Sunday January 21, 2018
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Indian-American netizens voicing their support for Donald Trump as US president

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Image source: hollywoodreporter.com

New Delhi: It seems that the political preferences of the Indian diaspora in America seem to be shifting in favour of the Republican Party, particularly Donald Trump, its frontrunner for the White House.

According to social media trends, the US’s third largest ethnic group is overwhelmingly supporting Trump — a billionaire real estate businessman-turned-politician who has courted many controversies ever since he jumped into the fray.

Indians in the US have traditionally been the vote bank for the Democrats. According to a study, as many as 65 percent of Indian-Americans leant towards Democrats, making them the Asian-American subgroup most likely to identify with the party.

But this time, there has been a shift, arguably for the first time in the American electoral history.

Several groups of Indian-Americans, a majority of them Hindus, have taken the social media route to voice their support for Trump. As the 2016 presidential election draws closer, various online communities and pages have come up in support of the realtor.

One such page on Facebook is “Hindus For Trump”. With around 750 “likes”, the page in its description says: “American Hindus are model citizens, educated and industrious. We want a responsible nation where Americans are both safe and free.”

The page portrays Trump as Hindu god Vishnu, making him seated on what looks like a lotus with “Om” written at its centre.

There is also a Political Action Committee (PAC), formed by leading Indian-American businessmen to pool in support and contribution for an effective presidential campaign of Trump. PAC is a type of organisation that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaign for or against candidates or legislations.

Indian-Americans For Trump 2016, one of the PACs supporting Trump, is formed by the members of the American-Hindu community, including Sudhir Parikh, who is the advisory chair for the organisation.

Parikh is the owner of Parikh World Media, an umbrella corporation which houses news outlets influential among Hindus such as Desi Talk, the Indian American and the Gujarat Times.

However, this is not the first presidential endorsement by Hindus for Trump. The world renowned and cross-sectional Indian American Intellectuals Forum (IAIF) endorsed him for the White House in August 2015 in its widely-circulated “India World Geopolitics” newspaper.

Although there has been a massive support for Trump from the Hindu community, a fraction of people from the Muslim community also seems to be supporting him, undeterred by his controversial remarks about the community.

Trump in one of his addresses said that “Islam hates us” and asserted that those having hatred against the US be denied entry into the country. He also called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.

The Republican has also made scathing remarks against the immigrants in his addresses.

Indian-Americans are among the most highly educated racial or ethnic groups in the US, according to a Pew Research Centre study.

According to the study, Hindus make for 51 percent of 3.2 million Indian-Americans, while Christians and Muslims comprise of 18 and 10 per cent respectively. (IANS)

  • Annesha Das Gupta

    If, it is true. The trend that is insidiously emerging can prove to be fatal later for the communities. I don’t think supporting a person who has such parochial mind-set towards the non-white, will prove to be beneficial.

    • Adda

      Trump has never been a racist. He’s just stating facts exist in this real imperfect world.

Next Story

Brown: The colour of toil but non-acceptance across the West?

"This is now our destiny as brown people. Our labour is needed, but citizenship is denied."

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Police Chief David Brown. Image Source: Twitter
  • Kamal Al Solaylee’s book Brown highlights the problems of ‘brown’ people in Trump’s rule
  • Donald Trump is often accused of malingering the image of brown people
  • this book cites many examples of discrimination which brown people go through

Title: Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone); Author: Kamal Al Solaylee

All our social development and our technological advancements don’t seem enough to eradicate our long-persisting atavistic sense of difference based on appearance, which though long-suppressed is now emerging free from its restraints — as proved by the recent intemperate comments by US President Donald Trump on immigrants from a certain set of countries.

Trump’s thinking, as seen in his off-the-cuff remarks, underscore that the questionable classification of race, expressed by the obviously evident and inescapable feature of a person’s skin, is well alive — and extends beyond the white-black binary. What about the yellow, or rather, the (as necessary for the global economy but far more exploited) brown?

Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons
Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons

Trump is only one leading manifestation of the malaise facing brown people — which include West Asians, Latin Americans, North Africans, and South and Southeast Asians — and far beyond the West too or from the “Whites”, says Yemeni-origin, Egypt-bred, Canadian journalist-turned-academician Al Solaylee in this book.

Trump’s victory “largely (but not exclusively)” rode on demonising Mexicans, galvanising sentiment against Muslims and championing white nationalism, the vote for Brexit was mostly pioneered by those with a restrictive view of Englishness, the record of Canada under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives — all these are obscure racial conflicts brewing in the US and Europe for decades now.

Also Read: Mexico can learn about dealing with diaspora from India: Claudia Ruiz-Massieu Salinas

“Examine these tensions closely and you’ll find a strong anti-brown sentiment at the core,” says Al Solaylee as he traces the response to, as well as the experiences of, the residents of Global South, who are forced to migrate to — and much needed in — the Developed North for various reasons, not least of which is the latter’s colonial record.

“Brown as the colour of cheap labour continues on a global scale… brown bodies undertake the work that white and older immigrant Americans refuse to do (and those black slaves were forced to do in previous centuries).

These are low-skill, labour-intensive jobs in unforgiving climates,” he says, but also that these are not limited to the Western nations but also in the more affluent parts of Asia itself too.

“This is now our destiny as brown people. Our labour is needed, but citizenship is denied; our presence as Muslims or religious minorities is offered as an example of the tolerant, diverse societies in which we live, but we continue to be feared,” says Al Solaylee.

And there is no difference whether this is deliberate or mistaken as he goes to cite the cases of the racist slurs on Sikh volunteers feeding the homeless in Manchester in the wake of the May 2017 terror attack, or the fatal shooting of Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla in the US in February 2017 by an American who thought he and his friend were Iranians and screaming at them to “get out of his country”.

Al Solaylee contends we think of brown as a “continuum, a grouping — a metaphor, even — for the millions of darker-skinned people who, in broad historical terms, have missed out on the economic and political gains of the post-mobility, equality and freedom”. They are now living, he says, among former colonial masters where they are “transforming themselves from nameless individuals with swarthy skins into neighbours, co-workers and friends”.

You may also like: List of 50 People who have affected Hinduism in a Negative Manner 

And it is their story he tells — both in their homes from the Philippines to Sri Lanka and workplaces from Hong Kong to the Gulf as well as Western Europe and North America.

Al Solaylee, however, starts with first recounting his own childhood experience on learning he is brown after seeing an English movie featuring a white child and coming to terms with “brownness” in his journeys around the world and interactions with other browns (fairness creams figure largely as well as the concern that he settle down) as well as Brown’s significance in nature and culture.

He then takes up the human obsession with race, despite the concept being debunked, except in politics before his exploration of the experiences and consequences of being brown around the world.

A stirring travelogue, incisive social and political comment and a passionate cry to rise above unavoidable consequences of geography and genes, this invaluable work rises in importance beyond its subject to be a seminal guide to the world today — and what it will soon be — particularly the US. IANS