Founder – Publisher’s Note
1987: A new immigrant in a foreign land. Incredible loneliness. Phone calls to India are $3.50 per minute. Aerograms cost 36c. It takes 28 days to get a reply. Were there others like me? How did they cope?
I scan the local newspapers—no news of anything familiar. Iran Contra crisis. India, if ever mentioned, was in the “News of the Weird!” Dow Jones at 2372. Was this my new reality?
Mother to twin boys. Satisfaction of creating a family, a home. And yet, nothing familiar to anchor me. Craving the tastes of home. Craving the sounds of home. Rasmalai? Make it with ricotta cheese. Croon to Lata and Kishore on spooling cassette tapes. Were there others like me? How do I reach them?
India Currents is born. A platform to share events and thoughts that were familiar. No plans, forecasts or ROI. A hunger to share. The desire to explore our hyphenated identities. The challenge of finding resources. The thrill of discovering fellow travelers. The hunger to belong!
2017: Vibrant social life. Facetime Mummy every day. Whats app for free. Share life with family across the globe via Facebook. A connected world.
I scan the local newspapers–now featuring Indian-Americans regularly! Read about the global rush to harness the “buying power of the Indian middle-class.” The Dow Jones at 20, 668.
I am a mother-in-law now. I buy rasmalai at Costco. Stream Hindi music on my iPhone.
India Currents celebrates its 30th anniversary. The original quest to explore our hyphenated identities stays strong. The aspirations of our community have not changed. The hunger remains—the hunger to belong, the hunger to connect!
What started as a community platform remains a labor of love for me. Readers, writers, editors and advertisers—we could not have done it without you. Thanks to all that have been a part of this fabulous journey!
This month’s cover story is a look back on our editorials written over 30 years. Racism, sexism, gay rights, the political scene in America and India, raising children in America—a part of your identity is reflected in these editorials. Our editorials reveal our best and worst selves as a community. Our words are by, of, and for you—our readers.
We stand up and speak on your behalf. An honor indeed!
—Nirupama Vaidhyanathan, Managing Editor
As images, we have used covers from our magazines over three decades displaying the sheer breadth and variety of topics and issues that we have covered.
Editorials by Arvind Kumar.
It has been a long time since the first Punjabi and Sikh immigrants came to the west coast of North America to work on its farms and fell its trees for lumber. Almost a century later, Indians in the San Francisco Bay Area form a large and vibrant community. Countless restaurants serve culinary delights of all major cuisines of the subcontinent. There are temples, mosques, and gurudwaras. With a large and growing community like this, there is also great diversity in the number and types of activities for Indians. India Currents is an effort to provide accurate and timely information about such events to the Bay Area Indian community.
Opposing Apartheid, May 1989
Bill Cosby, one of America’s most original comics, also known as the inimitable Dr. Huxtable on television has his principles. When NBC executives suggested that the anti-apartheid poster on the set be taken down—it was too political, they said—Cosby refused. There was no way, he said, that the Huxtable family could have a different viewpoint on South Africa. He was ready to quit, if it came to that. NBC relented. The poster stayed.
Mild or Not, Prejudice is Still Prejudice, August 1989
There is something else I learned very early in India. My cousins, several shades darker than I, were constantly reminded that they were kala—black, as I was praised for being gora—fair. Light skin was considered superior and attractive, and even children were not spared these attitudes.
Asians Not Wanted, November 1989
Congressman James Scheuer of New York opposes the family reunification provisions in the current immigration law.
“If siblings can bring each other and their wives in, we have an endless chain that never stops (sic). There must be some end to this process, otherwise we will turn into a Third World country.” The irony is that Congressman Scheuer represents Queens, a district with a large Indian community.
Put Up or Speak Up, March 1990
It is part of my job to scan advance listings from radio and television stations. I never cease to be amazed by how few programs there are that concern India. What little there is more often concerns Indian animals-God bless them-than Indian human beings.
When you call your favorite radio or television station, identify your interest in things Indian. If you ask, your local library might be persuaded to carry books on India. To the extent that we belong in this society, we can influence its future direction— simply by speaking up.
The Price of Being Indian, May 1990
Has this ever happened to you? You arrive at the airport to see off a friend or relative to India. You have heavy bags and you figure it will be nice to have the porters check them in. You find that not one porter is willing to help you. The first and only time this happened to me, I was with an elderly relative, who in his thick, horn-rimmed glasses, Nehru jacket, and baggy pants looked quintissentially Indian. I endured the neglect of the porters for almost 15 minutes before giving up and carrying the bags. I felt humiliated, angry, sad.
Fate of the Strays, July 1990
A newcomer to this country is instantly impressed by the order in this society. Buses, trains, and planes run on time. To the Indian, who is accustomed to general chaos, hustle and bustle, such precision and order appears miraculous, almost unnatural. One of the things that struck me was the absence of strays. Where I come from, stray dogs, cats, cows, bulls roam all over the place, in the streets, in people’s yards, as if the world belongs to them.
Where are the strays in the United States, I wondered. I learned about animal birth control. Spaying and neutering keeps them from multiplying endlessly. I also learned about the Humane Society. It places unwanted pets in homes. Not all pets find homes. Those that can’t be placed are put to sleep. It is done painlessly and quickly, humanely. I have adopted many new things from this culture: speech, dress, customs, ideas. But this is one I struggle with: how can killing ever be humane?
A time for hope, a time to dream, August 1990
These are tumultuous times, indeed. Nelson Mandela s out of prison. The Soviet Union is out of Afghanistan. The Soviet Union is democratizing at a breathtaking pace. The arms race is coolig off. The cold war is over.
Who could have thought, five years ago, that all this would happen so soon? This is a time of great hope, of dreams becoming reality. India and Pakistan are once again playing the game of brinkmanship, teetering ever closer to war. The Punjab problem is far from resolved, and the lid has blown off Kashmir.
Is it naive to dream of enduring peace in the subcontinent? No, it’s not naive. Rather, there has never been a better time than this to dream these dreams.
One Step Forward-and Another Step Back, September 1990
In the entertainment world, traditional wisdom dictates that Caucasians be cast for all roles, even if they have to wear prosthetic devices and makeup to appear what they are not genetically. Why? Because it has always been that way. Despite the presence of a large Asian community in Britan, Caucasian actor Jonathan Pryce got the role of a Eurasian in the London musical, “Miss Saigon.”
From the Vatican to Toccoa, October 1990
Dear people of Toccoa,
Some professed Christians among you have taken exception to yoga being taught in your Georgia town. You may be influenced by the Pope’s recent announcement that yoga and meditation can lead to “moral deviation” and degenerate into “a cult of the body.” With all due respect to His Holiness he is dead wrong. Yoga is not a form of religion. It is a form of physical and mental exercise. It does not demand religious conversion.
What This Magazine is All About, December 1990
This magazine is about the growth and development of Indian culture in America. The content is Indian, the magazine is American.
Our reader survey shows that you are listening. About half our readers turned out to be Indian (51%); the other half were non-Indian Indophile (49%). Some people don’t believe it. Like the librarian who refuses to carry India Currents because she says her patrons are not interested. She is convinced that (a) Indians cannot afford to live in her affluent community, and that (b) non-Indians couldn’t care less about India Currents. Persuading such self-appointed guardians of public taste is a constant struggle.
Female Fetus Abortions, January 1991
Dr. John Stephens has been in the news. He uses ultrasound technology to tell parents the sex of their unborn baby. What’s troublesome is that he has discovered the Indian community. For several years now, he tried to market his services to Indians. India Currents even ran his ads for a while, but vigorous protests from readers quickly changed that. Today, neither India Currents nor India West will run his advertising. The good news is that his California practice is not attracting many Indians.
The bad news is that he has discovered Vancouver, British Columbia.
Countering Religious Prejudice, February 1991
In this country today, were someone to speak of Jews as the killers of Christ, there would be an uproar.
In this country today, were someone to publicly say that African Americans are geneticlaly inferior, there would be an uproar.
Yet in this country today, Pat Robertson can go on television and condemn Hinduism as a form of devil worship and get away with it. Robertson makes these pronouncements on his television program, The 700 Club. It is seen nationally by millions. How should you respond? Avoid him by changing the channel? That won’t stop Pat Robertson. If Pat Robertson goes on and on about pagans and heathens, it is because we pagans and heathens let him.
A Kinder, Gentler Police, September 1991
The relationship between local police and minority communities has been etched in sharp detail by two recent incidents. The videotaped Rodney King beating incident showed the world in graphic detail the price an African American man paid for a speeding violation in Los Angeles.
In serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s case, an Asian American teenager lost his life because Milwaukee polic returned the fleeing youth to his killer. Police believed Dahmer’s story over that of an African American neighbor who reported the incident, or the evidence at hand—a naked and bleeding Asian boy. After returning the victim to Dahmer, officers joked about needing to be “deloused,” a bigoted remark about lice in Asians.
Satyajit Ray Showed They Can be the Same, May 1992
Satyajit Ray died April 23 in a Calcutta hospital, only three weeks after receiving an honorary Oscar for lifetme achievement. I’m no film expert, but I know an era in Indian cinema has come to an end. The obituary in the Los Angeles Times was factually correct and clinical, but it left me cold. The writer described Ray’s work as “films of Bengali squalor,” and his milieu as the “daily tragedy that is India.” Really.
I suppose no two sets of human eyes see the same film the same way. I thought that Ray’s films were about relationships, about adversity and the triumph of the human spirit.
Journalism Sacred and Profane from American Media, March 1993
Last week, San Jose’s daily newspaper Mercury News, ran some of its best stories about India. Its profiles of India’s high tech industires in Bangalore were well researched and illuminating. This is the kind of information the West needs to know about India.
Waco Wackos: Lessons from the standoff in Texas, April 1993
The Waco drama sheds new light on attitudes towards Asia’s religious music. As part of the FBI’s ongoing psychological assualt on the cult members, sacred Tibetan music was played loudly across the Texas countryside. The idea was to give David Koresh a headache. Is a Tibetan to be pleased or flattered by this? Did the FBI realize that this was religious, sacred music?
The Power of Organizing, May 1993
An Indian-American mother called me today to tell me about her preschool daughter’s sudden change in behavior. The child had become moody, depressed, and was afflicted with a desire to wash herself with soap. It turned out she was having to face taunts in pre-school about being dark-skinned. When the mother brought the problem to the attention of the new director, the response she got was, “But your child is darker isn’t she? Maybe she needs to get used to it.” This young mother is doing something about it. She has asked to speak to the owners of the facility. She is seeking input from other parents who have faced similar problems. She is getting organized. Are you?
The New Indentured laborers, November 1993
In a recession-battered economic climate such as California’s it was bound to happen sooner or later. The newest scapegoats to be blamed for the state’s economic woes are computer programmers from India.
The Humor of Derision, August 1994
They tell us that the new king of late night television is David Letterman. I’m disapointed. I am no fan of Letterman.
Those of you who are veteran Letterman watchers will have followed the sideshow featuring Sirajul and Mujibur, the Bangaladeshi-Americans whose gift shop is located in the same building as Letterman’s studio.
Letterman sent the two on an all-expenses paid tour of the United States. Choice bits of their videotaped journey were played regularly on the Late Show to howls of delight. The comedy came from their accent and their unfamiliarity with American idiom. Letterman and the audience were laughing at them, not with them.
The Verdict was Chilling—as was the Aftermath, June 1992
Defense lawyers in the King trial argued that the police are here to protect us from people like Rodney King, to keep the suburbs free of undesirables like him. The jury agreed.
When I heard the news on television, like many other people I knew a terrible wrong had been done. I didn’t know how terrible until reports of the rioting started coming in.
It was horrifying. I never thought I would see such scenes in the streets of America, The image that keeps coming back to me is that of the woman juror, her face in the shadows, explaining to Ted Koppel of ABC Nightline why the verdict was just; that King deserved the beating, that the police officers did nothing wrong.
What You Eat is What You Are, March 1998
I am a vegetarian by birth, I have remained one by choice. My sympathies lay entirely with the Indian-American who recently filed a lawsuit against Taco Bell for serving him a beef burrito.
I know how it feels to be the object of sloppy service just because you are different. The person in question is a devout Hindu man who takes seriously the proscription against eating beef. He was assured that what he was being served was a bean burrito. It was only upon biting into it that he learned otherwise.
The case generated attention all right—mostly of the derisive variety. It was the fluff piece for the day. Local news anchors could barely hide their smirks. I can’t imagine the same anchors making fun of the Jewish proscription against mixing beef and dairy. Why?
DesiQ 2000 Conference, July 2000
By the time you read this, the DesiQ 2000 Conference in San Francisco will be over. This was a conference of South Asian gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people organized by Trikone. Trikone provided a nurturing space for me during my formative years as a gay, Indian man. Through it, I learned that ancient India acknowledged, documented and accepted variations in human sexuality long before other cultures did.
My training in writing, editing and publishing began with the Trikone newsletter in 1986, more than a year prior to India Currents. Without Trikone, there would have been no India Currents.
Aftermath of 9/11, October 2001
The footage could have come straight out of a Bruce Willis movie, but it was frighteningly, sickeningly real. The terrorist attacks of September 11 left me shaken and speechless. In the days since, Indian-Americans also had to watch their backs: two Sikh men have been murdered and other Indians subjected to violence and intimidation in retaliatory attacks. Vigilante violence against Indians has occurred after every major international crisis—from the Iran hostage drama to the Gulf War—and I must ask: Why? What did we do?
The Freedom to Dissent, November 2002
Some readers took exception to last month’s editorial that criticized George Bush’s performance. I admit it. I am not a fan. What is it, then, about last month’s editorial that offends? That it was critical of the President? Or that it came from an immigrant?
Is it that we can tolerate only a certain narrow range of opinions from immigrants? Why are the only acceptable opinions from immigrants gratitude, loyalty, and patriotism? Can’t an immigrant dissent? This publication has a long tradition of making space for points of view that differ from published editorials, letters, and articles. If you have a different point of view, stated thoughtfully, you can be sure it will find space in these pages.
Editorial by Ashok Jethanandani
Lifestyles of the Rich, September 2003
Twenty years ago, when I immigrated to these shores, I adopted this lifestyle enthusiastically. What was there to not like about it? I had no complaints about central heating, air-conditioning or hot showers. My refrigerator stocked with attractively packaged processed foods; I felt superior about my ability to cook dinner in 30 minutes flat. Efficiency reigned supreme. Before long, I had become another one of the 290 million Americans, who, on average, consume 25 times as much of the world’s resources as the rest of the world. We can’t continue our wasteful and excessive habits. Like many concerned Americans, my partner Arvind and I have been evaluating and simplifying our choices. Adopting the American lifestyle was easy; it’s the undoing that is a slow, thoughtful, and rewarding process.
Editorial by Sandip Roy-Chowdhury
A Sense of Belonging, December 2004-January 2005
My aunt in England always called him, “your Bush.” She protested his foreign policy vociferously on the phone to me as if I had a
direct line to the White House. Within two days of the Bush re-election, she passed away in London. The two events were not related but made for a bleak week in November.
In death, Pishimoni, as I called her, reminded me that we can always create a space to belong to if we really try. When I arrived in the United States, Pishimoni taught me to cook the immigrant way with substitutes. Over transatlantic phone calls, we traded recipes. Do you know, she would tell me, that turnips with shrimp is almost as good as that hard-to-find lau for lau-chingri?
Now my cousin and I pore over a long list of funeral essentials and acceptable substitutes that the priest has emailed. No holy tulsi plant? Not to worry—you can just use basil instead. This is a funeral of substitutes. And that feels okay. Once the substitutes were all about recreating a corner of home. But perhaps at some point, the substitutes have become us, their taste more familiar, more real than the ones they were meant to evoke.
Editorial by Ashok Jethanandani
Bring Them Home, December 2005-January 2006
The case for invading Iraq, founded on selective intelligence and repeated bold-faced lies, is unraveling. In the run-up to the war in 2003 President Bush used his bully pulpit to assert that Iraq possessed WMD and posed a grave threat to the United States. No WMD were found in Iraq.
The mood of the public has changed. Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American solider killed in Iraq, made headlines by setting up a roadside camp en route to the President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, and demanding a meeting with the President. The invasion of Iraq was devious, hasty, and misguided, and the occupation has resulted in over 2,000 U.S. casualties and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead. It’s time to withdraw our troops.
Editorial by Arvind Kumar
Truth Will Out, September 2006
At a campaign rally, surrounded by a nearly all-white audience, Virginia senator George Allen chose to publicly mock a young Indian-American student, 20 year-old S.R. Sidarth. “This fellow over here with the yellow shirt, macaca or whatever his name is…” Laughter. A few seconds later, he repeated the slur: “Let’s give a welcome to macaca here.
Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia” Gleeful applause. Directed at the only non-white person in the audience, his words suggest that only white people can be full Americans.
In today’s America where the President fails to address the nation’s largest African-American organization five years in a row, where the treasonous leaking of a CIA operative’s identity remains unpunished, where instigating and stoking wars remain acceptable government policy, the small matter of a Republican incumbent’s racist ad-libbing appears par for the course.
Editorials by Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan, December 2007-January 2008
Dear Mr. Srinivasan
I begin to receive messages that start with the assured, “Dear Mr. Srinivasan.” My full name is listed in both our print and online magazines, so anyone who knows to address an email to “Mr. Srinivasan” would have encountered my first name as well. Is it just unfamiliarity? But, Mr. Srinivasan continues to receive email, even from readers and contributors with patently Indian and South Asian names.
Did anyone ever address an email to Ashok, “Dear Ms. Jethanandani” or “Dear Editor Madam?” Why the assumption that an editor—whether with a known, unknown or entirely unintelligible name —simply by being in a position of some responsibilities must be male?
The Morning After, February 2008
It’s tempting to think that the stereotypical missteps of American youth—drug use, abuse of aclohol, unplanned pregnancies, unwanted sexual encounters, addictions of various kinds—are the concerns of “other families.” In December 2006, at my alma mater, Duke University, a med student’s life was tragically cut short by what may have amounted to a night of binge drinking. He had such incredible promise; his accidental death shattered all of our illusions.
The binge lifestyle is real. But we would, all-youth and adults alike—be fools to think that our cultural backgrounds, our family values, and our good intentions somehow grant us immunity to addiction, over-indulgence, accidents and regret
Editorials by Vidya Pradhan
Ritual Sans Religion, November 2009
“But…but…but,” sputtered my son as I yanked the covers off him on a cool morning in October. “You’re not even religious!” He was protesting my early morning diktat of hair oil massage and bath that used to be the Diwali tradition in my parents’ house.
And he had a point. The lonely idols in the corner of the kitchen, surely installed by a visiting grandmother, gather layers of dust till the autumn of every year, when a sudden surge of religious fervor makes me clean them.
To my surprise, the kids cooperated with the hair massage and bathing ritual with minimal grumbling, no doubt to humor their whimsical mom. The new clothes (from Target) were welcomed, the sweets sampled, and my daughter and I even sang a bhajan in front of the newly clean idols.
For my American born children, family togetherness may come to be signified by gathering around a roast turkey at Thanksgiving, or sipping mulled cider around a present-laden Christmas tree, but I hope some of the wonder and delight of Diwali that I carry from my childhood gets handed down to them as well.
It’s “In” to be Desi, May 2010
A friend and I recently met for coffee at Starbucks. After a few minutes of conversation, she remarked, “They’re playing Bollywood music!” The sounds were unmistakably desi—not an India-inspired fusion—a fact that should have been jolting—but what surprised me more was that we had not noticed it right away.
India seems to be everywhere these days.
A desi chef on Iron Chef America infuses leeks into her pani puri offering. Bhangra dancers perform at the White House. Americans tuck into cilantro-sprinkled pizza, pausing to sip masala chai.
This is what assimilation is all about, when pieces of your homeland’s culture blend in seamlessly with the ethos of your adopted country. Instead of regretting the loss of purity, I rejoice that our legacy will survive as colorful threads of the omplex tapestry that is America.
Thinking Different, November 2011
I am not a fan of the Mac and I don’t own any Iproducts, but there was a lump in my throat when I learnt of Steve Jobs’ passing. No account can shatter the turtle-necked mystique of a man who demanded audiences with presidents, but went trick-or-treating in his neighborhood like any other dad, who once roamed India as a hippie but later went on to wage tense battles with corporate competitors. He believed he would die young, and therefore wanted to accomplish a lot quickly so he could, “leave a mark on Silicon Valley history.”
You did, Steve, you most certainly did.
Editorials by Jaya Padmanabhan
“Sweet are the Uses of Adversity,” November 2012
Chinese-Indian-American-Berkeley resident Yin Marsh in her memoir Doing Time With Nehru, relates how she and her family were “carted off like common criminals” in India during the India-China war when ethnic Chinese were herded and dispatched to an internment campt to Rajasthan, while her neighbors looked on through their windows.
Each one of us has personal experiences of being excluded or alienated. It is that feeling of being a mere observer in the events that shape our own lives. It gives wings to the sense of inferiority that lies latent in us. I admire the tenacity we have to overcome our various mistreatments. It was Ernest Hemingway who once said that, “the world breaks everyone, and afterwards, some are strong at the broken places.” We are the “some.”
The Shadows of Twelve Million, February 2013
There are 12 million shadows in America. They live, eat and work in this immigrant nation. They, like me, came to the United States in search of prosperity. They, unlike me, stay in the shadows, remain unaccounted for, and live with the constant fear of deportation.
What should we do with the 12 million currently living among us?
The only ethical solution lies in providing a quicker pathway to legalization. With the legitimization of 12 million, there will be an infusion of tax revenue into our much-needed coffers; we will not be burdened with the cost of education, and our doctors and hospitals will get compensated for the care they give.
Isn’t it better to have people in our society grateful for what they’ve been given rather than resentful for what they’ve been denied?
How Jay-Z Trumped Modi, June 2014
Let’s wrap our heads around this. India conducted the largest elections—814,500,000 people had a ballot. Voter turnout hit a stunning 66.38%—More than 500 million people voted! The new Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet “India has won! Acche din aanewale hain!” (Good days ahead!) was re-tweeted 70,556 times (as of May 27) setting a record as the nation’s most re-tweeted post. Narendra Modi is the sixth most followed world leader on Twitter.
These are electrifying numbers and reflect an evolving India, which the western media is still trying to understand. This was ridiculously apparent on the evening of May 15, when India’s election results were rapidly streaming in. At about the same time, CNN was playing and replaying the video of Jay-Z being assaulted in an elevator by his sister-in-law Solange; ABC had the Wheel of Fortune contestant Sili Pese solving “Heavenly Body,” and PBS’s NewsHour pontificated on the unsure situation in Greece and France. No mention of India’s elections on any television channel, except on Comedy Central, where the Daily Show’s Jason Jones put out a hilarious spoof on what the minority looks like in India.
Are You One of Those? March 2015
Late one snowy evening, three girls and three boys were sitting in a New York dorm room casually conversing over insomnia cookies. All was cozy till the boys began to share what parts of the female anatomy they preferred. One of the girls warned that the conversation had begun to make her uncomfortable. To which, one of the boys asked, “Oh, are you one of those?”
On discussing the incident later with the girls, two of whom are my daughters, I gathered their indignation at the boys’ remarks. They felt that the boys had trampled over gender boundaries by fetishizing women’s bodies and then compounded their miscalculations by slapping a “pseudo-alienating” label on them. It is more than likely that the boys did not mean what they said maliciously, but merely to provoke a reaction. This situation gave rise to many questions.
How do young men and women experience gender? How much has changed since the advent of women’s rights?
The New York interaction concluded that evening when one of the girls remarked: “Shouldn’t everyone be one of those?” Nicely put! Let’s say it now and say it again, without the noise of anger: Yes, we are one of those.
Editorial by Nirupama Vaidhyanathan
Vote! November 2016
The malaise of apathy is the worst of sins. Indian-Americans are now among the most successful immigrant communities in America. It is important to recognize that this was built on meritocracy, a meritocracy made possible by generations of Americans who battled discrimination of every form. If your child can now attend the school of your choice, if you proudly wear your religious symbol on your person, and express your opinions freely, all without fear of discrimination, it is not because of pure happenstance. It is because of the tireless efforts of millions of Americans who chose to express their views on what this country should be—through the power of the ballot box.
The right to vote is both a duty and a privilege, and is especially so in this election which I am dubbing the –ism election. Racism and sexism have been in full display. Even Mr. and Mrs. India would have heard about the video this election cycle—the one where Trump bragged about making unwanted sexual advances. Before the video surfaced, India Currents had planned the November cover to feature photos of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with a headline “Vote!” After the video, the intense outrage we felt prompted an editorial decision to carry only Hillary Clinton’s image on the cover. For the first time in thirty years, we are endosring a presidential nominee—Hillary Clinton to be the next President.
A Disease of the Mind
It is an ordinary grocery store. A woman is placing grocery bags in her car in the parking lot. Her husband hasn’t yet emerged from the store. A young white man walks by with the friendly greeting, “F**ing Indian. Why don’t you go back where you came from?” Incidents like this are not altogether uncommon, and they leave us shaken, humiliated, angry, but we rarely feel like telling anyone else.
Some of us will find fault with that woman. Did she have to wear a sari to the store? Doesn’t she know better than to be in the parking lot alone? Where was her husband? Perhaps it is said out of concern for her, but why blame the victim? The real problem lies elsewhere
That is there are still people in this world who can despise you and look down upon you simply because of who you are, where you were born, and what color your skin is. They suffer from a disease. It is called racism.
Relevant Then, Relevant Now
This editorial was not written by me in 2017. It was written by Arvind Kumar in 1988. These incidents are still happening, and the words still ring true today in Silicon Valley.
Have things not changed?
—Nirupama Vaidhyanathan, Managing Editor
First published in April 2017.