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Bobby Jindal enters history books

Posted By Sunny On 22nd October, 2007 @ 12:02 pm In Race politics, United States | 40 Comments

America always has the capacity to surprise you. On Saturday Bobby Jindal became the country’s first [1] Indian-American governor, and that too in the deeply Republican conservative south state of Carolina Louisiana. It has not had a non-white chief since Reconstruction. Typically Indian, he is also a bit of a geek. (hat tip [2] to Tim for clarifications).
A NY Times profile [3] recently said:

But he is not a natural fit for Louisiana. The state likes its governors to know the fundamentals of the Cajun two-step, speak some derivation of French patois, and at least get to a duck blind, regularly and publicly. But Mr. Jindal has labored assiduously to overcome the disadvantage of being a non-Cajun, Rhodes Scholar policy wonk whose given name was Piyush, and who has a penchant for 31-point plans.

He is a born-again Roman Catholic who has suggested that teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution may not be out of place in public schools, favors a ban on abortion and opposes hate-crimes laws. Conservative views aside, the slightly built congressman is anything but a backslapping good ol’ boy.

Jindal

Oh, yeah he’s a crazy Republican nut. So like our liberal cousins from across the pond [4] at Sepia Mutiny, I’m a bit torn as to whether this is a good or bad thing. On the one hand he has broken through a glass ceiling in a very conservative state, on the other I’m deeply opposed to his politics. A few years ago I would have had more enthusiasm for this development than I do now. What would trump for you?

Update: SAJA have a [5] round-up of coverage across the States and India.


40 Comments To "Bobby Jindal enters history books"

#1 Comment By Sofia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

Shitty views are shitty regardless of what colour person is spewing them. So he broke the glass ceiling and is going to do what exactly for minorities?? I’ve met plenty of Asian professionals in this country that have views that I find abhorrent, but seem to get away with because they are Asians and not white saying these things..

#2 Comment By Sid On 22nd October, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

yes even an indian policy wonk can be an okie from Muskogie.

#3 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

spot on Sofia.
a bit torn by it Sunny? I’m shocked.

this man has atrocious politics - intelligent design and a ban on abortion?

it would be highly racist for me to be keen on some individual politician’s appointment just because of their colour. Sorry - i’m not that tribal.

should we care he is brown?
so should we be pleased about Condoleeza as well then?

i dont think my spectacles are so race-coloured that I can see anything worthy of this man’s position. Soon all indians in america will be running the place - is that going to be a good thing if they all turn out to have atrocious politics and turn out to be racist to boot?

My goodness.

#4 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

Next time there is any criticism of Melanie Philips i believe my tribalism will have to assert myself. #but she’s a woman!# i dont care what she says, she#s a woman!

#5 Comment By Morgoth On 22nd October, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

*faints*

I’ve just agreed with the entirety of a post by Sofia (#1) and Sonia (#4).

#6 Comment By sahil On 22nd October, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

Have to echo the comments above, this guy sounds like a opportunist nutter. What makes him Indian: his culture, or his skin colour?? Anyways it seems like business as usual in the south.

#7 Comment By Bape On 22nd October, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

He is typically Indian in one way, that being that he’ll nail his colours to any mast that might help him progress. The guy is an opportunist with horrendous politics.
Nothing to celebrate here. Blind Bush supporter, would probably declare war on India and send back the IT crowd if it would garner him enough votes.
Pathetic.

#8 Trackback By Tim Worstall On 22nd October, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

Well Done Sunny…

Bobby Jindal’s got himself elected. Over at Pickled Politics Sunny has this to say:

On Saturday Bobby Jindal became the country’s first Indian-American governor, and that too in the deeply Republican south state of Carolina.

Err, there is…

#9 Comment By Sofia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

I watched a programme the other day about Barack Obama, which I found quite uncomfortable..either he was “too black” or “a black pandering to the white establishment” and then out of somewhere came his “muslim fundamentalist credentials”..I know if you criticise someone in the public eye..you should do it for their policies alone and not what you think they should be “representing”, simply because of the colour of their skin or religion. But somewhere along the line you have to wonder if their race as well as their political credentials have gotten them to where they are…if their race has played a part then surely what they do on behalf of ethnic minorities should be looked at. Same goes for women…whether that be the Margaret Thatcher or Benazir Bhuttos of this world

#10 Comment By Nyrone On 22nd October, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

I don’t care what colour he is, if he’s a republican clone parroting the same line with a brown mask, who cares? The first thing I did when I read about this yesterday was check his interview out on Youtube, to get a feel for what he seemed like in person.

He seemed like a rather typical bland, generic US politician, I’m sure he’ll fit right in with the rest of the clan…I thought Keith Ellison represented a much bigger step in terms of breaking through the ethnic/religious political ceiling recently.

This is V interesting topic to me though.
Makes me think about self-identity a lot and wonder why I care if ‘my people’ are doing ‘well’ etc…
All I know, is that Indian ticket inspectors on the train HATE MY GUTS and always come down on me 100 harder than my white friends…

Is this a form of tough love, or does he just think he can treat me like crap because he is my ‘elder’ and I have to say ‘Yes Uncle-Ji, I’ll be good’?

Am I now being too hard on Jindal too?
Do I pass judgement on a racial basis?
God, I hope not!

#11 Comment By Sunny On 22nd October, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

Yeah yeah, I did say that I have little sympathy for his politics. But he managed to get into the heartlands of the American south, and that is quite a tough nut to crack. If this wasn’t a glass ceiling, I doubt I’d care.

#12 Comment By Sofia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 2:57 pm

I thought the American south had a problem with blacks not anyone else…with usual stereotypes around about Indians.

#13 Comment By Ravi Naik On 22nd October, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

I think his victory is positive, even though his views are very conservative, even by US standards.

But then again, we are talking about Louisiana. A state where in the 90s, Klansman neo-nazi David Duke lost the governor’s seat by a small margin. Bobby Jindal lost the gubernatorial race 4 years ago, and it was reported that rural areas (who voted massively to David Duke) didn’t vote for him because he was non-white.

But he fought back, and campaigned in rural areas (see the above picture), and managed to get 54% of the vote. The majority of people in that state are very conservative, so he is not really doing fringe politics.

I find it inspiring that someone has had the courage to campaign in the deep south being asian, and just break the traditional narrative. He suffered a very ugly and racist campaign from the democrat side, but he endured it and at the end he won. For many Indians, they are content to be an invisible minority, and I think his victory will inspire other south asians (hopefully liberals) to get involved in politics.

#14 Comment By Ravi Naik On 22nd October, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

“I thought the American south had a problem with blacks not anyone else”

It is a white vs non-white world in America, Sofia.

#15 Comment By Ravi Naik On 22nd October, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

Ok, in american politics it is white male vs others.

#16 Comment By Rumbold On 22nd October, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

I agree with Sofia and Sonia that his ethnicity is far less relevant than his views. However, Ravi Naik is right to say that he did well to win in such a traditionally racist state. Even if you disagree with the new governor’s views (as I do), it is nice to know that some Louisianians are voting for their candidate based on his views, not his skin colour.

I am not sure what makes him an opportunist though. Many South Asians are socially conservative, and there are a number of gays and ethnic minorities who oppose laws designed to cut out ‘hate speech’ towards them. He is just as likely to believe these things as an Indian-American running as a social liberal on a Democratic ticket believes what he is espousing.

#17 Comment By Tim Worstall On 22nd October, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

Worth noting that he’s Catholic (as you do): that’ll help him a lot in Louisiana. A huge amount especially in rural areas (Cajuns tend to be Catholics).
I agree that you can see his views as “conservative” if you really wish but there’s a huge divide between the Catholics (that ban on absortion is pretty much a requirement for remaining a Catholic) in the US and the Southern Baptists, the born again Jerry Falwell etc crowd. The latter really don’t like or trust the former.
I agree the evolution thing is pretty stupid though.

#18 Comment By Rumbold On 22nd October, 2007 @ 3:58 pm

Mike:

“White people = scum of the Earth

Non-white people = holier than thou”

Er.. most of the comments on this thread have condemned a non-white person because of their views. Nobody has come out and said that Jindal is great because he is brown. Try reading what is actually written.

#19 Comment By Mike On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:10 pm

Ravi Naik is right to say that he did well to win in such a traditionally racist state.

I love it when disgruntled ‘desis’ mutter darkly about those ‘red neck’ rootin tootin’ Yanks from ‘down South.’

India is hardly what you’d call a ‘tolerant’ and ‘progressive’ nation. It’s like Jim Crow America on crack cocaine and steroids – the Caste system is a moral disgrace. And yet none of you seem to care about real racism in the developing world. It’s all ‘Daily Express-this,’ ‘Melanie Philips-that,’ …*yawn*

You can’t engineer racism out of existence. But at least we’ve managed to keep it under control.

#20 Comment By Sunny On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

Poor Mike can’t find anything else to do today so he’s trolling. If he spent enough time here he’d realise we condemn racism with Asians as loudly as possible.

#21 Comment By Mike On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

‘Nobody has come out and said that Jindal is great because he is brown.’

The way that this story is being spun – i.e. an Indian-American is elected by ‘dose’ rootin tootin’ red-neck Yanks – is patronising in the extreme.

#22 Comment By Bape On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

He has got a ’send the immigrants back home’ policy as well, I believe. Interesting that.
Most politicians campaign on policies that will get them into power. This is opportunistic. Singing Bush’s praises, like new labour not having the backbone to stand up against Blair, is pitiful in my view.
Its just a complete non-event really.
‘Right wing man becomes governor’. Thats all it should say

#23 Comment By Sunny On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

dose’ rootin tootin’ red-neck Yanks

Clearly you missed the reference to those lovely guys from the KKK above. I mean, who wouldn’t want to welcome those folk with open arms? I actually didn’t play the KKK card too heavily but I could have. So please, go away and stop trolling this site.

#24 Comment By Mike On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

Bape

‘He has got a ’send the immigrants back home’ policy as well, I believe.’

Er, yes, because they’re illegal immigrants, i.e., they’re breaking the law…!

‘Singing Bush’s praises’

Bush is pro-amnesty

‘Right wing man becomes governor’. Thats all it should say.’

Stunning analysis!

#25 Comment By Fred On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:37 pm

first off im from La and i DID vote for Jindal. You can sit in your northern states and talk about us in the south about how backwoods and redneck we are all you want. We elected him for a reason because he was the best person running for office we didnt look at the color of his skin and we dont care about it we just want some one who is gonna take care of our state. there was one comment about his belief in god and thinking it should be in schools. excuse us for thinking that our kids and country has got out of hand because they dont have a relationship with the lord. why dont you talk about your own politics and leave us to ours.

#26 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

tough nut to crack? well possibly not if you favour the same policies - like banning abortion - that some people are in favour of.

So what does this prove? That americans are not racist because they’ll vote in a brown face if they think that person will promote whatever it is they want - abortion bans and intelligent design to be taught in schools.

so good. at least they’re supporting people because of their policies, not their skin colour. i dont like those policies, so im not going to be swayed cos a ‘brown man’ is in favour of intelligent design.

and one brown man being voted in, does absolutely nothing with regards to barriers to participation: like lack of decent public healthcare, and good schools which you dont have to pay a bomb to get into.

this is about obsession with the ‘image’ of politics, the colour of people who are leaders, rather than reality on the ground for real people.

#27 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

so - personally id rather consider a vote for an old white man - or a Martian- if he’s/its going to look at the issues on the ground - like why are people socially excluded? what do they need to be able to participate in society? - and have something real to offer in that context, than some ‘representing’ face - which is like mine - which is going to echo status quo power.

#28 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

“He has got a ’send the immigrants back home’ policy as well, I believe. Interesting that.”

why, he was born in the USA, he probably doesn’t want any more people from India or Bangladesh or wherever, crowding his precious state. ( ooh unless they’re the unaborted babies perhaps - he doesn’t seem to be too interested in that particular population control method)

he sounds like a complete twerp. ban abortion indeed. i feel like socking his jaw.

#29 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

obviously, i should stand up and shout and say - AH! BUT HE’S NOT A WOMAN! HE DOES NOT REPRESENT MY MINORITY! HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT IT IS TO BE LIKE A WOMAN!

#30 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 4:59 pm

that’s right, listen to Fred. if they want to elect twerps, why should we care just cos it happens to be a twerp whose parents came from India. after all he’s American, why should he be singled out for where his ancestors came from?

#31 Comment By Sunny On 22nd October, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

Sonia - erm, women are not a minority. I hate to point out the obvious.

Fred - we’re based in the UK, not America.

Tim W. - good point.

#32 Comment By Sid On 22nd October, 2007 @ 5:14 pm

so - personally id rather consider a vote for an old white man

This is a pejorative term in British politics. Ask Ming Campbell.

I think ‘young, right-wing, skinny-ass Indian nutter’ should be one as well.

#33 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

duh sunny, we’re still an underprivileged group thanks very much.

#34 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

i hate to point out the obvious indeed!

#35 Comment By sonia On 22nd October, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

and if some people are going to be tribal, i think “we” can as well.

#36 Comment By Sunny On 22nd October, 2007 @ 5:47 pm

you’re welcome to be as tribal as you want, but women are not a minority. I’m not sure you can apply the “under-priveleged” accusation in such a blanket way either. :)

#37 Comment By Jakey On 22nd October, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

Jindal becoming governor of Louisiana reminds me in some ways to the Dalit leader Mayawati becoming chief minister of UP state in India this year. Both were disadvantaged in terms of their ethnicity or caste but their politics appealed to the majority of voters in their respective states. Both cases are a victory for the democratic process rather than anything else. The difference is that Mayawati is a liberal progressive politician while Jindal is not. Could both be a sign of changing times? Maybe in the future Indian Americans could play a more active role in American politics than do today; likewise Dalit politicians could become more powerful in India. Wishful thinking maybe but a sign of gradual change.

#38 Comment By Jai On 22nd October, 2007 @ 6:14 pm

India is hardly what you’d call a ‘tolerant’ and ‘progressive’ nation……And yet none of you seem to care about real racism in the developing world. It’s all ‘Daily Express-this,’ ‘Melanie Philips-that,’

That’s because most of us here are British and are not (directly) from India or ‘the developing world’.

#39 Comment By Rohin On 22nd October, 2007 @ 7:36 pm

All I had to say on the matter, on an American site, was that I find it quite nauseating that Indians, be they here, America or India, are automatically gratified to see this victory, despite Jindal being such a morally repugnant politician.

If you agree with his policies, fair dos, you’re both nuts so go ahead and be proud.

If you don’t agree with his views, I don’t understand. Are Indians still so desperate for ratification and achievement that they latch on to any brownface no matter who they are?

Recognising a glass ceiling being broken…maybe. But to be honest, I think American rednecks with stupid right wing views are not actually stupid enough to ignore what someone speaks for. That Panorama episode referenced above had some shocking lines in it “I don’t like him…Obama, Osama…it’s too close for me.” But none of those types of lines would be said if Barack Obama said what those rednecks wanted. Because Jindal does, they like him. It’s not as thought they’ve embraced Indians, just a bible-totin’, Republican loon with a tan.

#40 Comment By Ravi Naik On 22nd October, 2007 @ 10:26 pm

“I find it quite nauseating that Indians, be they here, America or India, are automatically gratified to see this victory, despite Jindal being such a morally repugnant politician.”

I can understand that you find his beliefs repugnant… but morally repugnant? My… that sounds more like a judgement of his character rather than his beliefs.

“Are Indians still so desperate for ratification and achievement that they latch on to any brownface no matter who they are?”

Anyone who fights and achieves something - fair and square - despite all the odds, deserves credit in my book. Specially after having failed for being brown. And even though I disagree with his views, he does inspire me. He is the first Indian-American governor, and even if you don’t want to admit it because he is not a liberal or progressive: he has indeed broken a glass ceiling. So he is not just a brownface.

Of course, if he fucks up as a governor and becomes as incompetent as Bush, then I will take everything back.

“But to be honest, I think American rednecks with stupid right wing views are not actually stupid enough to ignore what someone speaks for.”

It didn’t happen four years ago. But hey stupid rednecks… how can one count their stupid ways? I am glad we can discuss about this without caricaturing people for their beliefs.


Article printed from Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com

URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1467

URLs in this post:
[1] Indian-American governor: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/21/us/nationalspecial/21louisiana.html?
[2] to Tim: http://timworstall.com/2007/10/22/well-done-sunny/
[3] recently said: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/19/us/19louisiana.html
[4] at Sepia Mutiny: http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/004801.html
[5] round-up of coverag: http://www.sajaforum.org/2007/10/jindal-roundup-.html