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The subconscious Factor or something else? Part II

CONTINUED ….

Despite witnessing these troubled times and being the butt of discrimination themselves, these immigrants overcame adversity in a country that may not have welcomed them and tried to see the good in people. The discrimination was on many fronts – color of their skin, the way they talked (the accent), the clothes they wore, the food they ate, and/or their religion, but alas, they adapted and overcame and in a way, “melted” into society. I find it hard to believe that these same Americans would even consider voting for McCain. Is it simply for economics? Are these Indian-Americans federalists (because McCain is no federalist if you look at his record)? Or, do they just like that this guy? What is it that drives these retirees or soon to be retirees to vote for this man?

I did not want to consider it but the ugly truth hit me in the face when my mom said something during the RNC – “Cindy McCain is so much more a lady than Obama’s wife” – yikers! Could they be in love with the white image? The blonde-haired, blue-eyed all-American girl married to the WASP fighter pilot maverick, jock? Of course, these are the same people who disliked Hillary because she is outspoken, domineering, and kicks ass – just not very lady like. After all, her place to be quiet and sweet – clap on command for her hubby. So, is this cultural or something else? Partially speaking, I think they like McCain and the ticket because of culture. But mainly, I think, they do not want to vote for a black man. Let’s all face the truth- there are some in this country who do not want their prime time TV shows interrupted by a black man. It is hard to watch with so much ugly history in this country.

For the immigrant, psychologically speaking, he or she tends to “fall in” place – in order to fit in, in order to play the game, and be part of the crowd, they befriend those who give them political advantage and social status. I can count on one hand the number of black friends I have. Why is that? We all have preferences for lots of things- soda, lunch food, fruits, etc. I think, whether we admit it or not, we have a preference for color too. Among those are discriminated against, it is preferrable to prefer the discriminator over the other guy who may also being discriminated against. After all, they’re not picking on me so I might as well join in and pick on the guy who they’ve moved onto. This syndrome occurred after 9/11. South Asians had to defend themselves and try to educated others, “I am not ARAB. I am not Muslim, I am Hindu”. After all, since it was another “evil” minority group, it was okay. Men with turbans had to defend that they were not Iranian or Iraqi. The sad truth is that some minorities were relieved that the discrimination focus was taken off of them. Blacks who were historically discriminated against now could join in and fight against the Islamic terrorists.

I can’t help but wonder if subconsciously, the people who are voting for McCain among these demographic groups do so because they agree with him on anything or have anything in common with him- heck, they might even get hurt by his policies, but I wonder if they vote for him and the ticket because they just feel more comfortable with the norm- what they have seen for these past 50 years- a white male running the show and keeping the status quo. After all, the comments we heard from many Indians after Gandhi got them independence from the Brits was … “we were better off under their rule.” WHAT!? Are you kidding me? We as humans get so used to and so conditioned by what we see, what we experience, and the brain washing, that we quickly forget our basic inalienable rights- the basic human need to be free. The other thing that baffles me is the education level and skills of the two Presidential candidates. Immigrants from South Asia value education and getting high marks in school. They value intelligence and degrees. If they looked at the candidates, only two fit the mold of being the BEST of the BEST – Obama and Biden. McCain was a goof-off in school and crashed fighter jets in the Navy. He did not have a masters degree. He cheated on his first wife with his current and defiled family values that immigrants hold dear. Hunting and fishing and killing live animals is not valued among those same immigrants either. Another interesting point many may not know is that Joe Biden is a huge – HUGE supporter of South Asian ideals and work ethics. He has visited India and considers the Indian community in a very positive light. He and Obama support India more than they do Pakistan and would like to change foreign policy in that region. A change I welcome and support. McCain will continue more of the same which has occurred for over 2 decades now- support to Pakistan financially and in spirit. In return, Pakistan will pay us back (not financially) but through continued support of terrorism and madrasas, home grown and supported through our tax dollars.

What will happen in this election, I do not know but I know race, like it or not, is a HUGE factor to many and to some who do not admit it, it is that silent factor that still affects the choices they make. I just hope enough people in our generation can pull it off for the right person for this job – for the sake of positively impacting the only country we have known all our lives.

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The Subconscious Factor or something else? PART I

This is a long blog so I divided it up into two parts. I am posting Part I here and will post Part II shortly. I hope you enjoy the thoughts of someone who maybe does have too much time to think.

Part I

Mohandas K. Gandhi (before he was the “Mahatma”) rode on a train in South Africa, only to be thrown from it with his luggage out of the first class compartment because as a minority, he belonged in second class compartment. Gandhi refused to move at the request of the white British guard. He was moved. In fact, he was so moved by what happened in South Africa and subsequently in India, he decided enough was enough – how long would tyrannical rule and discrimination against minorities like South Indians continue? The discrimination he fought was at the hands of the British but here in America, some twenty years later, following in Gandhi’s footsteps of peaceful nonresistance and nonviolence another movement began to free Blacks from discrimination in America. Separate but Equal was alive and well in Alabama schools until very recently (1990s) – hard to believe? Segregation of women is a reality in Islamic society especially at religious sites but segregation based on the color of skin seems far-fetched to those of us raised in the 80s. The truth is while we do not openly condone segregation or discrimination, it is still alive and well in America and the victims of past discrimination, in my opinion, tend to be the worst in discriminating against those who are different from themselves. Before I go into my theory of why minorities discriminate against other minorities, I think a little background is essential of how I got the privilege of becoming a first generation American.

Lyndon Johnson did a lot to open the gates of immigration for South Asia, enabling my dad and others like him to immigrate to the United States and pursue an education. The gates opened in 1965 for Asians, and or better or for worse, immigration is a phenomenon that has defined America’s history and has in many ways, shaped the role America plays in the global economy. I think immigration to America is a good thing, bringing so much to this country that others cannot claim. Despite 9-11, Americans need to realize that not all immigration is BAD immigration – in fact, most immigration in the U.S. has revitalized and had a positive impact on the economy, on schools and education, and on the political system. Even granting asylum to those in need is a positive thing. After all, America is a country founded on immigrants.

Focusing on my dad’s generation, I could not help but wonder how the immigrants who came over here after 1965 were voting in this election especially since this is the first chance they have had to vote for a minority Presidential candidate. So far the results are mixed and like this election, quite close. Out of the people I have surveyed or talked with, most are Obama supporters – not just because they want to see a minority in office but because of his liberal views too. Then there are those who are McCain supporters. I wonder why? These Baby Boomers who left their native country in the 60s and early 70s are of retirement age or already retired and some relying on Medicare. Most are making a modest amount of money because of one bread winner in the household and are considered lower to middle income. Most went through and saw a dark period in American history – not just Vietnam and the post-Vietnam fall out (mistreatment of Veterans) but also the struggle for Civil Rights in our nation – something those of us born in the mid 70s and early 80s did not get to witness or experience. As I discussed previously, these immigrants if they came from the Subcontinent of India saw the end of British rule in India and grew up in a new India, free of British rule and tyrannical actions. But they also grew up in a divided India where Hindu-Muslim riots and violence was a daily or hourly event. They may have seen bombings and segregation in Northern India as well as Punjab and the region of Kashmir which is still highly disputed. These same people came to the U.S. at a time when they saw Gandhi’s principles echoed by Martin Luther King, Jr., Who sought to end segregation and tyranny against blacks in America. They came to America at a time when Vietnam divided the nation and worse, they came at a time in America when there was not much knowledge about who they were except “foreigners” – were they Iranian? Iraqi? What is the Indian culture after all in the 60s and 70s in America? It was new… it was unchartered territory but they endured and perservered because they wanted a better life for their children and their children’s children. (To be continued … in Part II)

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