• Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Indian-Americans win Spelling Bee yet again, but success isn't a natural product of our culture

Discussion in 'Central & South Asia' started by kahonapyarhai, May 31, 2015.

  1. kahonapyarhai

    kahonapyarhai SENIOR MEMBER

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    Indian-Americans win Spelling Bee yet again, but success isn't a natural product of our culture
    The narrative of cultural exceptionalism is misleading and harmful.
    Deepa Iyer · Today · 08:30 am
    [​IMG]
    Photo Credit:Saul Loeb/AFP
    With students of Indian origin winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in the US for the eighth year running, it is time for us to examine the prevalence of two problematic race-based narratives that arise without fail each year.

    The first is related to the need to justify why Indian-Americans have won the spelling bee for the last eight years in a row. Rather than focusing on the hard work and dedication of each of the Indian-American champions or the conditions that may have helped them to achieve – including economic resources or “South Asian community spelling bees” that provide the opportunity for spellers to practice – we seem determined to attach a cultural significance to the trend.

    This narrative goes something like this: Indians have a cultural gene that leads them to be successful. This notion of cultural exceptionalism contends that Indian-Americans possess special, innate cultural characteristics that propel them to thrive more than other non-white groups. Even theWashington Postexplored the spelling bee trend in a story last week that quotes the Scripps Bee’s director, past winners and scholars on their thoughts about the “domination” of Indian-Americans in the competition.

    Misleading narrative

    But the narrative of cultural exceptionalism is misleading and harmful. It’s safe to say that all families place an emphasis on education and want their children to succeed. However, not all families have access to resources and institutions that enable their children to do well. When we rely on culture as the reason for success, we ignore the structural realities that prevent many children of colour or poor children from reaching their goals. We also end up placing the onus on families to ensure academic achievement, rather than compelling the public and private sectors to also provide valuable services and benefits that can help all children succeed.

    Holding on to cultural exceptionalism as a justification for success also creates chasms between communities of colour, and renders invisible the experiences of many people who do not fit into this framework. It reinforces a cultural and racial hierarchy that unnecessarily divides us through false assumptions about one another. These wedges end up undergirding struggles around other issues, such as affirmative action in which communities of colour – especially Indian- and Chinese-Americans – are often pitted against black and Latino communities.

    Monolithic characterisation

    Even within the Indian-American community, the notion of cultural exceptionalism is damaging for its monolithic characterisation of community experiences. When South Asians are touted as cultural success stories across the board, the community’s experiences become homogeneous. The realities of those who fall outside the framework are often not addressed, much less acknowledged. Take for example the fact that 22% of the Indian-American population in the United States has either limited or no proficiency in English, or that about 20% of Indian-Americans do not have a two- or four-year college degree.

    While the achievements of South Asians who are Silicon Valley CEOs, spelling bee champions and science whizzes should be celebrated and lauded at every turn, they should not be presented as the only or prevailing narrative about the experiences of South Asian communities. We must challenge the inaccurate representations that imply all South Asians have the same privileges and opportunities so that we can fully attend to the needs and challenges facing our communities.

    The Scripps spelling bee shouldn’t be a justification for cultural or racial superiority. But it is most definitely an apt benchmark to assess our national appetite for diversity and inclusion. In recent years, for example, the public response to Indian-American national spelling bee champions has been nothing short of racist and xenophobic. An article in TheTimes of Indiarecounts the various reactions:
    Another reader said, "How is it that foreigners who are new to America are able to win the spelling bee like this?" while another reader posted, "First they took our beauty queen title then they take our bee. Whats [sic] next they take away our jobs..."

    Another said, "The kids in the spelling bee should only be AMERICAN".

    Another tweet said "Shocking that neither of the Spelling bee champs have names that sound American [HASHTAG]#Sriram[/HASHTAG] [HASHTAG]#Ansun[/HASHTAG]."
    These remarks give us a sense of the racial anxiety that is pervasive in America, a trend that is becoming more visible and pernicious as the country’s demographics dramatically change. With a population of nearly 4 million, South Asians are the fastest-growing race group in the United States. As South Asians become more visible in sectors perceived as “American” – the Scripps National Spelling Bee or the Miss America pageant (won by Nina Davuluri in 2014) – the backlash rears its head, with portrayals of South Asians as un-American, as undesirable immigrants who seek to corrupt the nation.

    These perceptions are not new. The notions that South Asians are forever foreigners, worthy of suspicion, or job-stealers are ones that community members have contended with for over 100 years in the United States. Even today, despite accepting South Asian success in some arenas – cab drivers, domestic workers, computer programmers, and even CEOs of startups – there are others that are reserved for “real” Americans (read: white, Christian, citizen). Being a hardworking child of immigrants, even with the title of spelling bee champion, does not automatically mean that one belongs to this country. For South Asians in particular, the struggle for racial justice must include the dismantling of the cultural exceptionalism myth.

    Instead of placing Indian-American spelling champions in a special category or demeaning them as un-American, we should be able to find a place in the middle by pushing back against the misleading race-based narratives that surround the Scripps National Spelling Bee. We can applaud the commitment of all the students who are participating in the competition without resorting to divisive cultural tropes. And we can treat those who win – of whatever background – with respect and dignity.
     
  2. indiatester

    indiatester SENIOR MEMBER

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    The immigrants from India (or China for that matter) to USA generally belong to a more educated group and generally they do tend to put more emphasis on education and excellence.
    When we put our entire population into perspective, the people who really excel in research and innovation is much less compared to say Germany, France, United States, China, Japan, Israel etc.
    The success seen in Spelling Bee though small, should be taken as a role model and extended to our educational system to produce original thinkers and implementers.
     
  3. Shamain

    Shamain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Yada yada yada !!!
     
  4. Ajai Ghale

    Ajai Ghale BANNED

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    Indus Burning ^^

    on topic:They win bcz they belong to the land of Aryabhatta,Chanakya,Bhaskar and so onn...
     
  5. Prajapati

    Prajapati BANNED

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    Yada..yada...yada...yada....yada..

    [​IMG]
     
  6. jamahir

    jamahir ELITE MEMBER

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    when do you think there will be a indian spacex or a indian microprocessor??

    memorization is automatic to indian culture because of prayer recitation and inclination towards mathematics but innovation is something else entirely.

    indians should change their culture 180 degrees, going away from exams and jobs, and move towards taking risks, dropping out of jobs and colleges, initiating revolution and technological innovation... only that is respectable.
     
  7. Prajapati

    Prajapati BANNED

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    So somehow having a good memory and ability to understand mathematics, logic and reasoning is a bad thing ? :cheesy:

    5000 year old culture and civilizational values have to be reversed because you think you have figured out life ? :P

    Why not consult a psychiatrist to address your acute inferiority complex ? Maybe even change your religion to free you from mental bondage.
     
  8. jamahir

    jamahir ELITE MEMBER

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    where did i mention "logic and reasoning" as the greatest attributes of "indian culture"?? mathematics expertise and reasoning are two entirely separate things.

    guess which nation has been declared "suicide capital of the world"...

    i asked when will there be a indian spacex and a india-designed microprocessor... after all, a few hundred thousand engineers graduate from indian colleges every year... reason me.

    there is no 5000- year-old culture !!!

    can you logically explain ( if at all possible ) where did i put out a inferiority complex??

    why don't you ditch the mythology based life you have been burdened with all your life??
     
  9. Viking 63

    Viking 63 FULL MEMBER

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    American's are highly racist people, but it is always behind the scene, and despite many laws passed by congress and other states things have not really changed.
     
  10. Prajapati

    Prajapati BANNED

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    LOL.....looks like you have poor memory and hence not an Indian ....... maybe you just not "cultured". :P

    ".....memorization is automatic to indian culture because of prayer recitation and inclination towards mathematics"

    10 Countries With the Highest Suicide Rates in the World - TheRichest :cheesy:

    1. Lithuania: 31 per 100,000
    2. South Korea: 28.1 per 100.000

    3. Guyana: 26.4 per 100,000
    4. Kazakhstan: 25.6 per 100,000
    5. Slovenia: 21.8 per 100,000
    6. Hungary: 21.7 per 100,000
    7. Japan: 21.4 per 100,000
    8. Sri Lanka: 21.3 Per 100,000
    9. Latvia: 20.8 per 100,000
    10. Belarus: 20.5 per 100,000


    :coffee: ...... .. sufficiently embarrassed ? ... but you are shameless.


    That is the beauty of India......... everyone is free to ask questions. We even encourage it. We are also free to ignore foolish ones.

    :cheesy: .......... of course.... it was the islamic invaders who brought "culture" into India. Right ?

    It has been pretty much evident from all your posts.

    What do you know about my life to comment on it you moron ? :lol: ................ classic strawman defence. Now shooo.
     
  11. indiatester

    indiatester SENIOR MEMBER

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    Never fall into the notion of having to develop everything. The IP's for most of the microprocessors are out there and can be bought. If you can setup a fab, you can start taping out your own processors. There is enough talent pool here to do it.

    India should pay more attention towards project management and execution rather than bit of technology. India need not change their culture 180 degrees. To innovate, you must first understand and participate, which is happening already. Proper ecosystem must be setup to enable entrepreneurs and that will help. Some of my friends have dropped off the company and are trying a few things, but its not easy. However it has started. I tried too to setup a datamining based idea, but it did not take off :cray:

    Anything interesting you can share about the risks you have taken?

    Nitpick , "indian" is supposed to start with capital I.
     
  12. Prajapati

    Prajapati BANNED

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    Identifying a poster who claims to be an Indian but writes "indian" is a sure way of identifying the traitors and worthless mulla types.

    Its not Nitpicking. Its probably the most important part of his post.

    He can claim any lies over the internet, what make you think a person who writes "india" is worthy of any kind of consideration ?
     
  13. jamahir

    jamahir ELITE MEMBER

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    one of the things - as i have said many a time here, i have been designing a clock-less microprocessor since 2008 and have found it most difficult to raise money... while idiotic companies like toppr and vedantu ( exams preparation ) and myntra get crores of funding... for what?? :what:

    but that is no talent pool at all... any typical mediocre engineer, fresh out of college, can work in a fab.

    why has the "india microprocesor program", started 2009, failed to come up with a local design?? where is the sooper-dooper operating system from drdo.

    Why a made-in-India chip remains chimeric - Livemint

    www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/saraswat-drdo-working-on-indias-own-computer-operating-system/article821933.ece

    having foreign-built factories is what india has been doing since 1947... i wanted to ask where is the indian qnx, the indian arm, the indian apple.

    no, to innovate one needs to ask questions and simplify... one shouldn't do what "the market" demands but rather create a field.

    and sorry, but i am irritated by the word "ecosystem"... it is a buzz-word create by some mba.

    i know it's not easy... indian culture is geared towards jobs and short-term goal tradering.

    actually, data-mining is just a buzz-word... it is a fad that will fade away... sorry.

    i prefer writing in lower case, including "prophet muhammad"... problem?? :)

    what are you talking about, man?? :what:

    India is Suicide Capital: World Health Organisation (WHO)
     
  14. KIND

    KIND FULL MEMBER

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    Great reply. He is an hard core islamist hiding his facade under socialist tag...taquia someone? if he was a true indian he should have been proud first of the achivement.
     
  15. Prajapati

    Prajapati BANNED

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