I for one welcome our new Brown overlords!

Amy Wax is on Glenn Loury’s show going off on Asian immigrants, and to a great extent, Indian American women who play the whole woke game.

First, I myself have written about the representation of Indians/browns among woke activist types. Amy is reflecting a descriptive reality; don’t deny it, it’s true. Though this is especially prevalent among the 1.5 and 2nd generation, there are some immigrants getting in on the game too (though proportionately far less).

Second, I know Amy a bit personally. We’ve met and hung out in real life at a conference. She’s clearly familiar with my work.

Third, to be candid, Amy is a Boomer, and her comments, observations, and sensibilities reflect her generation. If you listen to her earlier conversations she operates in a world of racial black-white dichotomies, which is the world she came up in. She’s trying to integrate other groups, but these are not people she necessarily grew up with, and she’s trying to understand them.

Fourth, don’t doubt her intelligence. She graduated summa in biological sciences and has an M.D. and a J.D.

Finally, to be honest, I find a lot of her structural analysis here kind of lacking, and I think Glenn made some good points. Some of her talking points, like the idea that Indians are conformist and subservient to power, are pretty widely disseminated on the dissident right, but let’s just say a lot of these observations don’t come from a place of detached analysis, as opposed to emotive reaction and fear. Unfortunately, I think Glenn’s suggestion that Indian Americans are just assimilating, very well, to professional-managerial-class norms, is spot on.

All of that being said, no matter what you think of Amy’s analysis between observation and conclusion, I think her endcaps are probably correct. As I noted above, the description rings true. There are these brown cadres everywhere, with fancy degrees and upper-middle-class upbringings, decrying America as a white supremacist terror regime. It’s embarrassing, offensive, and cringe. And, I also don’t think America as a whole will tolerate rule by a brown-faced elite with exotic names and mostly non-Christian religion. Yes, I can see an Indian American President. Until recently, the Supreme Court had three Jewish Justices (with RBG gone and ACB replacing her it’s Jewish to Catholic now). Imagine if there were three Indian Americans. Not sure the populace would be happy seeing those faces all the time and knowing how different they were than the rest of America.

32 thoughts on “I for one welcome our new Brown overlords!”

  1. I am fairly pessimistic about Asian-American political power. The money, the degrees and the numbers are there. What’s missing is unity and asabiyah.

    Even looking at Indian-Americans alone, only about half are Hindus. Polls done among the Indian-British community has shown that Modi is deeply impopular among non-Hindus and even Hindus are ambivalent.

    The Jewish comparison is completely different. There, even “liberals” are willing to go remarkably far to support right-wing Likud PMs, including in the diaspora. They will kvetch but will ultimately put aside their differences. I don’t see that with Indian-Americans, especially the non-Hindu part.

    Finally, beyond Indians, there are too many other Asian groups. Among desis alone, there are too many ethnic and religious differences. These groups can unite behind “white ppl bad” but little else. To be effective, you need something to stand for, and not just against. And I don’t see that with Asian activist groups, in large part due to the massive diversity within this grouping.

    Worse, a lot of these groups are undermining their own communities. A lot of anti-Asian violence is driven by blacks in places like NYC. This is an open secret, but because they have to uphold the pieties and orthodoxies of far-left ‘woke’ discourse, they cannot address this effectively and have to pretend like some white Trumpers are running rampant in NYC.

    Finally, look at what people do not what they say. There is very little intermixing with blacks and Asians (all Asian groups) compared to white/Asians. During last year’s race riots, I was laughing as I saw woke brown activist types lamenting “brown flight”. Make no mistake, they are going to come for brown and yellow kids too with the same narratives, just with a timelag.

    1. (Formerly: Numinous)

      Even looking at Indian-Americans alone, only about half are Hindus.

      Is this because a lot of them are lapsed Hindus, or plain irreligious, and therefore don’t identify as such? From what I know about the demographics of the people who migrate from Indian to the US, it is impossible that only half of them are Hindu (my guess would be north of 90%).

      On the comparison between Hindus (or Indians broadly) and Jews: are most American Jews Likud supporters (to the extent they care about Israeli politics)? I think, if you do a comparison of rank-and-file Jews and Indians, you’ll find the latter are far more right-wing in their views when it comes to mother-country politics. The difference lies between the elite groups: organizations like the AIPAC are right-wing, whereas elite Indians aren’t organized at all, HAF notwithstanding, and left-leaning on an individual basis.

  2. Broadly the truth is Indian Americans are highly selected by the immigration system (which is penalizes people from large countries like China, India and Nigeria) so the ones who make it are selected for traits like intelligence and conscientiousness which tend to lead to success despite racism.

    The right wants to deny racism as a factor in success or lack thereof.
    The left wants to deny individual merit as a factor in success or lack thereof.

    So neither group can really have an honest discussion of a group like the Indian Americans.

    1. I’m more with the right here. Once the laws have been fixed to prohibit any kind of racial discrimination, and where an individual has recourse to file a legal suit if they encounter such discrimination, it is just not useful to consider racism when discussing success/failure. Because if we do so, every tiny decision will be subject to scrutiny: a student getting a poor grade may complain of racism as could an employee not getting promoted in a given cycle. All of these decisions are subjective to some extent, so racism can never be ruled out even if it doesn’t exist in a given scenario. Hence wokeness is necessary, or so the left will argue.

      I think the fact that Indians don’t face structural barriers to advancement in America is pretty much proven by the CEO’s of Microsoft, Twitter, Google, and IBM being Indian. Anybody who complains about microaggressions should then move to India and see what daily life is like here.

  3. As an Indian American doctor in residency with first hand experience, they both are right. But Glenn is right on the bigger picture. Amy is right that S Asian women are leaders in the SWJ fight. Hell many S Asian men too, just proportionally fewer. Look at the authors of the AMA new “Woke Vocab Guide.” This is true bigly. And yes a big reason is to virtue signal and play status games. The prize of the oppression Olympics is social media and real-life clout, diversity chair positions, and faster rise in academia.

    But here’s the thing. Many people believe many things for status. Power games are Machieveillian by design, when played well. And the wokeness game is fundamentally a power game.

    But she is wrong about why. Many of these people genuinely believe the stuff they are saying. They grew in upper middle class liberal areas and went to strong state schools/ivy equivalents, all institutions of hardcore woke indoctrination. They never saw the real struggles of poverty in their forefathers’ homeland and what more intense discrimination can look like, beyond a few sanitized looks during summer vacations. Many did grow up in more patriarchal households than their white peers, so some of the gender angst is definitely warranted. But that’s a separate discussion.

    And Indians who immigrate are often less conformist than E Asians who immigrate. This has been replicated emperically. Confuscian culture is different, it is meritocratic and more rules oriented. Look at how far back Chinese civil service standardized tests go.

    On the other hand, Indian culture is less meritocracy oriented and more “dog eat dog,” with how tribally shaped it is. Allegiance is frequently to small tribe over nation. And “divide and rule” politics with a healthy dose of argumentation, as Sen would point out, is a hallmark. This leads to an even more aggressive status climbing at all costs type of mentality.

    Just in America’s case, with how the indoctrination has worked, they feel that their tribe is now all “POC.” So yes, Amy is in part correct. These values do differ from those of classic American liberalism, which inlcudes individual liberty, free enterprise, and meritocracy.

    But the bigger point is why they are being leveraged in such a way in the woke context. This is mostly a 2nd gen phenomena. It’s because of the woke indoctrination through the school system and how it socially rewards certain behavior. Glen points out the same is true for the leftist academic Jewish establishment. It isn’t that Jews or something about Jewishness is inherently leftist but rather that strucutre of academia shapes people to be a certain way.

    Final point. If White women had brown skin, they would do the same things, perhaps even more extreme. Look at the ones like Warren and the “NAACP woman who shall not be named” who invented a whole identity to do it.

    1. Satyagraha is the OG social justice grift. India is a historical case study in non-productive elites having unusual influence. We are definitely bringing some special sauce to the US leftopia. 2nd gen kids have a chip on their shoulder from being bullied or just not having the physical charisma that is idealized in the common youth culture. Huge sense of entitlement instilled by their parents doesn’t line up with where society puts them in the pecking order and subaltern studies anti-white mania is their long game revenge fantasy. They are always doctor’s kids btw, strength to you 😁

    2. Haven’t white ‘privileged’ people opined about things like caste in India when they had the opportunity in the 18th-20th century. Why complain now? People will do their thing to get what they want. Indians are just playing the intelligentsia/academia game.

      America is a rat-maze, Indians (in America) are the conscientious and intelligent they will find out all the hidden doors and ladders, will remain faster and smarter, eat more carrots, avoid all traps. What they have not figured out it how to escape the game and raid the pantry itself or better still: agriculture. The dumbest farmer is still smarter than the brightest hamster. This lady and her likes are the farmer’s daughter, folks who barely make any ‘stuff’ (software, cars, money,…) but get to opine because they were born in the US.

      All these folks who can’t run a 20-employee car lot well, overestimate the power of their ideas (clearly disregarding statistics) over actual money and power.

      1. @bhimrao
        Amy Wax isn’t settler-stock american fwiw, and self-consciously not, as revealed in the conversation. I wouldn’t put her in any orientalist tradition of thought, on the contrary she admits the similarity with Jews and then questions its virtue.
        I think her and Loury are having a good-faith conversation about whether Indian origin people are particularly good for the health of american society, wrt the things they value about that society. Anyone saying “Indians are just playing the game like everyone else” is practically proving the point that we are zero-sum careerists. If you grew up in areas of the US dominated by settler-stock americans, for all their shortcomings, they are decidedly not like this.

        1. In a way I see the TamBram/Bhadralok -esque, mostly female lot of Indians as backup fire-power. I do talk about lack of asabiya and heretics within the Indian fold but I know from experience that when push comes to shove Indians do stand for each other. Indians might not be as shameless at defending the indefensible like the Muslims but make up for it by providing open access to better tactics, battle-experience and know-how. Knowing that non-UC Indians will always have leverage to keep the noisy ones in line, I find them ‘cute’ and tolerable.

          ‘we are zero-sum careerists’

          Here we see a clear bifurcation between the engineers/doctors and the screamers:

          (1) Green cards are the walls of this maze for Engineers. Even so these corporate olympics are elaborate dances. Credit where it is due, brown folks who run Microsoft, Google or Twitter are no light weight careerists, they are Alpha and Omega, Cannibal-Lizard-People. Anyone who disagrees can speak with me after getting through coding rounds at Waymo. These are not meek, unimaginative people, just hamstrung by circumstances. Hands of Indians have been tied and with whatever limited resources they have, they still outperform others, I think we have not figured out how to get out of the walls of this American maze and in the meanwhile are merely acting to be seen as subservient and careerists.

          (2) What brown wannabe-Gayatri-Spivaks are doing in Academia/Activism is what even white ladies do. Liberal-Arts Academia IS like that. They are a sham discipline not into proper unbiased research but into cheap sensationalism, and drama. Indians are giving them that.

          In conclusion, smart, brave, hard-working people will eventually figure out a way to more power. If Amy plugs one hole, five more will open. Indians will dominate. God wills it.

          1. “In a way I see the TamBram/Bhadralok -esque, mostly female lot of Indians as backup fire-power. I do talk about lack of asabiya and heretics within the Indian fold ”

            I wonder where u are getting these ideas. Must be from some super smart guy. 😛

          2. I don’t know whether you are speaking from personal experience of interactions with Tamil Brahmins and Bengali Bhadralok or if you are just propagating what you’ve read, but my personal experience (as a Tamil Brahmin) is that we tend to be very right-wing and big supporters of the new political order. Most people I know in my extended clan are quite traditional and conservative, invested in the idea of a glorious Hindu past that was destroyed by Muslims and other foreigners, and very anti-affirmative action (unlike UCs in the north, they really ended up facing discrimination and loss of resources after the DMK types took office in TN, which prompted them to migrate to other parts of India and the world). The one way in which they are probably different from the average north Indian BJP type is that they have taken to a modern (and typically English) scientific education a lot more; this process began in the 19th century itself, which gave the clan a head start when it came to being ready for the modern economy. The typical northern BJP-walla on the other hand seems to revel more in being a Luddite.

            I’m sure there are woke lefties in my tribe, but they are not representative of the tribe as a whole at all.

          3. Tam brahm reminded me of this show on Netflix called decoupled. The main character name is Aryan Iyer. 😂😂

        2. @girmit
          If you grew up in areas of the US dominated by settler-stock americans, for all their shortcomings, they are decidedly not like this.

          The way I see it, Indian-Americans are just adopting the culture of the place they settle in, which mostly happens to be the coasts.

          If the cultures of the coasts and the hinterland differ so much, Americans need to do some soul searching on whether it even makes sense to continue as one country.

          Don’t you think this situation is analogous to the north-south difference you point out in India?

          Probably even more pronounced since India does have some sort of cultural/religious scaffolding to unite the disparate people residing in it.

          1. If the cultures of the coasts and the hinterland differ so much, Americans need to do some soul searching on whether it even makes sense to continue as one country

            Wasn’t it Churchill who said something like: “if you aren’t a liberal at 20, you have no heart, and if you aren’t a conservative at 30, you have no mind/brain.“?

            The culture of the coasts is the culture of young people and the culture of the hinterland is the culture of older people. They are not two different countries. The practice in the US is for youngsters (everywhere; rural, urban, suburb, exurb) to go find their way in the world away from their families; indeed, to act as rebels in many ways. Until they settle down into a familiar and career path they will follow for the rest of their lives. It’s just that these youngsters overwhelmingly move to “blue” places and when older move back to “red” (or redder) places. Red and blue America, or coastal and hinterland America, have a deep symbiotic relationship; they are not two different ethnicities who need to partition the country between themselves.

          2. Don’t you think this situation is analogous to the north-south difference you point out in India?

            I may be misunderstanding you, but I am 42, and north and south India have never seemed more alike or closer since the day I was born. Until my teens, north and south Indians would think of the other much the same way people of different European countries (say the Germans and the Italians) would.

          3. I agree. The amount of ‘Indian-ism’ , the periphery ( Bongs, Dravidian, to a lesser extent North-East) has shown in the last decade, in terms of culture and religion, is unprecedented.

          4. @Prats
            Personally I think regional differences in India are on a vastly greater level. An anglo person from texas and australia have more in common than a north and south indian imo.
            The indian-americans that I grew (being mostly the children of doctors and engineers) are all cosmopolitans living in the usual metropolises (Northeast/Chicago/Cali). This is utterly divergent to the local pattern of out-migration which flows generally to NC/Georgia/Florida. Being brutally honest, the indian community i know looks with disdain at working class people and contributed almost nothing to the broader civic life despite being prosperous. These same tendencies were not evident in the other prosperous immigrant communities I saw.
            Also, keep in mind the coastal vs heartland dichotomy in the US isn’t just about economic dynamism its about ethnicity as well. Moreover, the normative culture and religion of whites (and the overall demographic mix) between the northeast and west coast is quite different which outsiders may not appreciate.

  4. “like the idea that Indians are conformist and subservient to power”

    I wish this were true, India might be in a better place if its citizens actually did what their government wanted them to do.

    Indian state and federal governments have banned dowries, built toilets, offered bounties for female children and intercaste marriages…Indians appear to be refractory to all the things “power” wants, even if it would be good for them to acquiesce.

    1. I wish this were true

      Yeah, I can’t imagine anybody who has personally experienced Indian traffic, and Indian lining practices, saying this.

  5. Listened to the podcast segment. Man, I had some sympathy for Wax after the brouhahas in the late-2010s…all of that vanished after watching this.

    Wax says “I think there is a certain conformity and instrumentalism…and it’s mindless.”

    This is illogical. If someone is assuming beliefs “instrumentally,” then by definition they are not “mindless” about doing so. But Wax is right the second time, this process is largely subconscious and indeed “mindless.”

    Wax also complains that Asians don’t have the “spirit of liberty.” When asked to explicate on what this means, she says “people who are distrustful of centralized concentrations of authority, who have a sort of ‘don’t tread on me’ attitude, who are focused on the Bill of Rights, on our freedoms, on our liberties, on a sort of small scale personal liberty, who are nonconformist…”

    She’s basically describing Folk Libertarians, Borderers, etc. Unlike Wax, I actually live in a Borderer-settled hinterland right now. I’ve not seen these people “focus on the Bill of Rights.” But as she says, they do have Gadsden Flags, lots of them. And they wave them at anti-vaxx protests. And they pair them with “F*** Biden” Flags. And they put up Election Truther billboards. And they demand the horse dewormer when they get CoVid. And they buy jacked-up trucks, but never a Hybrid or an Electric.

    Do these people sound like bold, freethinking nonconformists to you? Do you think they carefully parsed election irregularities or confidence intervals and came to their own conclusions? Or do they sound like people who simply have a different social milieu than the Wokes, and who adjust their beliefs, folkways, and purchasing habits in accordance with their milieu?

    Who are the “mindless” ones now?

    Wax exemplifies a pathology common to American conservatives: they make their ideology as repellant as possible, and then get mad at Asians when they don’t embrace it. If you’re a smart, urban professional, why would you embrace an ideology grounded in the folkways of a despised, faraway hinterland?

    No wait, “why” is the wrong question. The better question is, HOW would you embrace that ideology? It’s a tautology, but normies are normies. By definition they’re going to go with the flow, politically. And that’s true for a White middle-aged welder in Oconee County, and an Asian IM resident in Cambridge. No need for Wax to single out Asians for exhibiting what’s a common human phenomenon.

    1. I think there’s something to be said about the experience of rural settlement being different from that of urban immigration. Virtually all the immigrants pre-1800 became rural settlers because they had to be, and also Scandinavians in the Midwest in the 19th. When one has to build life up from scratch without (visible) government help, one can get very protective about freedom.

      But there were a lot of other immigrant groups who moved to urban areas early on, like the Catholic Irish and (later) Southern/Eastern Europeans and Jews, and the experience and behavior of recent Asian immigrants ought to be compared with the latter. I’m not sure if Wax has tried out that thought experiment; at least, it didn’t emerge in this conversation. The Irish basically expropriated the political and law-and-order machinery in many American cities by the end of the 19th century. And they were also the first unionizers, something that would have been anathema to “freedom-loving” Americans. Nothing Indians or East Asians are doing today compares to how the Irish changed America, just to take one example.

  6. I could have sworn that the lady looked Jewish within the first 10 seconds of her speaking. Turns out I was bang on the money. I think my N London Jewdar is calibrated to a tee.

  7. “Does taking in lots of privileged people from hierarchical societies like India’s risk eroding the egalitarian relationships of everyday American life ?”

    It is interesting to see that the same question when posed by a powerful member of the elite (Postrel) elucidates a pliant and acquiescent response, from an immigrant who claims to speak for other immigrants.

  8. It is unlikely that there would be wholesale negative reactions to “brown” people on the courts simply because of ethnicity or ancestral origin. Beginning with Tawny’s appointment to the Supreme court by Andrew Jackson, the country has accepted different quite well. The main reason for apprehension today with the entry of many into areas not historically represented by certain minorities, is whether they carry an inordinate amount of undesirable baggage from their historical backgrounds. Some of the political and social constructs that some retain are antithetical to the American political process. One of our congressional members of first generation immigration has expressed amazement that being in a majority political position did not confer automatic authority to enact legislation without consideration of other views. This attitude has also had its influence in the business and social spheres and remains one of the significant reasons for taking a closer look at how the process is affected by belief systems that are not tested and accepted in this country.

  9. Would everyone be interested in Amy Wax talking to the Brown Pundits Podcast (BP)?

    What is the solution to persuade young Indian American and Jewish females who perform academically at the top, career wise at the top, business wise at the top, wealth wise at the top not to go woke?

    These young Indian American females tend to hate their families, ancestors, India, civilization, culture, faith more than they hate the USA. I am told this is similarly true of young rich Jewish girls who go woke.

    1. doesn’t hypergamy and female desire for variety in gene pool (multiple partners with varied races) explain it? For males, the answer is be more Alpha, Omega rather than beta.

      1. I just don’t see this phenomena unique to those groups because of the ethnic/religious compositional upbringing in and of itself. Lowry says this too.

        They just happen to be overrepresented. This is a status game. Nothing else. Virtue signal and get popularity points. Yes, there is an element of leftist woke brainwashing present. And confirmation bias affects people pretty broadly, regardless of IQ. But like I stated above, even white woman are attempting to do this stuff. They get away with it less because they have more “privilege points” in that world. Women from the islamic world, regardless of race, are less deracinated towards Islam on average, at least in the woke circles, because it is viewed as a religion of the “oppressed.” Hanging onto this narrative helps them a lot. So you won’t get the same “betrayal” of their upbringing group because it isn’t politically beneficial to be that way.

        1. I mentioned women in general prefer to breed with high earning + high status men preferably from different ethnic group to increase genetic fitness of offspring. Men from these 2 groups have the highest income but do not have commensurate social status. Hence the over representation of women from these 2 groups.
          The general increase in wokeness is explained by first sentence. For me this parsimonious explanation is sufficient.

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