I am not one to swoon in support of Bobby Jindal, the 13th or 15th (or is it 20th?) declared aspirant in the republican nomination – you know that guy – tanned and ready? Before he was tanned and ready he was American and not Indian American. And even before that he was Christian and not Hindu.

All that said, my issue is not with Mr. non-brown, non-Hindu, non-Indian American, non-democrat  Bobby Jindal.

I am guessing even before he was not Hindu he was not Bobby. May be he was Bharat? I have no idea – the brown media was not all over him in those days.

My issue is, you guessed it, with the aforementioned brown media in America –  the plethora of supposed intellectuals, writers, news hounds and just hordes of face-bookers who are comfortably born of first generation brown wombs that coddled and toiled to make brown young adults mainstream in Ivy Leagues.

Then a great social upheaval heaved. That first generation brown people believing in the All American Value of  equal opportunity through hard work became wealthy and respected and all these same brown kids suddenly reclaimed their brownness. Now they are up in arms against Jindal with articles like “Jindal shuns Indian Heritage. Isn’t Jindal brown enough?, Jindal distances himself from Indians… blah, blah”,

Hey – at least Jindal is being honest. It is true, black, brown or white, we are Americans first and hyphenated second. We are secular first and free to choose religion second, we are politically active first and free to choose a party second – yeah – even if the party sucks.

So, my plea is to give Bobby Jindal the intellectual bandwidth he may not deserve but as a true American (especially if brown), you owe him.

There is baggage to growing up brown. I get that. Kal Penn, when in UCLA, used to be very vocal in this area. I remember reading his rant in the college magazine when my kids were in school there. I was sure the guy was going nowhere – I mean his writing not his thinking – because kids grow up into responsible adults – given enough love and understanding. Kal Penn is doing fine – thank you.

My own brown children in High school with American accents made fun of my Indian accent. I remember when they would not come to political awareness events I hosted because it only involved Indians- actually Americans but brown ones. I remember when they said they were being forced into engineering or medicine as it was too Indian.

Then how come so many are writers? Judging from the din in brown media these days – far too many.

There are also a few running for political office. And I am glad – at least they are doing something. You go Bobby Jindal and may the best man win.

And  yes, brown people do tan but they don’t need tanning lotion to tan. Just getting out in the sun is enough or too much – their skin burns when light reflects off of snow or water just like any other skin. Brown people also come in a range of brown shades which may be from tanning as well as thousands of years of mixed up genetics.

Last night I heard Jimmy Fallon riff poor Bobby – though isn’t that some kind of an accomplishment?

But Jimmy said nothing of Jindal being brown. Maybe that’s an example to follow.

Published by neerja2014

aspiring, perspiring, trying: yes. writing: sometimes publishing: tomorrow

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  1. The media, brown or otherwise, thrives on its tendancy to eat their young…critics love to find something wrong, something negative. Why is it so hard for them to just allow Bobby Jindal to be whomever he wants to be? I have been around for 80 years…and I have been all manner of Myself over the years, politically opposite, religious and non-religion, a student and a teacher–but still, I am who I am…and although my outlook on life has evolved, it is still me inside the skin. I’m not sure what the point of this reply is LOL, I just tend to say what I believe, and I never think of it as being wishy-washy…I consider myself flexible. My beliefs when I was 20 are not the same as now. I think I’ll turn that into a blog post…thanks!

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  2. I enjoy your blogs and it’s not because I’m brown! It’s just your slant on things that are interesting. I can also picture you saying these things, as I know you as a friend of the family.
    Keep writing, you have fans on the East Coast too!

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  3. ah, a kindred soul… I enjoy reading your comments, Smita, I find your position refreshing and honest. Jindal is not my candidate either, not based on his skin or heritage, but on his party affiliation, which is completely opposed to everything I believe in. nice blog… pretty, too, like the rosy background color and design.

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  4. You make very good points Smita. Also, from a vote perspective, the Indian American community is relatively small and so in a national campaign it makes sense to address the broader voting blocs (may even be managed by his campaign). So for media to focus just on his birth is only seeking sensationalism.

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  5. Neerja – good blog. Jindal is not my candidate – neither his party’s nor his priorities are aligned with mine – but the brown media’s flogging of Jindal is pretty astounding because his brown quotient is irrelevant. He is running for office in the US not India, so his qualifications should be assessed in that context.
    Two other things occur to me: 1. Perhaps his Indian roots have emboldened him to make unconventional choices. Surely being Indian means being inherently secular, open to diversity, free to choose, and very comfortable in the knowledge that other Indians will respect these choices. The brown media is being pretty hypocritical and petty, and really not helpful. 2. We are assigned countries, religion, community, etc., at birth – this is not of our choosing. Self identification regardless of birth circumstances can be a good thing. It means that you are not defined by your birth alone and that you can step outside it and redefine yourself to be whoever you aspire to be. This is not rejection of a previous life but an outreach to another that is more in keeping of where you want to go.

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