Here we go again….

JoeBiden.jpgOnce again, Indian-Americans have been unwillingly thrust into the heart of a contentious American political battle. For those of you who don’t remember, in 2006, incumbent Senator George Allen singled out and subsequently called an Indian-American, S.R. Sidarth, “macaca” while on the campaign trail. See video here. As The Washington Post’s national political reporter noted, Allen’s use of that slur was a “turning point” in his failed reelection bid, and became “an everlasting part of the political landscape.”

Just a few days ago, presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama selected fellow Senator Joe Biden to serve as his running mate. In 2006, Senator Biden said, “In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian-Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.” See video here.

Senator Obama’s decision has generated renewed interest in the 7-Eleven gaffe. See, e.g., here and here. The question is, should we care? In this post, I argue “yes.”

Senator Biden’s comments are not problematic because he suggests that Indian-Americans work in a 7-Eleven or Dunkin’ Donuts. Many immigrants come to this nation — some with limited education, professional contacts, or financial wherewithal — in search of a decent, honest living in order to provide for themselves and their families, some members of which still may be in their homeland. Such work is entirely consistent with Guru Nanak’s famous adage that “Truth is High, but Higher still is Truthful Living.”

Moreover, it is not uncommon for these individuals to endure verbal harassment and the threat of violence while working their (often late-night) shifts. Turbaned Sikhs are particularly susceptible to the insults and dangerous actions of others. Phulkari’s post is another reminder of this unfortunate reality.

Accordingly, there is nothing inherently “wrong” or degrading about working in a convenience store or service setting. In contrast, these employees receive an honest wage for their underappreciated, but necessary services, where the negative treatment from others can be an unfortunate cost of performing such work. (I disagree, however, that such employees “assume the risk” of harassment or worse.)

What is distressing about Senator Biden’s comments is that, of all the possible examples of how to convey that Indian-Americans are contributing to his state, he decides to mention only their work in a 7-Eleven or Dunkin’ Donuts. The universe of professions and jobs that Indian-Americans have occupied in the States is expansive and ever-growing; however Senator Biden effectively perpetuated and reinforced the stereotype that Indian-Americans’ place in the American workforce is limited to the convenience store or fast food joint.

Members of the Indian- and Sikh-American communities may know this is not the case, however in the post-9/11 world impressions and statements conveyed by national political leaders carry significant weight and — in the age of YouTube — powerful momentum. To be marginalized in terms of their contribution to America is arguably to place Indians and Sikhs on the fringe of who truly is American. Senator Biden did not note that Indian-Americans are embedded in and inextricably part of America, but instead suggested that they exist in sectors of society that are largely undesirable, albeit in growing numbers.

To be sure, representations of Indians or Sikhs in a service setting are not always harmful. For example, the recent Will Smith blockbuster, Hancock, portrays a turbaned Sikh who is working at a convenience store. The Sikh is able to inform Smith’s character that he is in trouble and, together, they are able to secure themselves and the store. While the movie has a turbaned Sikh playing a convenience store worker, it at least provides the added knowledge to the viewer that turbaned Sikhs can be honest and courageous people. Senator Biden’s comments did not provide anything positive to people’s understanding of Indians or Sikhs in America.

It’s unreasonable to expect candidates and politicians to be perfect in their speech. And this is not to say that Senator Biden intended to issue a racial jab at Indian-Americans or that he does not enjoy strong relations with Indian-Americans. But, he should be held responsible for what he has said and we can hope that the next time he refers to Indians or Sikhs, he at least offers a more meaningful view of their contribution to this great nation.


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38 Responses to “Here we go again….”

  1. Reema says:

    Welcome to The Langar Hall Publius!

    How do you think Biden should be "held responsible" for his statement in this critical election?

    I agree that his statement shouldn't be swept under the carpet, but am also concerned that making it a huge issue could deter South Asian voters who are unconvinced by the Democratic ticket, towards voting R. I don't know where you stand politically, but in my opinion, another 4-8 GOP years would be disproportional punishment for Biden's gaffe, and we'd all be suffering instead of just Biden.

  2. Reema says:

    Welcome to The Langar Hall Publius!

    How do you think Biden should be “held responsible” for his statement in this critical election?

    I agree that his statement shouldn’t be swept under the carpet, but am also concerned that making it a huge issue could deter South Asian voters who are unconvinced by the Democratic ticket, towards voting R. I don’t know where you stand politically, but in my opinion, another 4-8 GOP years would be disproportional punishment for Biden’s gaffe, and we’d all be suffering instead of just Biden.

  3. sizzle says:

    it's a gaffe. get over it. we all make stupid comments all the time. given how much of a blowhard Biden is, i'm suprised it doesnt happen more often. i don't particularly like the man, most of his policies, etc….but, i dislike hypersensitivity far more. as a verbiose blowhard myself, i think it may have been an ill advised attempt at humor since the most common stereotype of indians stems from Apu on the Simpsons, and countless other pop culture caricatures. i don't hold it against the politician Biden himself, especially since only the talking heads even noticed the gaffe and thus no real damage was done but to his reputation amongst people like you, but the lack of caution in that instance is one small reason i don't think he is a particularly wise choice for Obama. but then again, his verbal and cerebral quickness definitely fills a necessary role as well.

    publius, eh? live up to the reference.

  4. sizzle says:

    it’s a gaffe. get over it. we all make stupid comments all the time. given how much of a blowhard Biden is, i’m suprised it doesnt happen more often. i don’t particularly like the man, most of his policies, etc….but, i dislike hypersensitivity far more. as a verbiose blowhard myself, i think it may have been an ill advised attempt at humor since the most common stereotype of indians stems from Apu on the Simpsons, and countless other pop culture caricatures. i don’t hold it against the politician Biden himself, especially since only the talking heads even noticed the gaffe and thus no real damage was done but to his reputation amongst people like you, but the lack of caution in that instance is one small reason i don’t think he is a particularly wise choice for Obama. but then again, his verbal and cerebral quickness definitely fills a necessary role as well.

    publius, eh? live up to the reference.

  5. Publius says:

    Let the games begin!

    sizzle, I readily acknowledge that people, including politicians, commit errors when speaking. Just because a statement may be considered a "gaffe," however, does not mean that it is immune from analysis or criticism. This is particularly the case with public officials, who are on greater notice that their statements may be recorded and thereafter dissected, and face the prospect that their individual mistakes may be construed as statements of official beliefs.

    To exempt certain public comments from review would give a perverse incentive to politicians to recharacterize potentially discriminatory or crude remarks as mere mistakes or bad jokes. Rather than engage in the process of bifurcating gaffes from reviewable statements and give politicians a pass for the former, I prefer to hold politicians to account.

    To be sure, context matters. The response that follows an off-hand comment to an interviewee may demand a different level of scrutiny than an ad-libbed line on stage at the DNC. But recognizing that context is relevant means only that our expectations regarding political statements are not static — not that the statements themselves should be categorically ignored, which is what "getting over it" would entail.

    With respect to the interest in the Senator Biden remark in question, it does not appear that only "talking heads" care. A simple Google News search reveals over 5,300 news articles and over 1,700 blog entries expressly mentioning it. Suggesting that the subject matter is important only to "talking heads" is not only misleading but factually wrong.

    The point is not to call for Senator Obama to reconsider his decision or for Senator Biden to resign based on this one statement. My intent is extremely limited — to explain that this single statement, however well-intentioned, can be harmful to the public's understanding of Indian-Americans and those who happen to work certain jobs.

    Finally, it would be impossible for me to "live up to the reference." My only intent is to convey, in a very modest way, an appreciation for their efforts and to engage in vibrant discussion in a nation they envisioned.

  6. Publius says:

    Let the games begin!

    sizzle, I readily acknowledge that people, including politicians, commit errors when speaking. Just because a statement may be considered a “gaffe,” however, does not mean that it is immune from analysis or criticism. This is particularly the case with public officials, who are on greater notice that their statements may be recorded and thereafter dissected, and face the prospect that their individual mistakes may be construed as statements of official beliefs.

    To exempt certain public comments from review would give a perverse incentive to politicians to recharacterize potentially discriminatory or crude remarks as mere mistakes or bad jokes. Rather than engage in the process of bifurcating gaffes from reviewable statements and give politicians a pass for the former, I prefer to hold politicians to account.

    To be sure, context matters. The response that follows an off-hand comment to an interviewee may demand a different level of scrutiny than an ad-libbed line on stage at the DNC. But recognizing that context is relevant means only that our expectations regarding political statements are not static — not that the statements themselves should be categorically ignored, which is what “getting over it” would entail.

    With respect to the interest in the Senator Biden remark in question, it does not appear that only “talking heads” care. A simple Google News search reveals over 5,300 news articles and over 1,700 blog entries expressly mentioning it. Suggesting that the subject matter is important only to “talking heads” is not only misleading but factually wrong.

    The point is not to call for Senator Obama to reconsider his decision or for Senator Biden to resign based on this one statement. My intent is extremely limited — to explain that this single statement, however well-intentioned, can be harmful to the public’s understanding of Indian-Americans and those who happen to work certain jobs.

    Finally, it would be impossible for me to “live up to the reference.” My only intent is to convey, in a very modest way, an appreciation for their efforts and to engage in vibrant discussion in a nation they envisioned.

  7. sizzle says:

    ahhh, sorry if i came across wrong. by saying "live up to the reference," i only meant that as words of encouragement since you're a new writer, not condescension in any way! since it is impossible for anyone to to live up to the original publius(es). reading it again now, i can see that i probably came across as critical and as a bit of an ass. so, in simpler words – welcome, and hope to read some good stuff in the future.

    i understand context, i understand the higher standard for pols, i concede all of your points. i just don't think it's that big of a deal, especially when you look at who said it. interesting point about the news stories and blog hits…but, 5500 stories and 1700 blog posts isn't all that much, especially when the story came to light explicitly via "talking heads" and pundits. i remember precisely when this happened, and chuckled. but guess what was on all the news channels – talking heads from the right spinning it against Biden the democrat to make him look bad, no better on race relations and sensitivity and PC'ness than them. politics as usual – use any gaffe to your advantage. seeing and hearing about this, and hearing the spin, people who maintain blogs, mostly personal, probably bitched about it. plus, indian american groups that had to find some purpose for their existence, complained and tried to take action in an effort to fundraiser. but knowing that some would get their panties(or to be fair, briefs) in a bunch and care, media outlets ran snippets as well. just because feathers were ruffled doesnt mean that they deserved to be ruffled. it was a non-issue then, and a non-issue now. eventually, in 2006………………the story died. until recently, when he was picked, and his history began to be scrutinized to a new level, and not only dunkin donuts, but it's full of little gaffes because he TALKS SO MUCH. he is the antithesis of Obama, who's every little word is calculated (unless there's an unknown mic nearby and he's speaking of guns, religion, and Pennsylvania voters). dude just runs his mouth – but his record, what matters, shows nothing that should make south Asians concerned about his stance towards minorities and them in particular. hell, in his senate capacity, chairman of the senate foreign relitions committee, he helped india with the nuclear deal india (and indians) want so much. i can't recall exactly, but i'm pretty sure he's visited Pakistan and India and has chilled with the Indian brothas.

    but, whatever. knowing the context, his history, his role, knowing more than 95% of the general public, i chose to look past something like this. others, who i suspect aren't as informed or had other agendas, did not. that they were outraged doesnt justify the outrage. i think this is a total non-issue, and there's no point, whether here or on sepia, to even raise it again but for the purpose of having something new to write about.

  8. sizzle says:

    ahhh, sorry if i came across wrong. by saying “live up to the reference,” i only meant that as words of encouragement since you’re a new writer, not condescension in any way! since it is impossible for anyone to to live up to the original publius(es). reading it again now, i can see that i probably came across as critical and as a bit of an ass. so, in simpler words – welcome, and hope to read some good stuff in the future.

    i understand context, i understand the higher standard for pols, i concede all of your points. i just don’t think it’s that big of a deal, especially when you look at who said it. interesting point about the news stories and blog hits…but, 5500 stories and 1700 blog posts isn’t all that much, especially when the story came to light explicitly via “talking heads” and pundits. i remember precisely when this happened, and chuckled. but guess what was on all the news channels – talking heads from the right spinning it against Biden the democrat to make him look bad, no better on race relations and sensitivity and PC’ness than them. politics as usual – use any gaffe to your advantage. seeing and hearing about this, and hearing the spin, people who maintain blogs, mostly personal, probably bitched about it. plus, indian american groups that had to find some purpose for their existence, complained and tried to take action in an effort to fundraiser. but knowing that some would get their panties(or to be fair, briefs) in a bunch and care, media outlets ran snippets as well. just because feathers were ruffled doesnt mean that they deserved to be ruffled. it was a non-issue then, and a non-issue now. eventually, in 2006………………the story died. until recently, when he was picked, and his history began to be scrutinized to a new level, and not only dunkin donuts, but it’s full of little gaffes because he TALKS SO MUCH. he is the antithesis of Obama, who’s every little word is calculated (unless there’s an unknown mic nearby and he’s speaking of guns, religion, and Pennsylvania voters). dude just runs his mouth – but his record, what matters, shows nothing that should make south Asians concerned about his stance towards minorities and them in particular. hell, in his senate capacity, chairman of the senate foreign relitions committee, he helped india with the nuclear deal india (and indians) want so much. i can’t recall exactly, but i’m pretty sure he’s visited Pakistan and India and has chilled with the Indian brothas.

    but, whatever. knowing the context, his history, his role, knowing more than 95% of the general public, i chose to look past something like this. others, who i suspect aren’t as informed or had other agendas, did not. that they were outraged doesnt justify the outrage. i think this is a total non-issue, and there’s no point, whether here or on sepia, to even raise it again but for the purpose of having something new to write about.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The contrast between former Senator George Allen's rhetorical gaffe and that of Sen. Biden is sharp.

    Sen. Biden explicitly insulted America's Indian population. As for Allen's own untimely slip-up, no one can be certain as to the meaning he intended for "Macaca."

  10. Anonymous says:

    And there are many meanings for that term.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The contrast between former Senator George Allen’s rhetorical gaffe and that of Sen. Biden is sharp.

    Sen. Biden explicitly insulted America’s Indian population. As for Allen’s own untimely slip-up, no one can be certain as to the meaning he intended for “Macaca.”

  12. Anonymous says:

    And there are many meanings for that term.

  13. Publius says:

    sizzle, thanks for your response. I don't think we see the world that differently after all :) That said, I want to address one comment that you made, namely that "i think this is a total non-issue, and there’s no point, whether here or on sepia, to even raise it again but for the purpose of having something new to write about."

    Some have argued that Senator Biden was not the best choice because he has a tendency to speak carelessly. This "gaffe" is an example of that tendency. This gaffe, as with other instances of his past statements and writings, are on the table *now* because Senator Obama's decision is being examined and Senator Biden may hold a position of great power in this world. The next question is whether the substance of the "gaffe" matters. My point is that the "gaffe" is fair game because he is a public figure and it's difficult to differentiate between honest mistakes and more invidious discriminatory views. In fact, the Anonymous commenter above seems to think the "gaffe" was more akin to intentional discrimination. Finally, if the statement in question can and should be looked at, it is my view that it conveyed a harmful view of Indian-Americans even if Senator Biden intended otherwise.

    "So what?" you may say. That is up to the voter, the citizen, the constituent, etc. You may be more willing to let it slide, others (perhaps Anonymous) may not be as generous.

  14. Publius says:

    sizzle, thanks for your response. I don’t think we see the world that differently after all :) That said, I want to address one comment that you made, namely that “i think this is a total non-issue, and theres no point, whether here or on sepia, to even raise it again but for the purpose of having something new to write about.”

    Some have argued that Senator Biden was not the best choice because he has a tendency to speak carelessly. This “gaffe” is an example of that tendency. This gaffe, as with other instances of his past statements and writings, are on the table *now* because Senator Obama’s decision is being examined and Senator Biden may hold a position of great power in this world. The next question is whether the substance of the “gaffe” matters. My point is that the “gaffe” is fair game because he is a public figure and it’s difficult to differentiate between honest mistakes and more invidious discriminatory views. In fact, the Anonymous commenter above seems to think the “gaffe” was more akin to intentional discrimination. Finally, if the statement in question can and should be looked at, it is my view that it conveyed a harmful view of Indian-Americans even if Senator Biden intended otherwise.

    “So what?” you may say. That is up to the voter, the citizen, the constituent, etc. You may be more willing to let it slide, others (perhaps Anonymous) may not be as generous.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "Publius," I like your line of reasoning.

  16. sizzle says:

    maybe this is where some of us get labeled elitist…but this is where it's wise to show discretion and not pander to others' ignorance or heightened sense of misplaced outrage, especailly 2 years after the fact.

    but, to each their own. having personally dealt with so many explicit, implicit and subtle instances of racism from fellow citizens, fellow professionals, as well as authority and government figures who have had the power to affect my life through the legal system, raising cane and repeatedly crying over something as dumb as this this is akin to crying wolf – our peoples waste political capital we should rserve for something far more significant. but, having witnessed and read about how Indians in India respond to even the slightest percieved slight, perhaps our peoples think that being a squeaky wheel will get the grease. but again, that's not to say it's right. if you agree or disagree – fine. but if you agree, don't fan the flames and post about it. "Indian-Americans have been unwillingly thrust into the heart of a contentious American political battle" only because it's being written about, qualified with the claim that "other people care," so i should write about it. well – let the people who actually care and are offended write about it. i doubt there's too many of them, or really have an argument for rehashing the gaffe to stand on.

    relatedly, as far as anonymous is concerned – i'd love to respond to anonymous's line of reasoning since s/he is so obviously outraged – but s/he hasn't really provided any. hey anonymous – join the discussion rather than piping in vague, unsubstantiated comments. the very perception of people like you – the outraged masses that i can't seem to ever find or hear from – are the very reason we're engaged in this discourse.

  17. Publius says:

    sizzle, do you contend that 1) it is unreasonable to perceive Senator Biden's remark as perpetuating stereotypes regarding Indian-Americans, 2) irrespective of your answer to the first question, the remark doesn't deserve attention today because it happened in the past, even though Senator Biden was just nominated as the Dems' candidate for VP of the United States?

    More generally, I fail to see how Indian-Americans have thrust themselves into this debate by writing about it. It was Senator Biden who made the comment under review. That's like saying if Michael Richards says something derogatory about African-Americans, African-Americans are responsible for the issue by writing about it. And, if they take your advice, African-Americans should defer and let "other people who care" write about it instead.

    Finally, you use the word "outraged." With respect, I think that characterization is an exaggeration. I have not called for any drastic responses to what Senator Biden said (e.g., public apology, resignation, etc.), and have expressly said that any consequences should be decided by individual voters, constituents, citizens, etc. I don't think that pointing out a problematic statement — in consideration of the tone of the initial post and subsequent comments — can be equated with outrage.

  18. Anonymous says:

    “Publius,” I like your line of reasoning.

  19. sizzle says:

    maybe this is where some of us get labeled elitist…but this is where it’s wise to show discretion and not pander to others’ ignorance or heightened sense of misplaced outrage, especailly 2 years after the fact.

    but, to each their own. having personally dealt with so many explicit, implicit and subtle instances of racism from fellow citizens, fellow professionals, as well as authority and government figures who have had the power to affect my life through the legal system, raising cane and repeatedly crying over something as dumb as this this is akin to crying wolf – our peoples waste political capital we should rserve for something far more significant. but, having witnessed and read about how Indians in India respond to even the slightest percieved slight, perhaps our peoples think that being a squeaky wheel will get the grease. but again, that’s not to say it’s right. if you agree or disagree – fine. but if you agree, don’t fan the flames and post about it. “Indian-Americans have been unwillingly thrust into the heart of a contentious American political battle” only because it’s being written about, qualified with the claim that “other people care,” so i should write about it. well – let the people who actually care and are offended write about it. i doubt there’s too many of them, or really have an argument for rehashing the gaffe to stand on.

    relatedly, as far as anonymous is concerned – i’d love to respond to anonymous’s line of reasoning since s/he is so obviously outraged – but s/he hasn’t really provided any. hey anonymous – join the discussion rather than piping in vague, unsubstantiated comments. the very perception of people like you – the outraged masses that i can’t seem to ever find or hear from – are the very reason we’re engaged in this discourse.

  20. Publius says:

    sizzle, do you contend that 1) it is unreasonable to perceive Senator Biden’s remark as perpetuating stereotypes regarding Indian-Americans, 2) irrespective of your answer to the first question, the remark doesn’t deserve attention today because it happened in the past, even though Senator Biden was just nominated as the Dems’ candidate for VP of the United States?

    More generally, I fail to see how Indian-Americans have thrust themselves into this debate by writing about it. It was Senator Biden who made the comment under review. That’s like saying if Michael Richards says something derogatory about African-Americans, African-Americans are responsible for the issue by writing about it. And, if they take your advice, African-Americans should defer and let “other people who care” write about it instead.

    Finally, you use the word “outraged.” With respect, I think that characterization is an exaggeration. I have not called for any drastic responses to what Senator Biden said (e.g., public apology, resignation, etc.), and have expressly said that any consequences should be decided by individual voters, constituents, citizens, etc. I don’t think that pointing out a problematic statement — in consideration of the tone of the initial post and subsequent comments — can be equated with outrage.

  21. sizzle says:

    a) as with most of the writers at Langar Hall (there are common characteristics among all y’all thoughts), i doubt we’ll agree, as our perspective and world outlook (ideology?) is far different. thus, this discussion is going to descend to talking to a wall.

    b) but i’ll answer your questions.

    1) it is not unreasonable to believe that Biden’s remarks perpetuate stereotypes. nor is it unreasonable to discuss the matter. but, once it has been put to rest, and he has apologized repeatedly, and acted in the interest of the indian community, it is unreasonable to dwell on the gaffe as indicative of anything more than a gaffe.

    2) related to my response in 1, it is just a gaffe. people were offended (if not outraged) because those comments perpetuated stereotypes, folks were concerned that those words coming from a United States senator, and worried if they were indicative of underlying sentiments. he did more than enough to clear the air. does that mean that a stupid, ill-conceived joke should hang over his head for eternity?

    that’s NOT to say we can’t bring up his propensity for stupid remarks and gaffes now that he’s been nominated for VP. what i do find somewhat asinine is that your entire blog post, and now all of these comments, have not concerned themselves with the fact that he has a tendency to make gaffes, but with the gaffe itself. for all the reasons i’ve already stated above, let it go.

    as for…

    I fail to see how Indian-Americans have thrust themselves into this debate by writing about it.

    …you’ve miscontrued my statment and argument entirely. Indian-Americans have not thrust themselves into the debate by writing about it – Indian-American bloggers have thrust Indian Americans into the debate by writing about it. as i’ve challenged the idea that ongoing outrage of offense is warrated, rather than defending any offense, if not outrage, you’ve fallen back and cloaked yourself with the defense that other Indian Americans care. I really don’t think there are that many Indian Americans who really care, or even REMEMBER the gaffe. And as it’s a gaffe, it is inconsequential to rehash to this level of detail, as i explained above – only that he has a propensity to make gaffes and referencing this as an example. thus, by writing in such detail about it while you haven’t really defended the “offended” sentiment in light of all my points, you are creating the story. thus far, only Anonymous has even voiced any support for again critiquing Biden…and I suspect what we’ve heard is all we’ll get – far from any rational or logical reason for continued discourse but for misplaced hurt sentiments.

    this isn’t hard science, it’s politics, psychology, perceptions, about which we each have our opinions and arguments. but, there’s a level of nuance to it all and how it fits together. i think i’ve explained my position pretty clearly. i just think all this hullabaloo is dumb and even slightly damaging to Indians for all the reasons i’ve already stated…and i’m not one to defend Biden.

  22. sizzle says:

    a) as with most of the writers at Langar Hall (there are common characteristics among all y’all thoughts), i doubt we’ll agree, as our perspective and world outlook (ideology?) is far different. thus, this discussion is going to descend to talking to a wall.

    b) but i’ll answer your questions.

    1) it is not unreasonable to believe that Biden’s remarks perpetuate stereotypes. nor is it unreasonable to discuss the matter. but, once it has been put to rest, and he has apologized repeatedly, and acted in the interest of the indian community, it is unreasonable to dwell on the gaffe as indicative of anything more than a gaffe.

    2) related to my response in 1, it is just a gaffe. people were offended (if not outraged) because those comments perpetuated stereotypes, folks were concerned that those words coming from a United States senator, and worried if they were indicative of underlying sentiments. he did more than enough to clear the air. does that mean that a stupid, ill-conceived joke should hang over his head for eternity?

    that’s NOT to say we can’t bring up his propensity for stupid remarks and gaffes now that he’s been nominated for VP. what i do find somewhat asinine is that your entire blog post, and now all of these comments, have not concerned themselves with the fact that he has a tendency to make gaffes, but with the gaffe itself. for all the reasons i’ve already stated above, let it go.

    as for…

    I fail to see how Indian-Americans have thrust themselves into this debate by writing about it.

    …you’ve miscontrued my statment and argument entirely. Indian-Americans have not thrust themselves into the debate by writing about it – Indian-American bloggers have thrust Indian Americans into the debate by writing about it. as i’ve challenged the idea that ongoing outrage of offense is warrated, rather than defending any offense, if not outrage, you’ve fallen back and cloaked yourself with the defense that other Indian Americans care. I really don’t think there are that many Indian Americans who really care, or even REMEMBER the gaffe. And as it’s a gaffe, it is inconsequential to rehash to this level of detail, as i explained above – only that he has a propensity to make gaffes and referencing this as an example. thus, by writing in such detail about it while you haven’t really defended the “offended” sentiment in light of all my points, you are creating the story. thus far, only Anonymous has even voiced any support for again critiquing Biden…and I suspect what we’ve heard is all we’ll get – far from any rational or logical reason for continued discourse but for misplaced hurt sentiments.

    this isn’t hard science, it’s politics, psychology, perceptions, about which we each have our opinions and arguments. but, there’s a level of nuance to it all and how it fits together. i think i’ve explained my position pretty clearly. i just think all this hullabaloo is dumb and even slightly damaging to Indians for all the reasons i’ve already stated…and i’m not one to defend Biden.

  23. Publius says:

    A stalemate it is. Hopefully next time I'll present you with something a little more challenging and less "asinine" or "dumb" for you. With apologies.

  24. Publius says:

    Briefly – you state:

    “thats NOT to say we cant bring up his propensity for stupid remarks and gaffes now that hes been nominated for VP.”

    So it’s okay today to talk about his propensity for verbal miscues without examining the miscues themselves?

  25. Publius says:

    Briefly – you state:

    “thats NOT to say we cant bring up his propensity for stupid remarks and gaffes now that hes been nominated for VP.”

    So it’s okay today to talk about his propensity for verbal miscues without examining the miscues themselves?

  26. Publius says:

    Your answer seems to be that the remark was just a gaffe and as such we should get over it. As already noted, however, there are people who think it was much more than a simple speech error. If you want to place yourself in the category of people who think it was no big deal, that is your prerogative obviously, but that doesn't mean the topic as a whole can't be discussed for those who continue to believe the remark is problematic.

    You state that "Indian-Americans have not thrust themselves into the debate by writing about it – Indian-American bloggers have thrust Indian Americans." This is a distinction without a difference. Indian-American bloggers necessarily are Indian-Americans. Even so, your comment doesn't address the temporal issue – Senator Biden made the remark first.

    And, non-Indian-Americans, such as the mainstream media, clearly have had interest in the remark. Does this mean all Indian-Americans should let others discuss it when they — the community that is implicated by the remark — should simply sit back?

    Relatedly, you seem to believe that Indian-Americans should only use their political capital for more significant issues. But when you agree that "it is not unreasonable to believe that Biden's remarks perpetuate stereotypes," I would think you'd necessarily have to agree that the remark falls above a threshold justifying examination. Therefore, unsurprisingly, it was examined when it was made, and it is being re-examined because he is the VP candidate.

  27. sizzle says:

    once again…lly? that's all fine and dandy. i've repeatedly – REPEATEDLY – addressed and rebutted every single one of your points. go ahead and read again. go ahead.

    as i predicted, the discussion hit a brick wall.

    in summation – discussing the matter, of course, is anyone's perogative. i only voice my criticism and opinion because i think you're recreating the story (the percieved offense) by rehashing it after it's died; i think the original reaction, and even more so this post, are indicative of hypersensitivity we need to get over, hypersensitivity that i will always criticize; and i think it's a ridiculous waste of time and energy to again focus on such a trivial issue, to cry wolf once again.

    but hey – at least it was something easy to write about.

  28. sizzle says:

    that'd be fantastically swell. i look forward to reading it.

  29. sizzle says:

    really? i think i’ve answered that about 10 times already.

  30. sizzle says:

    really? i think i’ve answered that about 10 times already.

  31. Publius says:

    Your answer seems to be that the remark was just a gaffe and as such we should get over it. As already noted, however, there are people who think it was much more than a simple speech error. If you want to place yourself in the category of people who think it was no big deal, that is your prerogative obviously, but that doesn’t mean the topic as a whole can’t be discussed for those who continue to believe the remark is problematic.

    You state that “Indian-Americans have not thrust themselves into the debate by writing about it – Indian-American bloggers have thrust Indian Americans.” This is a distinction without a difference. Indian-American bloggers necessarily are Indian-Americans. Even so, your comment doesn’t address the temporal issue – Senator Biden made the remark first.

    And, non-Indian-Americans, such as the mainstream media, clearly have had interest in the remark. Does this mean all Indian-Americans should let others discuss it when they — the community that is implicated by the remark — should simply sit back?

    Relatedly, you seem to believe that Indian-Americans should only use their political capital for more significant issues. But when you agree that “it is not unreasonable to believe that Biden’s remarks perpetuate stereotypes,” I would think you’d necessarily have to agree that the remark falls above a threshold justifying examination. Therefore, unsurprisingly, it was examined when it was made, and it is being re-examined because he is the VP candidate.

  32. sizzle says:

    once again…lly? that’s all fine and dandy. i’ve repeatedly – REPEATEDLY – addressed and rebutted every single one of your points. go ahead and read again. go ahead.

    as i predicted, the discussion hit a brick wall.

    in summation – discussing the matter, of course, is anyone’s perogative. i only voice my criticism and opinion because i think you’re recreating the story (the percieved offense) by rehashing it after it’s died; i think the original reaction, and even more so this post, are indicative of hypersensitivity we need to get over, hypersensitivity that i will always criticize; and i think it’s a ridiculous waste of time and energy to again focus on such a trivial issue, to cry wolf once again.

    but hey – at least it was something easy to write about.

  33. Dear Readers

    I think we should not pay any attenion to the statement of Biden that Indians work in some stores like 7-Eleven or Dunkin Donuts. They may be the owners or workers. It makes no difference. They also own and work in motels, hotels and many other establishments. They are almost in all businesses and industries.

    On the other hand we are neglecting what Biden has said positively for India. Just case in point is for the nuclear deal with India.

    Some people always think of negative. I think Biden is a friend of India.

    As regards Sikhs with turban it is for the Sikhs to use public relations as a joint effort by all types of Sikhs (with and without turban). Some Sikh organizations are doing it and that is good.

    Dr. Jaspal Singh Mayell

    Stamford, CT USA

  34. Publius says:

    A stalemate it is. Hopefully next time I’ll present you with something a little more challenging and less “asinine” or “dumb” for you. With apologies.

  35. sizzle says:

    that’d be fantastically swell. i look forward to reading it.

  36. Dear Readers
    I think we should not pay any attenion to the statement of Biden that Indians work in some stores like 7-Eleven or Dunkin Donuts. They may be the owners or workers. It makes no difference. They also own and work in motels, hotels and many other establishments. They are almost in all businesses and industries.

    On the other hand we are neglecting what Biden has said positively for India. Just case in point is for the nuclear deal with India.

    Some people always think of negative. I think Biden is a friend of India.

    As regards Sikhs with turban it is for the Sikhs to use public relations as a joint effort by all types of Sikhs (with and without turban). Some Sikh organizations are doing it and that is good.

    Dr. Jaspal Singh Mayell
    Stamford, CT USA