So every Vamsi Krishna, Nijalingappa, Unnithan and Murugan I know is gunning for Obama. I think I know why.
For starters, the general view is that Southies have more melanin than the others, never mind the Kodavas (who are all Greek to us anyway) and Saurashtris. And that is ascribed to our constant exposure to Sun TV, Udaya TV, Surya TV, Teja TV, Suryan FM, S FM… And so it’s easy to suppose anyone of Obama’s complexion is one of our own.
I guess Mallu names – Achama, etc, Gult names – Chinnamma, Chilakamma, Seethamma, Kodava names – Chondamma, Poovamma, Nanjamma, all sound so much like Obama… and the Kodavas, martial race that they are, (they are one of the very few people in India allowed to keep arms without a license) I guess are enamoured by the ‘Barack’ in the name.
And the Kannadigas now… we all feel proud of being the home state of one of the very first woman freedom fighters in India – Onake Obamma. And we quite easily assume that this dark man is quite possibly a descendant, or a worshipper that he sports her name as part of his. Maybe the ‘Barack’ is to signify the armed resistance connotation.
Tams.. especially Tam-Brahms strongly support Obama like he were a family member or something (no, I’m not referring to Dayanidhi Maran-Karunanidhi here.. they are exceptions), because among the gallery of Ambi Mama, Mani Mama, Cheenu Mama, Badri Mama, Raghava Mama, Kittu Mama… Obamama doesn’t seem so new.
I find there’s an ethnic group in various districts of Karnataka called the Siddis who are of African origin. They only look African, but are in all other aspects, completely integrated into Karnataka… they have been here for five hundred years, apparently. So I guess these guys hail Obama as one of their own race…. oh, man, first the Kodavas, then the rest of Karnataka, and now these folks… why is Obama so allergic to Bangaloring, again?
Well, well, well… the Gandhis are not the only ones whose name rings a (Pavlovian) bell.
So Mr. Obama is being heralded as America’s first African-American Presidential candidate. Great, but…
This man is the offspring of a white woman and a Kenyan who had enough resources to pursue his higher studies abroad.
Brought up largely by his White grandparents.
He never really underwent what African-Americans actually go through… in terms of discrimination and lack of opportunities, if that’s what the community goes through…., he doesn’t even share a history with them.
And yet he is being heralded as some sort of a new dawn or whatever. Is this plain tokenism or is it something else?
Contrast that with India, where we’ve had a Dalit president, one of the Minority community, and a woman, too.. and we don’t seem to be making enough noise about that. And still people talk of the disparity, of minority-bashing, of us being an inequal society…
What conclusions can we draw?
PS: I’m curious to know if an African, say, a Nigerian in America and an African-American are treated the same in the USA. Is the affirmative action etc to make up for historical wrongs, or is it to provide an incentive for those who are negatively discriminated based on skin colour/ethnicity? More specifically, can a child of migrants from Botswana put down her ethnicity as African-American and walk away with all the benefits? In India we have authorities issuing caste certificates… if indeed affirmative action is provided on basis of race in the US, do they have authorities issuing race certificates? How does the whole thing work out there?