Just a couple of weeks ago, the popular American TV show Saturday Night Live was hosted by a white comedian. Woke denotes a left-wing movement demanding fair play and justice in the US. The comedian stated, correctly, that wokeness was actually meant for people of colour in the US. Until white women hijacked it and came to stand right on top of the woke grievance line.
What grievances did white women have, asked the comedian? Amongst them, and primarily, oh, my SUV seats are not heated enough, he said. For four centuries said the comedian white women have been soaking in blood money. And now they are suddenly so aggrieved. He went on to say that whenever a white woman sneaked out to have sex with a black man, and she was caught in the act, she would claim that it was non-consensual sex. Guess what happened to the poor black man.
An Indian publisher was visiting the US and wanted my book to appeal to liberal whites, that is white wokes. I told him that there is no difference between the white left and the white right. For them, we Indians are just dark people. That comment resonated with the publisher. I, an American citizen of Indian descent, have often wondered about my status in America.
In 1984, my brother was thinking of going to America. He also had the option of joining an IIM in India. He was conflicted, and so met one of our cousins, who had got his master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. My brother asked my cousin, will I be treated as a secondclass citizen in America? My cousin raised his right eye-brow.
Twenty-five years in America and I am not even considered a citizen of the country, even if I put my real status in bold black letters on top of my resume. So forget about being a secondclass citizen. I am just secondclass. Or maybe third?
As a writer, one is often asked by publishers and literary agencies what your platform is. One way of making a platform is by writing for national newspapers. But American papers carry articles related to India only when they bash India. At the outset of the pandemic, the most eminent American paper carried two articles critical of India when India was handling it much better than America (and still is).
Even if I were to write an Indiabashing article, my Indian Hindu name is a turn-off for the editors of American papers. Fed up, I have taken on a Christian nom de plume, but just yesterday I was accused by an American literary agent of stealing someone’s identity, which is a federal crime and can land me in jail. I have no idea whose identity it was that this agent was talking about.
The Black Lives Matter movement has become intensely controversial in the US. Donald Trump has made it into some sort of a black panther movement, of violent black men who will invade American suburbia and hurt white women. Actually the aim and the activities of the movement are noble. They are only protesting, mostly non-violently, injustices against blacks in America.
But here too, white wokes have hijacked the movement. They want to protest with the black BLM protestors. The black BLM protestors are suspicious of such white woke allies. After the police officer Derek Chauvin slayed George Floyd in Minneapolis, the expectation, after a crime so heinous, was that a majority of whites would atone and initiate police reform. But the out-and-out right-winger Donald Trump keeps praising his cops and exhorts them to commit more atrocities. Faced off against him is the woke duo of Biden-Harris, or should I say Harris-Biden? Kamala Harris is woke woke. Biden is more moderate.
Biden is promising the earth, police reform and a green new deal and a lot more. Actually a green new deal is much closer to a white woke’s heart than any sort of police reform. So if Biden wins, expect a green new deal to go through and police reform to fall by the wayside.
Trump’s tenure has been a disaster for India. China is bullying India and Trump has said nary a word against China. Barack Obama too did not not do anything for India. George W. Bush, with the Indo-US nuclear deal, is the only US president to have done something substantive for India.
Expect Biden to do little for India, even though Harris is of Indian descent. Harris practically hides her Indian origins, playing up her black heritage instead. India has gone into a tizzy over her, but she doesn’t seem to have gone into a tizzy over India. Nor will she were she and Biden to win. Biden has said very little about India, or even foreign policy in general, even though he has decades of experience in it. Just don’t expect a Biden-Harris administration to do anything for India. India will have to learn to cope with China on its own. And there will be no permanent seat on the UN security council for India under Biden.
The writer is an expert on energy and contributes regularly to publications in India and overseas.