- Rousseau and the republicanization of money Oliver Weber, JHIBlog
- Model minorities and the Japanese-American experience Nathaniel Sumimoto, Current Affairs
- The uneasy afterlife of “A Confederacy of Dunces” Tom Bissell, New Yorker
- 10 deadliest riots in American history RealClearHistory
[This is from my inbox, by Vishnu Modur. I reproduce it here with his permission – BC]
This Atlantic article got me thinking. As an Indian national in the U.S., I would like to make a limited point about some (definitely not all) Indian Americans. In my interactions with some Indian Americans, the topic of India induces, if you will, a conflicting worldview. India —the developing political state—is often belittled in some very crude ways, using some out-of-context recent western parallels by mostly uninformed but emboldened Indian Americans.
Just mention Indian current affairs, and some of these well-assimilated Indian Americans quickly toss out their culturally informed, empathetic, anti-racist, historically contingent-privilege rhetoric to conveniently take on a sophisticated “self-made” persona, implying a person who ticked all the right boxes in life by making it in the U.S. This reflexive attitude reversal comes in handy to patronize Indians living in India. They often stereotype us as somehow lower in status or at least less competent owing to the lack of an advanced political state or an ”American” experience—therefore deficient in better ways of living and a higher form of ”humanistic” thinking.
This possibly unintentional but ultimately patronizing competence-downshift by a section of Indian Americans results in pejorative language to sketch generalizations about Indian society even as they recognize the same language as racist when attributed to American colored minorities.
In the last decade, I have learned that one must always take those who openly profess to be do-gooders, culturally conscious, anti-racist, and aware of their privileged Indian American status as a contingency of history with a bucket load of salt. Never take these self-congratulatory labels at face value. Discuss the topic of India with them to check if Indian contexts are easily overlooked. If they do, then obviously, these spectacular self-congratulatory labels are just that — skin-deep tags to fit into the dominant cultural narrative in the U.S.
Words of the economist Pranab Bardhan are worth highlighting: “Whenever you find yourself thinking that some behavior you observe in a developing country is stupid, think again. People behave the way they do because they are rational. And if you think they are stupid, it’s because you have failed to recognize a fundamental feature of their current economic environment.”
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- Remembering Qassem Soleimani Rasha Al Aqeedi, Newlines
- The despair of normative realism bot Joe Carlsmith, Hands and Cities
- Tory (conservative) Brexit supporters are against Scottish independence BBC
- I often wonder what I’d do with my billions Stuart Emmrich, Vogue
- Paul Romer, the World Bank, and Angus Deaton’s critique of effective altruism Nick Cowen, NOL
- Blame the states for the vaccine rollout disaster Tyler Cowen, MR
- A silhouette of utopia (pdf) Aaron McKeil, International Politics
- Globalization: a breakthrough in ancient Greek thought Andrey Kortunov, RIAC
- Was 2020 a bad year? Bryan Caplan, EconLog
- Was 2020 a good year? Scott Sumner, MoneyIllusion
- 2020 was a good year Charli Carpenter, Duck of Minerva
- Albert Camus and imperial nostalgia Oliver Gloag (interview), Jacobin
- The true meaning of Christmas is a cozy American worldview Paul Musgrave, Foreign Policy
- The Christmas truce of 1914 Joseph Eanett, War on the Rocks
- Is cord-cutting still worth it? Stephen Silver, 19FortyFive
- Merry Christmas!