Skip to comments.A Lesson for Sarah Palin: Being a Real American (Ivory Tower Barf Alert)
Posted on 12/01/2008 9:49:35 AM PST by lewisglad
A Lesson for Sarah Palin: Being a Real American
First I bristled and then I was horrified as I watched Sarah Palin draw a distinction between real Americans and those that are not during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Notice the absence of any mention of Native Americans in her call.
An immigrant from India, I am a Sikh-American, and wear the markers of my faith long unshorn hair covered by a turban. Sarah Palin had just sundered the nation into us and them, and relegated people like me to the category of incomplete Americans.
I wondered what makes one a real American!
Sikhs have been in this country for over a century; Sikh workers participated in building the Panama Canal in 1903-04.
I have lived, worked and paid my taxes in this country since 1960 -- for almost half a century. That is more than two thirds of life. I protested against the Vietnam War, though somewhat gingerly since I was not a citizen then. I actively participated in rallies for equal rights during the years of Martin Luther King, and cheerfully marched in a parade led by Gloria Steinem and others down Fifth Avenue in New York City in support of womens rights.
And during my academic career, I must have taught several thousand real Americans who have gone on to become physicians and dentists, and academicians who have served this nation admirably.
What does Sarah Palin and her ilk think I should do to become a real American? Do you think a crew cut would finally outweigh all the other things I have done in America and give me the good-housekeeping seal of approval? Or, is Sarah Palin and her ilk looking to racial and cultural purity?
I think the widely touted concept of America as a melting pot has, in part, contributed to our ambivalent thinking.
We forget that in a melting pot, the ingredients lose their individuality entirely, as if they were processed in a homogenizer. Some observers, instead, posited a tossed salad of many cultural, religious and ethnic peoples as the model for America. But we forget that salads may get tossed a tad too vigorously, and then some ingredients suffer needlessly; examples are the incarceration of the Japanese during the Second Word War, as also the long history of slavery and the Blacks. Also, the ingredients in a salad may interact with each other only minimally.
Perhaps a better analogy would be that of a mosaic, in which even the smallest piece has a place and enriches the whole pattern by its presence. But a mosaic, one could argue, may present what is not a dynamic but static reality.
So I offer you instead the analogy of a large multi-instrument orchestra. In a far corner of the ensemble sits someone with a triangle or cymbals very minor components of the ensemble. But, nevertheless, each remains a critical piece that contributes vitally to the organically evolving performance. When the lowly triangle or the cymbals speak, even the mighty strings and the pianos listen, and no one can then deny that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Citizenship in this great society, to me, is a social contract with the nation in which each individual carries the same inherent rights and obligations as everyone else. The strength and vitality of this nation stems from the variety of immigrants and their endless stream from around the globe that constitute this society. It is their interaction that makes this country what it is a beacon of hope and innovative energy to the world.
This is the America that becomes our ideal, even though reality may at times be at odds with it.
America is not just a place; it is an idea and an ideal that this nation has pursued for over 200 years with singular determination. My faith Sikhism too, holds for an egalitarian society. The two ideas come together in me to make me a Sikh-American
Sure there have been many Sarah Palins along the way, and there will surely be many more. But as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. said, The greatest virtue of a functioning democracy is its capacity for self-correction.
Note: The author, Inder Jit Singh, is a professor of anatomy at New York University.
What does Sarah Palin and her ilk think I should do to become a real American?
For starters, stop calling yourself a “Sikh-American” and refer to yourself as an American.
Kinda stupid comment considering that Todd is part Native Alaskan.
Panama is not in the United States and we no longer own the canal.
Thin-skinned rant checklist: 1) Hearing things that aren't there 2) Hyperactive sensitivity to same 3) Pre-existing political bias 4) Self-regard based strictly on ethnic origin
I guess Palins campaigning with Bobby Jindal, whose parents were immigrants from the same India, don’t count?
Neither does her opinion.
America is indeed a melting-pot, one big pot of Ameican Lovers & America Haters.
Writer gets unintentional humor points for frequent mentions of tossing salad.
Apparently he’s not as American as he likes to think else he’d have chosen a different metaphor.
I think she was referring to leftist unAmerican trash like Bill Ayers. Or, perhaps, those that disdain wearing an American flag lapel pin or who reach for their crotch when the national anthem is played.
Send treats to the troops...
Great because you did it!
Then, correct the worldview that presumes she was talking about skin color and grooming rather than belief in the principles of the Founding and the Constitution.
You are not a complete American because you do not know and support the ideas and principles that are the heart and soul of this country, and that would be just as true if you looked like Stan Smith.
BTW, for presuming that that the ‘Cuda was talking about ethnicity: Shut your stupid mouth, ya ignorant POS.
How did you feel about Gloria Steinem when she defended Bill Clinton, serial rapist, when he was caught lying under oath and paying others to lie under oath for him to cover up his sexual affair in the workplace?
How does THAT help women?
Wasnt Indira Gandhi, the Indian PM, assassinated by her Sikh-Indian body guards? I agree with Canedawg, when is I. J. Singh going to start calling himself an American-American?
Maybe we could call the other guys “FUBAR AMERICANS”
you must be a liberal troll, since you cant make a post without resorting to a personal attack.
They can take their kirpans and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.
A hyphenated American is not an American at all.
This is just as true of the man who puts Native
before the hyphen as of the man who puts German
or Irish or English or French before the hyphen.
Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul.
Our allegiance must be purely to the United States.
We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any
Theodore Roosevelt, 12 October 1915
Sikhs are trouble wherever they go.
Ah, no. You did that to your self. If your information is true you are just as real an American as the rest of us. That is why you have the right to attend your protests and voice your opinions. Unfortunately, being an idiot doesn't prevent you from being an American, real or otherwise.
Yes, but at NYU. That's sort of like being a police officer on Sesame Street.
Stick to anatomy, Dr. Singh. Your article wouldn’t pass a high school essay test.
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