Dec 15, 2008

Let It Rest!

I'm so goddamn tired of hearing about - and being asked about - Sonal Shah. The drama, from all sides, is unnecessary and pointless: though I do believe there is still a need for true resolution. I didn't know much about her before her meteoric rise, I think she's either been given bad counsel or hasn't listened to good ideas about how to address the concern that she is tied to the Hindutva right, and honestly, she's coming across as kind of  arrogant, even if there's nothing true in the statements against her.

I'm not interested in going after individuals in our community, but I do think that we must all be held accountable for inconsistencies in our past, and examples of poor judgment that may reflect on whatever position we're vying for in the future. I've said before that I'm naturally skeptical of people of color who are so ambitious in politics, because I think the community becomes their way of showing that they have a base, even if they don't really care for what that community thinks or is going through.

The growing number of South Asians in American politics is a natural phenomenon: there is a large segment of our 2nd generation that is well-educated, as the children of the "professional" immigrants who were allowed to come here after '65. But the real question is, what true cohesion is there between our different communities, and should I be made to feel guilty when I don't jump behind some of the jokers who are standing themselves up to claim that they represent more than their own self-interest?

Are these folks, particularly those who are really just opportunists looking to rise as fast as they can on the backs of others through "brown skin, white-collar affirmative action," worth our time and effort? And honestly, are they just looking for the rubber stamp of the "community" rather than a real engagement to win our support? Isn't that the old politics of race: "we're the same race/ethnicity so you should support me, no questions asked"?  I guess that's kind of the Obama method, at least from the perspective of folks truly working for racial justice.

With this whole Sonal Shah thing - I think that even if we give her the benefit of all doubt and say that there's nothing shady with her past associations and affiliations, she has shown remarkably poor judgment with how she dealt with the initial questions in 2004 and how she's acted, both publicly and privately about this issue when it came up over the last few weeks. I truly don't know what to believe, and honestly, the vast majority of disinterested people (who don't have their career weighing on what happens with this flare up, or one of various axes to grind) just don't care.

Maybe I should post up my own advice to her, given that it seems like she's getting really awful counsel at this point, and you know, I should just want to help an ailing sister out. Because I can't imagine that if this thing got picked up by anymore mainstream media, the Dems would let it carry on for much longer, and her nascent political career would fade into a footnote, long before the root issues underlying this storm were ever really addressed in mainstream Desi America.

Those root issues include the very troubling infiltration of hard-right, political Hinduism into middle-class Indian America. The Hindu camps for school children, the programs that send kids over to India for unclear reasons, and the rhetoric that comes from groups ranging from USINPAC to the Hindu American Foundation should be enough to make us all worry a bit. We have enough homegrown extremism (militia, anyone?) in the U.S., thank you very much.


dr anonymous said...

good post. :)

Rage said...

Thanks for reading. It's a bit of a rant, and you've been posting a lot about it with the good folks at the Roti, but you know? Damn it - I wish she would just resign.