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February 26, 2003

Go read Calcutta Libertarian (I'm old school, yo, keep it Anglicized :)

Suman, who sometimes posts in these parts, has a great piece over at his blog about being and immigrant and America and how easy it is to become one. I'll add this little observation: I know many white liberals criticize this country and would prefer to leave for the genteel and open-minded lands of Europe. As a "person of color," my viewpoint is different. I could never really be French, German, Spanish or Italian. I can't just blend in and pick up the language and expect not to be noted & noticed. Even in England, where there are lots of brown people, there is still a feeling that non-whites are strangers in the land (if well accepted and tolerated of course). It is in America where people can finally move past, "Where are you really from?" Takes time. But patience is rewarded in this country. America is a young nation, but its greatness is the work of generations.

Posted by razib at 10:24 PM




as an immigrant in America on occassion the "where are you from" question has been posed to me..though as the proportion of my tribe increases that question should become less frequent..
I would not totally rule out the possibility of blending-in in the bigger cities of western europe. I've experienced more diversity in cities like Paris, Frankfurt, Goteborg than in most cities in America..people do not care much for a north african/white couple as they would in america ..and if you move into scandinavia the colour line is almost non-existant..
England is a different story unfortunately..
The difference between America and Europe is that in America you are required to become an American to be accepted..in europe you can be who you are.

Posted by: Pawan at February 27, 2003 07:01 PM


is there a Mumbai ..oopps Bombay blogger ?

Posted by: Pawan at February 27, 2003 07:01 PM


france: your ancestors are the gauls
germany: children, not indians

though i won't dispute that scandanavia is paradise, of a sort....

Posted by: razib at February 27, 2003 07:14 PM


care to elaborate ?

Posted by: at February 27, 2003 07:17 PM


Razib just has these visions of Scandanavia as almost exclusively populated by 6 foot blonde stewardesses romping around him.. I understand perfectly (and approve :-) )

Posted by: Suman Palit at February 28, 2003 09:09 AM


As I've said before on Suman's blog, I don't buy this USA paradise thing, especially not for a blogger named 'Razib Khan'.

In Canada, you don't need to wait generations. Ujjal Dosanjh, born in Dosanjhpur, Punjab, was Premier of BC. East African born Ismaili Rahim Jaffer was elected to Parliament in Edmonton (could a foreign born Ismaili Muslim get elected Congressmen from Iowa?). Ian Hanomansingh anchors the 6pm National news, and in Toronto, one local newscast is all South Asian.

Senator Mobina Jaffer, Hockey Stars Paul Kariya or (half Igbo) Jerome Iginla, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, Murdered schoolgirl Reena Virk, Political hack Mo Sihota, annoying musician JianMohammed Ghomeshi, terrorist Ajaib Singh Bagri, star CEO Firoz Rasul, incompetent politicians Mac Harb or Sophia Leung. Here, you're free to be an ordinary person, competent or idiot, but fully Canadian.

(Parenthetical Question: Razib, you have no particular attachment to Islam, but because of your Muslim name, most people who meet you will assume you are a Muslim until corrected. Some say that being a Muslim is the USA these days is inconvenient or burdensome.

Why don't you change your name to Russel Kahn or Randy Kane? Why keep a potentially troublesome Islamic appelation?)

Posted by: Ikram Saeed at March 3, 2003 07:47 AM