Going to post some notes on the latest podcast here. I talked to Fred Martin, who is of Haitian origin, but pretty stridently French, and a liberal. We discussed the killing of Samuel Paty, and Islam and Islamism in France. We also mooted the differences in relation to race between the USA and France, and our contrasting experiences. Finally, we talk about the coming winter of coronavirus in Europe.
A lot of the discussion centered around the contrast between France and the USA, which is always interesting to explore.
Thanks to everyone who is a Patron. I’ve started posting podcasts which you can’t find elsewhere yet there…
On Twitter, Suhag Shukla has been pushing back on the “caste is a huge problem for Indian Americans” narrative. I think she’s right on the specific issue. But, I am skeptical when she seems to attribute caste to colonialism, or, that it is not tightly integrated into Hinduism. I think Hinduism has a caste problem like Islam has a religious oppression problem. Religions are made by humans, and how they play out is a human matter. For whatever reason, Islamic societies have not been pluralistic in an egalitarian manner to other religions, while Hinduism in India is hard to disentangle from caste and jati. This doesn’t mean they’re necessary connections. Caste and jati are not major issues in Balinese or Cham Hinduism, though varna does exist.
The major dynamic which needs to be reiterated is that American Hinduism is very distinct from Hinduism in India, just as American Islam is very distinct from Islam in the Near East. I’m 99% sure that the Indian Americans I know (Generation X) would exhibit no caste bias of any note because in the USA it’s just not relevant in any way.