an eye lid if a Welshman, living in England and maybe even born in England, would loudly cheer for Wales in an England-Wales rugby match.
We don’t have team Britain in the Cricket but Team England. I don’t feel English and Asians have never been asked to be English. If an Asian came up to me and told me they were English; I would look down on him as a coconut.
This is different to Scotland, where a civic nationalist has arisen. The largeish Pakistani community there feels both Scottish and Pakistani whereas Englishness is linked to blood and soil (there are exceptions for mixed race individuals and the Black community since there are almost an extension of the working class).
Would I have it any other way? Not really but then if the Welsh, Scots and the Irish can be fiercely patriotic and still be welcomed as British, I can’t see why the same shouldn’t apply for me.
Supporting Pakistan doesn’t make me any less British.
I have heard it stated by some scholars that generations don’t exist, but cohorts do. That is, our bracketing of ranges of people into particular generations is artificial and bins what is truly a more continuous variable into a few categories. The same criticism applies to the Myers-Briggs typology in personality (the main reason psychologists prefer the “Big Five”).
But the flip side of this issue is that to talk reasonably about some phenomenon you have to bin and categorize continuous variables. Human races may not have hard and fast boundaries, but human genetic variation is difficult to talk about unless you use some categorical shorthand.
Some of the same applies to the term immigrant and native-born. The reason I’m putting up this post is that there was a discussion online about whether there can be something called a “second generation immigrant.” That is, someone whose parents were born abroad, but they themselves were born in the country of their citizenship. Myself, I think the term immigrant should only apply to those who were born abroad. Native-born and immigrant are disjoint distributions.
But, there are more than a few categories here within the dichotomy. When you arrive in your life, and where you arrive, matters a great deal.
That was when Ms. Greco took over Subway, and the company’s store count began to shrink. In the East Bay, Mr. Tripathi was under the jurisdiction of a development agent named Chirayu Patel, known as Akki. He oversaw a huge, choice territory that included most of Northern California and western Nevada. Mr. Patel also owned dozens of Subway stores.
I was curious about this story because when I was in college Subway was my “fast food” of choice. But it was interesting to see that under the surface of a story about corporate malfeasance was another about South Asian (Indian) petty corruption. There are whole entrepreneurial subcultures in the USA which are highly South Asian, and conventional business reporters are probably missing some dynamics.