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How Brahmins lead the fight against white privilege Upper-class Indians are prominent in America's radical racial politics despite centuries of privilege

An Indian woman joins diverse nationals in becoming a US citizen. South Asians in the US tend to be highly educated and wealthy. Photo credit should read DAVID LA SPINA/AFP via Getty Images

An Indian woman joins diverse nationals in becoming a US citizen. South Asians in the US tend to be highly educated and wealthy. Photo credit should read DAVID LA SPINA/AFP via Getty Images


September 17, 2020   5 mins

Saira Rao is an exemplar of her generation, a famous and somewhat notorious Indian-American woman among the ‘very online’ set. An erstwhile Democratic politician two years ago, by the start of the year Rao had become an anti-racist activist best known for regularly trending on Twitter and charging white women $2,500 to harangue them on matters of race over dinner and drinks. Rao is also co-author of the forthcoming White Women: Everything You Already Know about Your Own Racism and How to Get Better, after securing a deal with major publishing house Penguin Random House.

She is very good at what she does. But, then, making money runs in Rao’s family — as it does with many Indian activists in the United States, who have become leaders in the battle against ‘white supremacy’.

Though it is true that in many ways Rao is atypical, and almost a caricature of the sort of activist found on social media, she reflects important visible strands of the Indian-American experience. The daughter of upper-caste southern Indian immigrants to the United States, her parents were doctors, which is not exceptional since nearly one out of every 20 doctors in the United States is of Indian origin, and somewhere in the region of one in 20 Indian Americans has a medical degree.

Not surprisingly, the median Indian-American household income is nearly twice that of white Americans, and as well as medicine many others are in prestigious, highly-paid industry — including Sara Rao’s husband, who works in finance and private equity.

Across the English-speaking world, and in particular the United States, people of Indian origin, and South Asians more broadly, are becoming more culturally influential. This is quite a turnaround; in the 1980s the most prominent person of South Asian origin depicted in American pop culture was Ben Jabituya in the Short Circuit sequel, played by Fisher Stevens, a white actor. Today, in contrast, there is an embarrassment of riches: comedians such as Aziz Ansari and Mindy Kaling; politicians such as Kamala Harris and Nikki Haley; television doctors such as Sanjay Gupta.

Though there are many examples of Indian Americans on the political Right, namely Haley, Ajit Pai or Seema Verma in the Trump administration, most of the public figures today are Democrats. Pramila Jayapal is a hard-left member of the Democratic Party representing a district in Washington state; though her colleague Ro Khanna represents Silicon Valley, and began his career as a member of the pro-business faction of the party, he also co-chaired Bernie Sanders’s recent campaign for President; Sanders’s campaign manager was Faiz Shakir, a Pakistani-American. Indian-American adjacent, as it were.

The Center for American Progress, the major Democrat-leaning think-tank in Washington, D.C., is led by an Indian-American, Neera Tanden, while Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s long-time influential chief of staff was Saikat Chakrabarti, who left to head Left-wing pressure groups in the party.

This lopsided representation among political elites is reflected in voting patterns: in 2016 just 16% of Indian-Americans voted for Donald Trump, even though they are on average economically advanced and have high educational attainment. In the private sector, and unlike East Asians, people of South Asian origin are not underrepresented in managerial positions.

There is a reason that many are wont to call Indians the “new Jews,” a culturally prominent ethnic group overrepresented in academia, media and business, and who tend to be socially liberal and Democrat-voting.

This liberalism extends to attitudes on race. Bracketed as “Asians,” Indian-Americans are subject to the same discrimination in selective higher education as other Asians, but on the whole have not led opposition to the practice — which is largely the result of attempts to increase African-American representation on campus.

Black Americans have a very distinctive identity on the US landscape, as do Native Americans. Though the Latino/Hispanic category was only created in 1970, it alludes to a sharply delimited group of people with origins in Central and South America. But as brown-skinned people who are Asian-Americans, Indians occupy a grey zone in America’s racial taxonomy, categorised in the same bracket as Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. This has often led to some perverse scenarios within the country’s complex racial politics and its hierarchy of oppression.

Saira Rao grew up in wealthy Richmond, Virginia, and went to the elite University of Virginia, then New York University law school, and even wrote a novel published in 2007 while she was clerking for a judge. By all rights, she is the child of modest privilege, with little to distinguish her from her upper-middle-class peers.

But Rao, like many Indian-Americans, is also a scion of centuries of privilege in India. Private survey research indicates that 25% of Indian-Americans are Brahmin, the highest caste in Hindu society — who comprise less than 5% of people back at home. Virtually no Indian-Americans are Dalits, who in India are 15% of the population, and today receive affirmative action due to centuries of oppression.

Compared to class differences in western countries, caste barriers in India are enormous and ingrained, and genetic studies indicate that they go back 1,500 years. To the Indian-American upper-middle-class privilege is bestowed as a family heirloom, far older and more ingrained than the white variety.

But in 21st-century America we do not talk much about class. We talk about race. When “black and brown” is used as an incantation it is not surprising that many young Indians are attracted to the idea that they, too, are among the wretched of the earth.

So you see young people of a bronze shade with names such as Iyer, Mukherjee and Tripathi, claiming for themselves the centuries of oppression and trauma of others, American history adopted and co-opted. They decry white supremacy which confirmed upon their ancestors’ their ancient ritual purity during the colonial period — for the forefathers of these Iyers, Mukherjees and Tripathis were the rural landowners of British India; they were the Indians who manned the colonial civil service. But before that, their privileges went back centuries, long before the United States existed and indeed even before England or France emerged.

American history is unique, and its own “caste system” is racially inflected into a bipolar framework: black or white. Only in the past few decades have terms such as “people of colour” allowed for the assimilation of other minorities, whether it be Latino, Native American or Asian. But while black Americans have a particular history, other minorities are diverse in their experiences. What does an Asian-American child of Hmong refugees have in common with the Asian-American child of Indian doctors? And yet both grow up in a world defined by slavery, the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

Young Indian-Americans can easily identify themselves as people of colour, because in the American social landscape what matters is their brown complexion, not thousands of years of hereditary caste privilege. And while America has a rich textured vocabulary to talk about race, it has little in the way of discussion on the matter of class. Indian-American professionals can neglect their own privilege while highlighting their racial disadvantage because that is how the American cultural system is set up.

It is a system that benefits them on many levels, since as well-prepared meritocrats they are equipped and conditioned to optimise any advantages and arbitrage away inefficiencies. It is natural that the language of systemic racism designed for the black American experience can easily be leveraged by verbally-gifted members of the professional-managerial class who happen to have brown skin.

Saira Rao is a lawyer; her stock and trade are words. Though among Indian-Americans it is widely debated whether she is sincere or an opportunist, the fact is that an American system emphasising racial identity in a Manichaean conflict between whites and people of colour will naturally create strong incentives for some to exploit it.

Upper-caste Indian-Americans who descend from centuries of privilege, and grow up in American suburban comfort, do not need to face up to the consideration of class, because American culture as a whole does not engage economic inequality forthrightly and directly. As long as it focuses only on social ills with a racial origin, and sees the world in such black and white terms, then people with hundreds of years of privilege behind them will continue to lead the wretched of the earth.


Razib Khan is a geneticist. He has written for The New York Times, India Today and Quillette, and runs two weblogs, Gene Expression and Brown Pundits. His newsletter is Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning


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polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago

It must be upsetting coming to another country only to find that your innate superiority is not recognised by the locals.

jcarltonlindsay
jcarltonlindsay
3 years ago

Innate superiority?! How?

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

Read the article.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago

Dear Brahmins,

Check your privilege.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Downvoted by an Indian. Brahim no doubt.

Shiju Varghese
Shiju Varghese
2 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Rao is not a Tamil name. She’s from either Andhra Pradesh or Telengana!

ben vad
ben vad
1 year ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

The nerve of these people such as Saira Rao is utterly contemptible.

Danji Thotapalli
Danji Thotapalli
1 year ago
Reply to  ben vad

She could be fictional

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

More fools the white women paying to be harangued.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

It’s a kind of mental masochism; if that’s what rocks their boat then I have no problem with how they choose to spend their money.

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago

Very interesting and honest piece.Begs the question how long will Indian Americans(and others) continue to make common cause with BLM through the Democrats given that 1) as pointed out by the author they are on the receiving end of affirmative action discrimination in HE and 2) BLM is essentially anarchic. Block after burning block can’t be good for business.In the UK Indians have spurned the Labour Party. There are several reasons for this – 1) their economic advancement 2) Labour’s support for Pakistan over Kashmir 3) IMO – the “Rotherham” effect where Indian heritage Sikh and Hindu girls have suffered alongside young indigenous girls – and families. Labour has turned a blind eye to these atrocities, in part for electoral advantage.

Neil John
Neil John
3 years ago

Brahmins in the UK are virtually unaffected by the “Rotherham” effect, they lead very separate lives from the lower castes, often in large houses in very high priced areas, funded by renting hovel HMO’s to those lower castes, Or even more profitably to s-too-dense whom they rob at every opportunity using deposit monies to boost profits tax free into the bargain, their involvement in the legal ‘profession’ being used to great effect, and often covering other forms of soliciting as well. Attacking the host countries people comes easily to them, Gopal is a prime example of their racism in UK academia. As a confirmed Dalit I may be biased.

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil John

interesting, thanks

jcarltonlindsay
jcarltonlindsay
3 years ago

Several studies convey “only 7% of the BLM protests involved any violence, and in those cities with violence….it was confined to a block or two.
Why do you all stereotype other people soooo much?!
BLM is NOT anarchic.

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago

Why do you all stereotype other people soooo much?!”
The idiocy of people driven by emotive resentment know no bounds.
How long are we going to keep holding black people to the tyranny of low intellectual standards, and giving them a pass before we say enough it enough? It’s to think like intelligent, rational people who understand not all white people are the same or accountable for what happened to your relatives.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
3 years ago

Thank you Razib. I have felt for many years that the import of other cultures will only exacerbate inequalities. Keeping class out of the argument appears to be how this is achieved. I like the synchronicity of The Untouchables and The Deplorables to back my view that it has always been the colour of your money that counts and not the colour of your skin. I believe that to be far closer to the truth than anyone dares admit.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Indians such as these Brahmins tend to turn up on time. work hard, and believe that 2 + 2 = 4. Or they start companies. Thus, according to CRT they embody and display ‘white behaviour’. And in doing so, many of them become prosperous. They had better watch out because the CRT mob will soon come for them.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If they do come for us, then they’ll be meeting a host of people unwilling to bend. One would hope that any right thinking person would be there to join us in fighting the idiocy of CRT.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Perhaps, but I am entering the “buy popcorn” phase of political discourse.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

It is difficult. I appreciate that not all people of one type can be judged to be the same, but if the people mentioned in the article above are perceived as representing the whole group and they are turned on by the CRT there will be many who consider it poetic justice and, being unable to sort the wheat from the chaff, will allow you to suffer.I have Muslim friends. Should anything kick off in the way of, for want of a better word, backlash here, I would probably find myself fighting to defend them from those who would see them as part of that section that is causing problems. I have struggled to word this, please excuse any unintentional offence in trying to explain my point.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  J A Thompson

Completely get where you’re coming from man. Those who are part of this CRT nonsense I think are in the minority, many of the brahmins I know despise identity politics and value getting ahead in life through hard work. We left the caste system behind when we left India, we don’t want it following us here.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Thank you. My muslim friends have similar outlook.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
3 years ago

Another example of the left ruining everything. Mrs Rao should be handed a copy of The Ivory Throne and shown how a Brahmin/Nair can fight inequality without ruining other peoples’ lives.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
3 years ago

I would aver that it is not the left, or the right that are at fault (I’m middleish myself) but rather the selfish and greedy who will use and abuse any ideology to enrich themselves, with little regard to the lives of others. But I’m probably nit picking, and In principle, I agree.

cbarclay
cbarclay
3 years ago

Most top US universities have pass rates dependent on race. Asian students need to score higher than whites, whites than Latinos and Latinos higher than African-Americans. This means that a lower test score is required for an African-American who spent his or her entire education in expensive private schools to get into Harvard etc than for an ethnic Indian or Chinese student who grew up in a home where English was a second language and who struggled through the public school system. So much for Brown-Black solidarity. Then there is the refusal by most African-Americans to recognise Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang as people of colour, when they stood for the Democratic nomination. To most African-Americans a successful person of Indian or Chinese ethnicity is white.

Liz Jones
Liz Jones
3 years ago

Meanwhile Jews are allocated a ‘white’ identity despite the majority coming from places where the gentile population of the same places being described as coming from ‘brown’ countries!

Frederick B
Frederick B
3 years ago
Reply to  Liz Jones

Yes, it’s odd isn’t it?. Syrians, Lebanese etc, often look as white as southern Europeans but, nevertheless, are “people of colour”. Jews, largely of the same stock, are not “people of colour” . Mind you, they do have a lot of white ancestry, mainly on the female side – those slave markets in Rome must have been very useful for a young man newly arrived from Judea with coins in his pocket but no woman.

michael harris
michael harris
3 years ago

One reason that Brahmins are overrepresented in the American managerial/intellectual class is that in South India (the Madras Presidency to be exact) they were subjected from the 1930s on to a quota system in higher education. This was brought about by the local democratically elected assembly (set up of course by the dastardly British) whose majority came from the Justice Party, an anti Brahmin, anti Hindi language party whose descendant groups have ruled Tamil Nadu since Independence. Brahmins in Tamil Nadu then sent their kids abroad to study – mostly to the US.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  michael harris

How very interesting, thank you.
Are Brahmins evenly distributed across the sub-continent, or are they concentrated in local pockets?

You also perhaps imply they somewhat resented the British Raj, or have I misinterpreted that?

michael harris
michael harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Mark, the other quota system that the Justice Party established for Brahmins was in government jobs. Brahmins, with centuries of literacy behind them, held a large share of state jobs underneath the British. Sen Harris’ grandfather was one such officeholder.
Brahmins live everywhere in India. Village Brahmins are often quite poor. V.S. Naipaul’s family took indentured labour in Trinidad over staying in rural Uttar Pradesh.
Some resented the Crown Raj, some got along, some strove to replace
it, ie Nehru.
The loss of Brahmin status, when it rarely happens, is final and damning. Back in the 4th century BC, when the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism, many Brahmins followed him. But, unhappily, Buddhism did not outlast Ashoka in the Empire and the ex Brahmins were stranded. They form a separate local caste – the Bhumipars – in the state of Bihar. And they are sporadically fighting caste wars against ‘lower’ groups in the countryside.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  michael harris

Thank you for a fascinating response!

I have heard it said that Nehru may not have been a ‘proper’ Brahmin, scurrilous propaganda, no doubt.
Do we know the origin of the Brahmin caste, or is it just too mythological?

I see that Sen Harris is described as an African-American, presumably to avoid any Brahmin ‘contamination’?

Do we know much about how the Brahmins behaved during the Mutiny. Presumably most were on ‘our’ side for all too obvious reasons?

Simon Davies
Simon Davies
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

High Caste Hindus (Brahmins and Rajputs) formed the backbone of the EIC’s Bengal army and it was this army that was the main centre of the mutiny so they definitely weren’t on our side.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Davies

I rather thought not, and thank you for confirming my suspicions.

Douglas McCabe
Douglas McCabe
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

As far as I know, it was the Aryans from South Central Asia, conquerors of much of India, who set up the caste system, with themselves, naturally, being the highest caste – the Brahmins. The lowest caste was reserved for the Dalits, or Untouchables, who were the poorest of the conquered peoples. Even today, the Untouchables often have to eke out an existence doing unpaid work in rural villages,their only reward being the uneaten food of higher caste families. The Aryans also bequeathed their language to India, and other Aryan tribes colonised Westward, giving us the Indo-European languages.
I’m not a historian, so some of this may be questioned.

Shiju Varghese
Shiju Varghese
2 years ago
Reply to  Douglas McCabe

Yes you’re no historian. The Aryan Invasion Theory is fast being debunked and you may find this discussion illuminating.

https://youtu.be/CUgoCNtldcQ

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Perhaps Mr Razib Khan could enlighten us as to whether these Brahmin fellows are genetically different in any way from the rest?

After 1500 years of almost incestuous copulation, there must be?Is there anything in the physiognomy or colouring for example?

To most Englishman they (Brahmins) are forever associated with the habit of widow burning or ‘sati’/’suttee’, which was almost stamped out under the Raj, but now I gather, is having a belated revival.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

A caste that intermarries and has centuries of privilege is non-distinct from a race, ro be honest.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Therefore the analogy with the Jews is somewhat ‘wide of the mark’?

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Article says that genetic differences go back 1500 years as regards caste barriers. It’s as if the Normans had never intermarried with the English population, indeed they didn’t for a century or so.

That ghastly woman Gopal at Cambridge must be a Brahim, apparently she was the daughter of an Indian diplomat, historically stacked with caste privilege. Her forebears doubtless ran India for the British as the article says

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

You are perfectly correct, that ‘malignant butterfly’, Gopal is a Brahmin and her forebears certainly helped us run the Raj, although they were never allowed into the ‘ Club’, for all too obvious
reasons.

The current advisor to the Scottish administration on this C-19 nonsense, one Devi Sridhar is also probably one .

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

You are perfectly correct, that ‘malignant butterfly’, Gopal is a Brahmin and her forebears certainly helped us run the Raj, although they were never allowed into the ‘ Club’, for all too obvious
reasons.

The current advisor to the Scottish administration on this C-19 nonsense, whose name I cannot mention (outlawed by the Censor four times) is also of the same persuasion I think you will find.

cambridge123456789
cambridge123456789
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Yes. This video explains it https://youtu.be/lYBCY9tOcrw

Douglas McCabe
Douglas McCabe
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

You will observe that in Northern areas of India the most common shape of head is relatively square, the Omar Sharif shape, that has a distinctly ‘European’ look. Whereas in the lower half of India the shape of the head is much rounder and looks smaller. I imagine that this could well be a genetic inheritance from the Aryan invaders, who were from Central Europe.

Shiju Varghese
Shiju Varghese
2 years ago
Reply to  Douglas McCabe

Please view this and you may learn something useful. https://youtu.be/CUgoCNtldcQ

Drew
Drew
3 years ago

One book. One required read.

Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Just tried to get it. Not currently for sale on Amazon “Under review” Why, one wonders!

Drew
Drew
3 years ago
Reply to  J A Thompson

Yes, the copies are rare. I bought 50 back in the 90’s to give away to friends. If only I had held onto them. They’re fetching quite the price nowadays. But it can be found online. If your French is up to scratch, you can still find reasonably priced copies.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Thanks

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Yes, I read it a couple of years ago. And it is all coming true.

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

There was a programme entitled “The March” 30 years ago

“A group of several thousand Africans migrate westward across northern
Africa and sail across the Strait of Gibraltar to Europe. Their message
is: “We are poor because you are rich”

They landed in France or Spain, I remember expecting a robust security response – which was not forthcoming, the army/police just let them pass through without let or hindrance

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
3 years ago

A great article. I have been wondering when someone would call out the hypocrisy of those such as Rao.
Perhaps more people should read A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry. A great novel in which the writer exposes the misfortunes, discrimination, oppressions and the endless sufferings of the Dalits in India after Independence at the hands of the upper castes raised not to empathise or do much about the plight of those who live in abject poverty. After all, that is their karma they are living out.
Travel in India and you will see it with you own eyes. It is ten years since I was there and perhaps things are beginning to change for the better for the Dalit community although there is little evidence of it.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
3 years ago

it’s pretty common for the first wave of immigrants to do very well. It’s often highly qualified people migrating to get well paid jobs in medicine or business. The kids of such people are far more likely to found business and go to college themselves too.
If the US, or any country for that matter, dropped the requirement for valued skills in (legal) migrants and allowed in the unskilled and poor then the average wage for that nationality would plummet. The well paid would be diluted by large numbers of minimum wage labourers and squeegee merchants etc.

Gargi
Gargi
3 years ago

If we cant fight the crazy destructive mob, lets just direct at someone else, right?
Unherd has buckled to the woke-lunacy and published a piece which works the woke’s twisted story onto some other group and paints them as a target: ‘there are those who are worse than the whites and they should be receiving this awful treatment. Choose a different target!’.
‘Not us! But them! Dont do it onto us, do it onto them!’ Yay! Well done Khan!

Lets forget all about merit, competence and hardwork. Who cares about incompetent doctors as long as we get the woke-quotas right, right?

Defending the whites by shoving brahmins to the foreground does not require courage or intelligence. Indians have been attacking the brahmins for atleast 70 years now. And the British and the missionaries for centuries before them (not to mention the muslim rulers before the British who slaughterd the Brahmins).So, Khan is just another in the long line of well established anti-brahminism. Even Khan’s argument is not new: Brahmins didnt marry other people and usually married other brahmins. Yeah. So? Beacons of freedom now are going to judge who marries whom?

The fact that there are rich brown people encashing on the current lunacy is nothing new. There are people of all classes and colours encashing on this madness and other suffering everywhere. But you cannot solve this situation by painting the target on another group.

And all the people applauding this in the comments: you are not even seeing how the current climate of lunacy is creeping on you. Is your skin all you care about while protesting the woke?

Confidential Communications
Confidential Communications
3 years ago

Excellent article highlighting the hypocrisies and greed of human beings. I, a US domiciled brahmin by birth, put this honest paragraph in a writing to my alma mater: “I was an untypical graduate student at that time. Most foreign students came from decently wealthy & connected families[1]. Their goal is to get the coveted degree from abroad while enjoying their life in the host country and take life one day at a time. Circumstances beyond my control – demise of dad at an early age — would dictate that I could not dream of getting into a college even in India. In fact, I was forced to change the school, city and the language of instruction for science subjects twice in the final year of my high school. Still, I conditioned myself that I belonged to what is known as the Indian upper-class Brahmin family (my first two initials representing my family name come from a nationally well-known person) with ready access to information (on how to move up in life and succeed) and not from a slum with no access to anything  and I need to fight back to get what God took away.
Having said that, few questions to you Mr. Khan: 1. Do you come from a wheatish complexioned upper-class moslem family with all the princely privileges or the much darker local moslems of the foot soldiers tribe? Why not include your own side biases as well? That seems to be the problem (and perhaps that goes with the human ability to deflect) everywhere. A rightist blames the leftist and vice versa. A person with centrist thoughts and willing to look at the shortcomings of both sides (aka, persons like me) become a no-persona (you are not in our network; so you are our enemy) and lose all the chances for moving up (beyond what ones credentials indicate)!
[1] But most Indians will claim that they came from a poor family and walked five miles to school and have to cross the river on the way with books and their dress on their head!

Aditya Mishra
Aditya Mishra
1 year ago

I’m the so called Brahmin and this article is so on point ! The hereditary privilege is so ingrained that the kids growing up in these households do not realise that their problems are first world problems even though they live in a third world country and this speaks volumes! It took me my teens to unlearn all the brainwash and i don’t know why people say it’s so hard, its basic common sense; the divison of people based on their circumstances of birth should not exist. I love Pokemon and there’s this quote that haa stuck with me, “ I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It’s what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are”.

Aditya Mishra
Aditya Mishra
1 year ago

I’m the so called Brahmin and this article is so on point ! The hereditary privilege is so ingrained that the kids growing up in these households do not realise that their problems are first world problems even though they live in a third world country and this speaks volumes! It took me my teens to unlearn all the brainwash and i don’t know why people say it’s so hard, its basic common sense; the divison of people based on their circumstances of birth should not exist. I love Pokemon and there’s this quote that haa stuck with me, “ I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It’s what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are”.

anand.cns
anand.cns
3 years ago

Thank you for the important article. I am Indian IT Professional who used to work in U.S particularly in the Santa Clara and can totally understand what your talking about. In the Bay Area where i used to live, Indian Americans were the most well off.
Regarding brahmanism; It is such an entrenched problem in Indian society that it needs a whole different discussion and what you point about the percentage of “higher” caste people is just an extension of issues in India.
On a lighter note as far as I understand US politics it is weird that majority Indians are democratic; I mean Indian kids dont need affirmative action to get into top colleges; Indians would prefer lower taxes;

Gargi
Gargi
3 years ago

this article just tries to curry favour with the whites by trying to direct the destructive lunatic mob at a different group. Nothing new or interesting: old and established anti-brahminism. And as usual the problem is the fact that they dont marry others, succeed and work hard, and refuse to die out.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
3 years ago
Reply to  Gargi

Curry favour, I see what you did there.

Glyn Reed
Glyn Reed
3 years ago
Reply to  Gargi

No the problem is that some of them, despite benefitting from obvious privilege, are laying claim to questionable victimhood.

Kishore Kumar
Kishore Kumar
1 month ago
Reply to  Gargi

nah, I am Indian, and I’m sick and tired of Brahmins pretending to be woke and discriminated. They are the white people of India, super privileged, and make up the majority demographic of Indian diaspora that emigrated. They are worse than 99% of republicans when it comes to social conservatism, yet do the black flag, blm, and the whole nine yards – including lording over their brownness to scam white people.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago

3500 years ago Aryan people moved south into Europe, Persia and India from which Indo-Aryan langauges developed. Consequently, Greek and Sanskrit are related. Britons were able to learn sanskrit and Persian because they knew Greek. Southern Indian languages, Dravidian, such as Tamil and Malayalam are not related to Indo Aryan and are much older. The present Hindu system developed 3500 years ago and was overlain on older beliefs.

Muslim conquered India from 1000 AD and by about 1700 AD had kiled 88M hindus according to KS Lal the historian- just examine the actions of Timur the lame and Babur. Hindus provided administrators for the Moghul Empire. However, the Moghul Empire collapsed from 1700 AD. By the 1750s , the East India Company were appointed tax farmers by the Moghuls for Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Early 19th century English became the language of administration rather tha Persian which was the language of the Muslim Moghul Empire. Britain set many schools and universities from the 1830s and far more higher cast Hindus, especially Brahmins took advantage compared to Muslims . When competetive exams became the method of entrance to the indian Civil service, Bar, Medical School, Army, Railways and Police, the higher cast Hindus rapidly progressed which worried many Muslims. Britain enabled the pen to become mightier than the sword which benefitted the Hindus over the Muslims, The Brahmin over the Untouchable and the Northern Aryan speaker over the southern Dravidian speaker.

A significant reason for Jinnah demanding a separate state was because the Hindus dominated the senior echelons of government, business, The Law and Medicine and were dominant majority which meant in a democracy the would have power. Muslims had a disproportionate percentage in the Army as many came from warrior groups such as The Pushtuns. The INC was largely an upper middle class higher Hindu cast non- military organisation.

British rule enabled higher Cast Hindus to gain power in India from the previous Muslim rulers. Many Muslim rulers of the princely State such as Hyderabad did not want to join India but were forced to do so.

When people start complaining about privilege I think it is an attempt to hide their own comfortable past. It is the intellectual equivalent of Willie John McBride’s dictum of ” Get the retaliation in first “,

After religious tests were removed in the 1830s , the only requirements for entry to education was ability to pass exams and pay the fees; Nehru went to Harrow School in 1905 and afterwards to Trinity College, Cambridge.

conatus58
conatus58
3 years ago

Why are Indian Americans considered ‘socially disadvantaged’ for set-asides by the US Government if they are ‘the richest and most successful ethnic group in the USA?

Under the entry ‘Indian American’ in Wikipedia
Household income

The median household income for Indian immigrants in 2015 was much higher than that of the overall foreign- and native-born populations. Households headed by Indian immigrants had a median income of $101,591,compared to $51,000 and $56,000 for overall immigrant and native-born households, respectively. By far they are the richest and most successful ethnic group in the USA due to many factors including relatively low wages for highly skilled workers in India which creates an incentive for highly skilled Indians to seek better-paid career opportunities overseas.

Approximately 7% of Indian immigrants lived in poverty in 2015, a much lower rate
than the foreign-born population overall and the U.S.born (17 percent
and 14 percent, respectively).[57]

Yet the US Government considers Indians to be ‘socially disadvantaged’ in 13 Code of Federal Regulations 103.124?

(b) Members of designated groups.
(1) There is a rebuttable presumption that the following individuals are socially disadvantaged: Black Americans; Hispanic Americans; Native
Americans(Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, or enrolled members of a
Federally or State recognized Indian Tribe); Asian Pacific Americans
(persons with origins from Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia,
Singapore, Brunei,Japan, China (including Hong Kong), Taiwan, Laos,
Cambodia (Kampuchea),Vietnam, Korea, The Philippines, U.S. Trust
Territory of the Pacific
Islands (Republic of Palau), Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated
States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,
Guam, Samoa, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru);
Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal); and
members of other groups designated from time to time by SBA according to
procedures set forth at paragraph (d)
of this section. Being born in a country does not, by itself, suffice
to make the birth country an individual’s country of origin for purposes
of being included within a designated group.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

Saira Rao is a lawyer; her stock and trade are words

Stock-in-trade, not stock and trade!
(Though the context of the sentence this “eggcorn” appeared in made me smile.)