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Culture wars that stir India and America

Postage stamps in fact were issued to this effect. Nowhere was it mentioned that in fact many white women might have liked to be carried away by black men.

Sunil Sharan | New Delhi |

One of the challenges free and heterogeneous societies like India and the United States face is culture wars. I was listening to a Chinese-American student of Stanford University on a radio programme she was broadcasting. She was using terms like “yellow fever” and “rice king”.

She then went on to explain. Yellow fever is the apparent attraction that a white man feels for the East Asian woman. The same man is referred to as a rice king apparently because he loves exotic rice dishes served up by the East Asian woman. Anywhere you go in America it seems that yellow fever is raging.

I sometimes wonder about the families of the East Asian women. Are they not concerned that so many of their women are miscegenating with people from outside their culture? It does not seem so. My best friend is a Chinese-American. His only sister fell in love, not with a white man, but a black one. All hell broke loose in his family. Finally, the sister put her foot her down and married her man and is quite happy.

I was seated next to a Black British man on the train. We got talking about yellow fever. He raised an eyebrow and asked me if the attraction that the East Asian woman held was restricted only to the white man. I got his point.

Jungle fever was a term coined in America to describe the apparent attraction that a white woman had for a black man, a supposed jungli, a man from the jungle that is supposedly Africa. One of the central causes, no, the central cause of the American Civil War, was the fear of Southern white men that if their black slaves were freed, how those black slaves would then carry away their white women.

Postage stamps in fact were issued to this effect. Nowhere was it mentioned that in fact many white women might have liked to be carried away by black men.

The white man still ruleth in America. There is no pushback in American society to yellow fever. White men freely consort with East Asian woman and procreate with them. There apparently is not much racial prejudice faced by the issues of such mingling. A couple of white women have expressed their ire to me as to what their men see in East Asian women, but by and large that criticism is muted.

Not so when it comes to jungle fever. White women are still not allowed by white men to freely consort with black men. A tremendous of racism is experienced by the children of such inter-racial mingling, who are automatically considered black. In many parts of the US such as Silicon Valley where there are a large number of East Asian women present, white men go for them and there are not enough eligible men for white women to marry because these men would perforce be of “colour”.

The East Asian population in the US is slated to grow dramatically and so should the consequent yellow fever. How will white women handle it? Will they defy societal pressure and go with “coloureds” or will they prefer to stay single?

India faces a similar culture war in the supposed love-jihad. I was talking to the ex-chief secretary of Gujarat who happens to be a Muslim man and who is dating a Hindu woman. He told me that many Muslim women stay restricted to the home, while many Hindu women are much more outgoing. It is this gregarious nature of Hindu women that Muslim men find so attractive.

But was there any attraction that a Hindu woman had for the Muslim man? I thought not, until a Hindu woman disabused me of the notion.

She claimed that Muslim men were so handsome. I did not ask her why although I suspect that she meant the Muslim men who were fair and well-built. But was there any shortage of fair and well-built Hindu men in the country?
Sex, that old dirty topic, of course plays a massive role but is seldom talked about. The East Asian woman is supposed to be submissive, even in bed. The Muslim man in India is supposed to be more sensuous, and even more virile, than the Hindu man. The black man’s sexual prowess is perceived to be almost legendary.

It has to be said that many Hindu men too are attracted to Muslim women, and perhaps even vice versa, but there, religion provides a barrier. Indian wokes insist that it is okay for Muslim men to miscegenate with Hindu women, but see red whenever the topic of love-jihad is mentioned. Hindu men thus sometimes feel emasculated in their own land.

It is hypocrisies such as that people of one community seek to marry outside the faith, but prevent their own women from doing so, that has led the majority community in India to feeling discriminated against.

Unless the playing field is leveled, this grievance, which is not altogether imagined, will not go away. Grievances such as love-jihad have led masses of moderate Hindus to subscribe to the Sangh Parivar’s ideology, even if they do not wholly subscribe to it.

Unless the opposition like the Congress does not come out to fully and squarely address hypocrisies inherent in culture wars like love-jihad, the Hindu right-wing will continue to rule India. The Constitution of India provides equality for all religions in theory and practice, not just in theory but not in practice.

The writer is an expert on energy and contributes regularly to publications
in India and overseas.