I frequently recoil at articles about race in the US written by Indians who qualify because of color – hair, skin, and eyes – but little else. Many Indians speak good English, are highly educated (I know it’s a stereotype, but true), wealthy and don’t give a rat’s ass about other “poor immigrants or minorities” here. We, and I include myself here, are delighted we have made ourselves a comfortable nest egg, enjoy “snowboarding and crossword puzzles” (actually I prefer skiing!), and can afford the frequent trips to India where we still feel at home. We have our cake and we delight in eating it.
We have a superiority complex regarding other South Asians, our closest brethren. Bangladeshis? They deserve our sympathy, poor things. Pakistanis? Thank God the US has finally recognized they are Al Queda in disguise. Nepalis? Naah, just a small tribe up north. Sri Lankans? I do want to visit their quaint island where my US dollars would be welcome.
A friend of mine who lives in Calcutta was at Harvard Business school many years ago. He told me the story about how, during orientation, he proceeded to tell a fellow HBS student, an African American, that “discrimination” in the US was not a big deal, he’d never experienced much beyond skin color and where are you from? curiosity. His fellow student shut him up. Told him he was an arrogant asshole in an elite school who hadn’t a clue, and should go back to India and eff himself.
90% of Indians here have never experienced the wrenching violence of deep poverty or discrimination. 99% are middle-upper class Hindu or Muslim. 100% discriminate unconsciously and often benignly against Dalits (the lowest caste Hindu) when they visit India.
I am reminded of the old SNL Chico Escuela character who’s punch line was “America been belly belly good to me”!