October 18, 2007

Desism Vs. Racism

I guess its a quotation day. This time its from magazine India-Currents. Aditi Nadkarni wrote a wonderful article "The Racism in Desism". Unfortunately, I couldn't find the link for the article so I took liberty of typing out the excerpts:
We Indians love labels, don't we? And I don't mean Guccis and Pradas. I mean labels for people, of both Indian and non-Indian origin...

We are desis in foreign country. India-Americans raised in the United States are promptly tagged ABCDs (American Born Confused Desis). And for a certain populations of desis, the chinese become "Chinkis", African-American become "Kallus", and white people become "Goras". We see nothing wrong in making casual use of these names. We permit ourselves to do the very thing that would likely offend us if we were on the receiving end. If one were to ever refer to us as "brownies" or, even more disturbingly, as "rag heads", we would be screaming "racism!" from the rooftops.

Racism is ill defined within the Indian community. I have come across people who think that only the discrimination on part of white people is racist. Their own discrimination behavior, however, is permissible.

...Then there is the even more disturbing regional bias among Indian themselves....(The) groups of Indians not only stuck together due to language and cultural commonalities, but also at times claimed superiority based on their regional backgrounds. A friend once joked that the "unity-in-diversity" attribute of India was likely preserved not because of tolerance, but because selective communal groups allowed one ample opportunity to avoid the miscellany and stick to one's pack.

It is quite insightful article. I wish I could find the link to original article.


  1. Indian-American Raised but not borned in United states are also called FOB (Fresh off the boat)...and what about "Sand-Ass-Nigger" (another term i have heard "brownie" people being called)....I agree So called Reverse-Racism does exist..I do it sometimes (Confession time!) I called them Goras... oh yeah...so called "Sectorism" I have few dudes from southern and northen india and i get harassed(nothing serious fun manner) from being western part of india and half-confused so called"American"..man i have tough life..(just kidding)..
    you brought up great points...isnt it funny how people Misinterpret things for their own convinience!!!!!

  2. Hey everything is alright if you do it, you are just kidding...hmmm western India..so you are Gujju or marathi? Hey I need to put a label on you too....

  3. :) Lets sum it up. Your post implies all's a case of pot calling the kettle black ! :o)

  4. In a nutshell yes but the trouble is that pot doesn't realize that its black. Someone has to buy him a mirror!!

  5. Hi Richa,

    I noticed that you wanted the link to my original article. A quick Google search for India Currents Aditi Nadkarni will result in the original link to my article titled "The Racism In Desism". You can use these links to reference the article.

    Glad you liked the article and hope it provides plenty food for discussion and thought.


    -Aditi Nadkarni

  6. Thanks Aditi!

    It was a big surprise to see you here. Believe it or not, your article's excerpt has been one of the most popular post (according to google analytics,anyways).

    The article very accurately described what I have been feeling ever since I arrived here. Somehow we (Indians, in general) are far more closed and rigid than I was led to believe by our history books. Anyway, great article. I will be looking forward to more articles like that in India Currents.

    Thanks for dropping by.