The Sepia Mutiny Spat…

Anna wrote this

So I wrote this in the comments section:
2 · TTG on December 29, 2005 06:12 AM · Direct link

Blah blah blah blah. At the end of the day we’re all Americans, whether we’re Canadian or mexican. What’s an arbitrary line drawn across a map? At the end of the day we’re all white, whether we’re French or German, Allied or Nazi, what’s a little skin colour there….oh…wait…this is Sepia Mutiny….but I assume the Sepia refers to a time period, ya know like sepia-tinted photos. Why stop at the Sepia colour. We are all great apes at the end fo the day. I recommend you really get politically correct, and rename this site: Additonal-Melanin-Coloured-Primates-From-A-Part-Of-Pangea-Mutiny. Why do you stop at Sepia. How dare you not include people from the rest of Asia. From the rest of Eurasia. From the rest of the universe. Why is your arbitrary separation more sensible than mine? Especially considering Pakistan & Bangladesh are only 50-something years old. India is far older.

As really difficult as this seems to be to comprehend – the Idea of India is a very very old idea, far older than you my dear. And it is not the prejudiced, exclude-the-muslims-and-pakis-type idea that some random commenters seem to believe. It actually does stand for something. It is a place of refuge, for parsis, for tibetans, for buddhists, for nepalese. It is a place where Hindus and Muslims, despite everything actually do live together. It’s a place which spawned at least 17 different reformist movements. Stop f-ing diluting my country’s name with a bunch of jihadis. And you’re right, Pakistani food IS very similar to Indian food….that is because it bloody well is Indian food, for [bad-word-for-fornication]’s sake.

http://25worldcountry.blogspot.com/2005/09/south-asian-my-ass.html

So she got pissed off and wrote this:

7 · A N N A the Orthodox on December 29, 2005 08:30 AM · Direct link

Stop f-ing diluting my country’s name with a bunch of jihadis.

Yeah? I could ask you to stop f-ing with my identity, my processes of self-definition, my memories of my late father on this day when I lost him, just a few years ago. Where does that get us? I’m not trying to fucking dilute a damned thing, got that? And if that paki food which jihadis eat is so familiar to you b/c it’s INDIAN then guess what, those jihadis are Indian and part of your ancient concept, too. If you want to claim it, claim all of it. Where does this get us? Did you even READ the second part of my post? We are coming from wayyy different places, that’s why we’re never going to agree, that’s why the nastiness towards us is pointless.

Anna’s post and TTG’s response, illustrates that there *is* a difference between Indian-Americans and Indians. A failure to recognize this is usually the precursor to a full-fledged flame war. Differences between Indians and Pakistanis may not mean much in the American context as evidenced by the fact that many second-generation and even first-generation immigrant desis are happy to identify themselves as “South Asian.”

Sigh. I was honestly hoping that I was clear and not offensive, I don’t want to be flambed, not today of all days. Did you read the second part of my post? If someone as nice as you didn’t understand what I wrote, bleary-eyed in the middle of the night/morning, then I’m fretful. This is what I was trying to say: I totally grok the huge difference between “them and us”, that’s why I talked about not being able to understand the other’s backstory, after not living anything close to it.

If second-generation desis feel irritated by the failure of many recent arrivals to recognize the “American” component of their identity [I am not suggesting that Indian-Americans are schizophrenic in that they have two distinct parts to their selves:-)], then they should recognize that attempts to emphasize the “unity” of all South Asian identities can irriate many Indians/Pakistanis/whatever.

Thank you so much for being so diplomatic and kind with your words, I really appreciate that. I do recognize that our stance can irritate “them”. Do they realise the same? Are they tolerant enough to agree to disagree? Or is this too addictive and easy a meme to give up, since the rants which include possessive statements about anatomy are too fun to write? What kills me is this– do they think that we love India any less? That we aren’t as proud, that we don’t cherish her history and beauty as much as they do? Love isn’t a finite resource. I can love India AND still have some pink, heart-shaped stuff to spare.

So then 70 comments later, I figured I needed to give a response, so I wrote this:

Cool.

a) My post was not ill-tempered, it was littered with exactly 2 cusswords. Maybe I suffer from Tourette’s syndrome, comprendo?

b)

Yeah? I could ask you to stop f-ing with my identity, my processes of self-definition, my memories of my late father on this day when I lost him, just a few years ago.

Ok….this….is just sad. I made no reference to your father, his thoughts, or anything related personally to him. I addressed a very general problem, and as my blog post itself indicates, this is not a new debate (that post was written months ago). You brought up the topic of South Asian-ism, not me. You didn’t expect to flamed about this? Seriously? Why mention it at all of this was a post more about your father?

c)

What kills me is this– do they think that we love India any less? That we aren’t as proud, that we don’t cherish her history and beauty as much as they do?

Your ‘loyalty’ to India is never being questioned, nor even examined. You’re a 2nd-gen. In my eyes, you hold an American passport, and to me, that makes you American. I would expect you get angry when somebody spit on an American flag, or abused America. I would not expect you to go give your life for India, or to defend it, or to ‘love it’. If you do, great. If you don’t, great. The point is this, can you let the people who live, work, die and pay the taxes in India speak for where they feel they belong? Maybe you are referring to a common identity in the US, if so, I respectfully, kindly, and non-ill-temperedly ask you to refer to it as an American-South-Asian identity. When you guys in America dilute the Indian identity, it HURTS us. Hurts us professionally, socially and in more ways that you can fathom. There is no reason. None. Not a single reason, why ANYONE from India should be fingerprinted while entering the US of A, or doubly scrutinized while applying for a visa. I am asking you as an Indian – has my country done any harm to yours? Has my country vehemently opposed America and asked for all Americans to be killed? Why am I being bracketed with the rest of the people who are? Is it because Americans refuse to see a difference, or because people who have Indian origins refuse to acknowledge a difference? And I am going to say it again, to the person who says that the concepts of India and Pakistan are a COLONIAL hangover. Buddy, you need to go speak to Ashoka and Akbar. They might give you a concept of India, which predates White People Conquest, ok?

And if that paki food which jihadis eat is so familiar to you b/c it’s INDIAN then guess what, those jihadis are Indian and part of your ancient concept, too.

Show me an Indian suicide bomber/terrorist/jihadi, and I’ll eat my words, whether they taste Pakistani, or Indian.

Let people who want to call themselves South-Asian continue to do so. There’s no point in trying to convince those who have already made up their mind. Instead, it’s better to concentrate on those Indian-americans who have not formed their identity yet. The ones who are still in school or college. The ones whose minds can be molded. They are the ones we are working on, and changing their mentality successfully so that they don’t want to associate with anything Pakistani or Bangladeshi (Sri Lanka is just fine).

MoorNam, this is a bizarre statement. Sri Lanka is not fine. In Sri Lanka, they specifically wanted to escape the nonsense that occured on the Mainland, and thus turned Buddhist to a great extent. They also wanted to be different. Plus…they aren’t Indian. They’re Sri Lankan. I am not stating their need to separate themselves as either a negative or a positive, but as a fact.

We are coming from wayyy different places, that’s why we’re never going to agree

But then why stir this hornet’s nest at all – and just let. it. go. You brought it up. Not me.

Anna, my calling myself Indian does not cause the amount of hate directed against Muslims/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis/Anybody else to spread. I am not exhorting people to go out and kill the non-Hindus, or all the Pakistanis/Bangladeshis. While some of the commenters who want to specify themselves as Indians DO want that, I don’t and have never said that.

I am simply asking the world to recognise, that Indian does not = Pakistani. What is so wrong about this? I am not saying we can’t live in the same world or the same dorm room. Let’s just recognise there is a difference, and take it from there.

No difference between a Pakistani-American and an Indian-American? Great. I wish all you American-South-Asians and your fingerprinting and your samosafests well.

And just tell me this – if it’s ok to call all of us South Asian, is it then ok to call Muslims the same, and ignore their national boundaries? Shouldn’t we then scrutinize all Muslims everywhere as possibly being Jihadis?

After all Muslims also share a common culture right? Regardless of national boundaries?

Please, let’s recognise the differences. An Indian Christian ain’t the same as an Eastern Orthodox one, and so on and so forth.

I don’t believe recognising a person’s differences means you can’t “Share The Love” with them. It just makes your world more colourful, and diverse.

Further, while my initial post is not the most respectfully worded, what I do object to is the tone of condescension in the Sepia posts that seem to so totally just dismiss the FOBs back here.

They didn’t know what it was like to be the only Indian, hell, the only Asian, fcuk it, the only non-white kid in school. They didn’t have classmates circle them and make “oooh-wah-wah-wah�? noises by quickly touching their lips with their fingers, over and over again, in some horribly insulting mimicry of a misnamed kind of Indian. They didn’t walk a mile in my moccasins. So they don’t know where I’m coming from, just like I can’t even commence imagining what it’s like to walk a few kilometers in their chappals. I just think if you give me what’s on my Christmas list, this blog (ahem, and this world) would be an even awesomer place.

Do YOU know what it’s like when 5 bombs go off in your city, and maybe you have lost your loved ones? Do you know what it’s like when the car park of a shopping mall might just turn into a blood bath on any given day? That something as simple as watching a movie might be the last thing you ever do? Do you know what it’s like to live in the fear that anyday, people might just barge into your college and start killing Science Professors?

And then to have your so-called “betters” sitting halfway across the world decide to pronounce judgement on your values.

South-Asian-Americans, please keep to yourselves, mind your own business, and let the Indians take care of India.

Last time I checked, the most popular investment destinations were India and China, not South Asia and China. Should we donate some of that money to our South Asian brethren in the spirit of brotherly love, like-mindedness and Brown Skin? Would that make the world a better place do you think?

I’m going to repeat it again – the Idea of India is far, far older than that of South Asia. South Asia was imposed upon us by a bunch of morons, and now you are taking it further.

* * *

I have been banned by the Great Sepia Mutiny Overlords, in their infinite wisdom of assuming that my comments are abusive. NOTE: This is may be due to some other weird reason

You are not allowed to post comments. Please refer to the comments policy in the Add comment section in every post.

So while I wait for my non-static AirTel DSL IP to change, the post stays here…

Update
(see Comments…)

Wow, I never thought you guys would actually care!

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