Über Desi

Keeping it real, desi ishtyle

Trump got scolded by a desi uncle

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And it was fantastic, maybe even historic. [Link]

It started with Khizr Khan, an immigrant from Pakistan, standing at the podium at the Democratic National Convention 2016, his wife at his side and his hand across his heart. Khan’s speech was slow, deliberate, clear and to the point – it lasted a whopping seven minutes and change. At times he waved his copy of the US Constitution, presumably the one naturalized American citizens get. Watch the speech in it’s entirety below.

By the time he was done, Khizr Khan had thoroughly eviscerated Trump. Most of America, at least the sane part, was taken aback by this deliberate dismantling of Trump. But people from the Indian subcontinent are not entirely unfamiliar with this type of speech. What Trump received was a scolding from a desi uncle. This is the type of scolding/lecturing normally witnessed at coffee houses in Calcutta or maybe a colony/society (think HOA) general body meeting in Mumbai – where one thoughtful eloquent older gentleman calmly and rationally states his argument over the shouting masses.

What stood to me about the speech was it was exactly what Trump professes to do (but doesn’t) – speak the truth. It was also entirely unique to modern political discourse and speeches because there were no personal insults, no name calling, only direct words addressed to the audience and Trump. Khan did not use a speech writer or teleprompter and the words were entirely his.

Whether Trump gets elected in 100 days remains to be seen and if he doesn’t Mr Khan’s speech will probably go down in history as one of those unique moments in American democracy – desi ishtyle. Regardless, this kind of clear-headed, eloquent, political discourse is exactly what we need in these troubled times.

Additional side stories:
Fox News cut off the speech [Link]

Khzir Khan followed up with his DNC speech with a (most likely falling on deaf ears) plea to Congressional GOP leaders [Link]

Bobby Jindal, the first Tansracial-American

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To many, the whole Jindal-tanning saga started with a tweet, that given his stance on hyphenated Americans, could only be construed as trolling

Jindal followed the trolling with a campaign t-shirt along similar lines
Jindal campaign t-shirt

Jindal is no stranger to a weird saga of cognitive dissonance related to skin color. His official portrait resembles Scott Walker, another one of his fellow 23% of Americans afflicted with “running for GOP candidate for presidency” disease.
Jindal white guy portait

Bonus: Jindal’s Twitter bio cover has his photo with the homophobic Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame. I can only conjecture this serves to further his “tanned” credentials.
Jindal with homophobic Roberstons

How tanned and rested was Bobby? He inherited a state with a myriad of problems and actually made them worse. More of his own party prefer, he *not* run for presidency than those who do, which is an achievement of sorts in itself.

Though the election is still more than a year away, a survey of Republican voters found more voters would prefer Jindal not run (20 percent) than favor his candidacy (14 percent).

Recent events in America have made us question the traditional notion of gender, sexuality and even, race, with the term transracial gaining some airtime because of a certain Rachel Dolezal. I don’t feel I’m qualified enough to judge the validity of the term and whether Bobby Jindal could qualify as transracial. However, given his love for tanning and his hatred for hyphenation, I feel comfortable anointing him:

Bobby Jindal, the first Tansracial-American.

*On a side note: I do not approve of Bobby Jindal running for any public office at any level. I approve this message.

Wisconsin Sikh Temple shootings

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News first started trickling in, mostly via Twitter, around noon East Coast time about a shooting incident in a Sikh temple in Milwaukee, WI. My first reaction, unfortunately tempered from years such attacks directed at Sikhs, was that this was one of those post 9/11 incidents, where the perpetrator attacks Sikhs thinking they belong to the Taliban or Mujahideen. Based on current report, this may very well turn out to be the case.

Initial reports were of multiple gunmen taking hostages at the temple. But when the dust settled, it turned out to be a lone gunman, Wade Michael Page, ex-Army and alleged skinhead. The first responding cops exchanged fire with the gunman; one was hurt and the other killed the gunman, but not before Page killed 6 others on the temple premises. These cops, “prevented a tragic situation from becoming even worse”. Satwant Kaleka, the temple’s president succumbed to injuries he sustained while trying to restrain the attacker, perhaps saving more lives.

Now on to the (American) media coverage of the situation, CNN had some decent updates about the situation itself but the reporters and anchors showed an appalling lack of knowledge about Sikhs, the worlds 5th largest religious group. For some reason, the CNN reporters and anchors were strangely defensive, almost hostile, to the victims’ and their families’ suggestions that this could be one of those typical post 9/11 hate incidents directed towards Sikhs. Additionally, CNN anchors and reporters, played thought police, insisting that this incident should not be classified as a terrorist incident (the FBI later classified it as domestic terrorism) and CNN anchors also were quite emphatic that this was not the time for debate on issues like gun control and hate crimes (the two major issues that most likely led up to this carnage). Having said that among cable news outlets, CNN was the one with the most coverage of the incident.

Fox News, when they were not discussing topics like “Liberal Media attacks against Mitt Romney”, had intermittent coverage of the incident. Even with lesser coverage, Fox still managed to commit a faux pas as one the reporters asked a member of the Sikh temple if there had been any “anti-Semitic acts in the past against the Sikh community”. MSNBC, the other media outlet, was busy covering the Olympics and had breaking updates now and then, but largely failed in it’s mission as a “news channel”.

The other troubling fact on the media coverage was the fact they kept mentioning that this was “misdirected hate” aka “hate directed towards Muslims but incorrectly targeting Sikhs” which leads one to believe that targeting Muslims would be “normal”, which speaks to the sad state of affairs in this country.

As of this posting, Wade Michael Page has been identified as ex-Army, 1992-98, (Toma)Hawk Missile repairman, and “psychological operations specialist”. Reports are also starting to flow in that he legally owned the guns he used in this massacre and was the leader of a neo-Nazi band called End Apathy.

Largely, the media coverage and outrage among Americans has been miniscule compared to the ones we witnessed after the movie shooting incidents in Colorado. Call me jaded by post 9/11 America but none of this comes as a shock.

For updates, please follow our Twitter account http://twitter.com/uberdesi

That’s racist

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Ashton Kutcher’s popchips ad is racist, plain and simple. I’m not sure how else I would classify a white actor in brown face mocking Indian accents. That most white people, black people and other races are not offended by it, while sad, is understandable. Other people of Indian descent may not be offended by it and that’s their personal choice.

It’s *NOT* about the fact that no one would dare don a blackface today. (If you said Robert Downey Jr, please take your discussions to this forum – link via @sepiamutiny). In 2012, to don brownface and mock a foreign accent is just plain unacceptable.

As an Indian man with brown skin and an Indian accent, who gets ribbed on it every now and then, it does sting a little to view these mock portrayals on TV. I don’t have a choice on how I look or talk, Ashton does when he signs up for these ad campaigns.

Re-purposing an immortal quote from a great leader, I have a dream that my yet-to-be-conceived children will one day live in a nation where they will not be mocked for the color of their skin or the accents of their parents.

Also read MetroPCS’ unfunny commercials

Also, feel free to tweet Ashton Kutcher @aplusk and tell him what you think about this topic.

Sepia Mutiny ends

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Doesn’t seem that long ago that one of the major desi blogs, DesiPundit, downed their shutters. Now arguably the biggest of all desi blogs, Sepia Mutiny, is going the same way. [Sepia Mutiny]

T’was not too long ago, between 05-09, blogs were thriving: Sepia Mutiny, Desi Pundit, Ultra Brown, and if I may say so, Über Desi, were bustling with activity in the niche market of Indian sub-continental culture and pop-culture. Quality content was being generated by the hard working bloggers, at least in the first 3 instances. Then life happened, Twitter happened. Most bloggers found it easier and more convenient to microblog on Twitter, and so did their followers. Slowly but surely, the quality content dried up and previously bustling blogs became desolate arenas. Trolls and spammers took over in the comments sections of long dead posts. You get the idea.

The bloggers at Sepia Mutiny did an amazing job of building a thriving South Asian online community, and for this, they will be remembered and the blog will be missed.

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