From The “Don’t Confuse Us With Facts, Our Minds Are Made Up!” Files: A 19-Year-Old Sikh Immigrant Rebuts “Systemic Racism”

His argument deserves a debate. So far, the strategy has been to ignore him.

The conservative New York tabloid, the New York Post, published an opinion piece  last Sunday with the headline “The Fallacy of White Privilege.” The author was Rav Arora,  a 19-year-old Sikh immigrant, brought by his parents to Canada from India at the age of 4. “[M]y family suffered tremendous economic hardships and cultural challenges,” he wrote. “My father drove a taxi at night and my mom worked many menial jobs as a cook, housecleaner, barista and motel cleaner.” Ultimately, he says, the family escaped poverty to become successful and financially secure. Rav himself is obviously well-educated and adept at critical thinking.

He writes in part,

Rising from poverty to economic prosperity is a common narrative for immigrants from all backgrounds in the West. For example, after the communist takeover of Cuba in 1959, many refugees fled to America, leaving most of their wealth behind and having to start from the bottom. But by 1990, second-generation Cuban Americans were twice as likely to earn an annual salary of $50,000 than non-Hispanic whites in the United States. The notion of white privilege stems from the idea that white people have benefited in American history relative to “people of color”…[but]  the concept of white privilege can’t explain why several historically marginalized groups out-perform whites today.

In the rest of his essay,  Arora uses  government statistics to cast doubt on the “white privilege” narrative. For example,

“[T]he concept of white privilege can’t explain why several historically marginalized groups out-perform whites today. Take Japanese Americans, for example: For nearly four decades in the 20th century (1913 – 1952), this group was legally prevented from owning land and property in over a dozen American states. Moreover, 120,000 Japanese Americans were interned during World War II. But by 1959, the income disparity between Japanese Americans and white Americans nearly vanished. Today, Japanese Americans outperform whites by large margins in income statistics, education outcomes, test scores and incarceration rates.”

Asian-Americans in general undermine the “white supremacy” narrative, so they are conveniently stuffed into the “POC” category as activists hope nobody asks embarrassing questions.

“According to median household income statistics from the US Census Bureau, several minority groups substantially out-earn whites. These groups include Pakistani Americans, Lebanese Americans, South African Americans, Filipino Americans, Sri Lankan Americans and Iranian Americans (in addition to several others). Indians, the group I belong to, are the highest-earning ethnic group the census keeps track of, with almost double the household median income of whites.”

Gee, that’s interesting! Why isn’t Arora being featured on today’s talking head shows, as panels of experts huminahumina* attempted explanations about why this doesn’t explode the whole white privilege narrative? I’m not saying they couldn’t show his argument is flawed. I’m asking why they won’t try.

“[S]everal black immigrant groups such as Nigerians, Barbadians, Ghanaians and Trinidadians & Tobagonians have a median household income well above the American average. Ghanian Americans, to take one example, earn more than several specific white groups such as Dutch Americans, French Americans, Polish Americans, British Americans and Russian Americans. Do Ghanaians have some kind of sub-Saharan African privilege?”

In one of my periodic enlightening conversations with immigrant cab drivers, a loquacious cabbie from Africa told me, unsolicited, “There’s no prejudice in the country against blacks. There’s a prejudice against native American blacks. I always feel respected here. I think it is my accent and my work habits.”

“[S]uicide rates are disproportionately high among the white population. In 2018, whites had the highest suicide rate of 16.03 per 100,000. The New York Times has reported that whites are dying faster than they are being born in a majority of US states — in large part due to high rates of substance abuse and suicide. In comparison, black Americans had a suicide rate less than half of whites (6.96). . . .”

To this he adds,

“If we look at health outcomes reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we find that African Americans are less likely than whites to die of several health conditions such as bladder cancer, leukemia, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, . . . brain cancer and skin cancer, to take a few arbitrary examples. But no one in their right mind would protest any ‘health privilege’ enjoyed by African Americans in these instances.”

There is more. It’s a brave and provocative piece. Too bad the people who need to read it won’t.

_________________________

* I’m going to add “huminahumina” to the  Concepts and Special Terms list. It refers to what poor, perpetual screw-up Ralph Kramden (played by Jackie Gleason) would babble incoherently when he was caught, as he often was, in a lie or an embarrassing situation that he couldn’t talk his way out of, on the old TV sitcom, “The Honeymooners.” (It is often, and incorrectly, referred to as “hominahomina.”)

Today, it was used as a verb.

21 thoughts on “From The “Don’t Confuse Us With Facts, Our Minds Are Made Up!” Files: A 19-Year-Old Sikh Immigrant Rebuts “Systemic Racism”

  1. I think it would only be fair to point out that Ralph Kramden (almost?) exclusively defaulted to “huminahumina-ing” when caught in something bone-headed by his pretty, much smarter and devastatingly perceptive and pithy wife Alice. Perhaps Ralph’s typical follow-up to Alice, “To the moon, Alice,” should also probably be added to the special terms list, perhaps in lieu of “bite me?”

    • 1. I’ll never give up “Bite me!”
      2. “To the Moon!” was never used im conjnction with “Huminahumina.” “To the Moon” was a response to Alice’s sarcastic mockery of the schemes that ended with “huminahumina,” while Ralph still was convinced he could pull them off.

      • And then there was, “Oh, you’re a riot, Alice. A regular riot.” And of course there was, “Hey there, Ralphie Boy!”

  2. Two observations on the photo: One. Almost all those kids are white. Two. Given they won’t be able to do it on their phones, will those kids actually vote this fall?

  3. Stories live Rav’s are where I disagree with the likes of Alizia, who link values to race. I find it particularly amusing how alt-rights and BLM seem to actually agree that values like hard work, self-sufficiency, the nuclear family, etc. are “white values”, with one side wanting to keep out non-whites to protect those values, with the other side rejecting those values since they come from “the oppressor”.

    Both extremes miss a major aspect of American culture: the hardy immigrant leaving the land of their nativity for a land where you are free to chart your own destiny. It’s true that the original African-Americans weren’t part of that aspect, being brought here against their will and being treated like chattel instead of free people, but I always thought the civil rights movement was about becoming part of the American experience, where the notion that “All men are created equal” may be imperfectly applied but is still an ideal worth aspiring to. Lately what passes for the civil rights movement seems to be pushing us back to the mentalities of tribalism, entitlement, and elitism, which people are supposed to come to the U.S.A. to get AWAY from.

    • Great comment, GR. I see BLM as a separatist movement. They certainly don’t want to integrate. When was the last time you saw that word? They want an oppressor free place. I wonder why oppressed students of color don’t simply attend historically black colleges?

    • Gamereg wrote:

      Stories live Rav’s are where I disagree with the likes of Alizia, who link values to race. I find it particularly amusing how alt-rights and BLM seem to actually agree that values like hard work, self-sufficiency, the nuclear family, etc. are “white values”, with one side wanting to keep out non-whites to protect those values, with the other side rejecting those values since they come from “the oppressor”.

      A couple of things. One is that it became necessary for me to take a stance of general opposition and potential opposition to those, like you for instance, who share their opinions and views here. I realized that if I were to make this into a realy learning experience I had to get for myself a ‘total liberty’. But doing this — opposing people, contradicting people, and never teaming up with people (as so many here do I should say) will never win you friends. So, I start from this position:

      You are the problem, not the solution to the problem. When you make declarations you always do so from incomplete and biased positions. You are ignorant of what is going on and you have NO IDEA why what is happening is happening! You have a severe, and I mean SEVERE, learning problem that you have a tremendous difficulty surmounting, and may never surmount. Meanwhile your nation goes down into the pit and your stand there, powerless & incomprehending.

      Do you see that this position of mine — and I can make that paragraph much longer and more complete (and more devastating) — is a sound intellectual position? It is, in fact, a position of integrity. I do not take this position for personal reasons and this is not a personal matter for me. It is impersonal and it only has to do with establishing what is true and separating it from what is untrue and what is a lie. If you are an adult, and if you understand what I am saying and what I am doing, you will automatically choose not to be *offended*.

      . . . the likes of Alizia, who link values to race

      First, the things I say in most instances cannot be *heard* because the ideas I have are counter-Orwellian. That is, they challenge or contradict sets of ideas that have been installed or *enforced* into the general American mind. You are not free intellectually. To attain intellectual freedom in a coercive politically-correct environment requires a Herculean rebel-posture! Right here I have said something so true and yet so *offensive* that I will now be blocked from being heard. I have created this for myself but at the same time *you-pl* have created it for me. It is a rôle that I have taken but also one that has been given: pariah!

      ‘Race’ is a flawed term. But we are forced to use language-conventions. The term ‘white’ is also a flawed term and so to must be the word ‘black’ and even ‘African’ because Africa is a vast place and each person brought to America came from a different and various ethnic group. And yet we have to employ generalisms because they are the tools we use to analyze the world we live in so that we can *interpret* it.

      If you want to have a conversation about race, or ethnicity, or cultural set, or the influence of religion in the creation of culture (and European civilization) then you can have such a conversation. I mean, it’s possible. But only if one claims at the start the right to speak freely and to think freely and thoroughly.

      So, here is my position though I am unsure of you will be able to apreciate or to understand it: You live in a country — I specifically identify the North here (the country that came into existence after the war waged to destroy the South and ‘original America’ — that has based its self-conception on LIES and DECEPTIONS. These lies have penetrated so deeply that it requires years to a) see them and b) disassemble them and then c) reconstruct a ‘truthful’ view.

      But I knwo that you will not be able to *take in* what I say here. And there are reasons why. The *self* gets wedded to lies. The *self* invests in them. This is what I say, constantly!

      Notice that I did not present an ‘answer’ to what you said about my view. I speak about what keeps you from being able to *hear* whatever I would say or do say.

      If you understand this difficult stance I have taken for myself, here, perhaps you might be able to appreciate it a little? Even to admire it?

      It’s true that the original African-Americans weren’t part of that aspect, being brought here against their will and being treated like chattel instead of free people, but I always thought the civil rights movement was about becoming part of the American experience, where the notion that “All men are created equal” may be imperfectly applied but is still an ideal worth aspiring to.

      As I have pointed out many times black people, when they think on and muse on what was done to them recognize having been brought, against their desire, into the ’empire of the white man’s will’. They become aware of an ‘ancestral spirit’ within them (these are their words not my interpretation of their words) and become activists in processes of *discovering identiy*. Listen to Bob Marley’s reggae songs. Read Leroi Jones. The Black Experience (their term, not mine) is one that you know nothing about because you will not read their writing. So, what you do here, without perhaps realizing it, is to continue with your insistance that ‘they must become just like us’ in order to gain your resepct and to ‘integrate’. Integration is part of the same coercive process.

      If you at least grasp some tiny part of this you will better understand black rebellion and why it is so problematic for European-American culture.

      But that is just a beginning. The introduction of Marxist praxis — brought into the mix by radicals within your own group or as well by Jewish activism (something else that you cannot talk about and won’t *see*) means that the Black Rebel Activist was turned into a ‘proxy’ for other levels of social warfare.

      These are all very complex issues and they require careful, organized thought, and an environment of freedom to be able to work through them.

      Lately what passes for the civil rights movement seems to be pushing us back to the mentalities of tribalism, entitlement, and elitism, which people are supposed to come to the U.S.A. to get AWAY from.

      Here, you put forward a truly simplistic analysis! But it is all that you have access to because you refuse to read and study.

      If you want to get to the bottom about what is going on *out there* you have to become willing to do some research, to read, to open you self to new ideas. But to repeat the old tropes is all that you are capable of.

      You are part of the problem, not part of a solution to the problem(s).

      And there you have it again: the statement that provokes hate! 😉

      • “If you understand this difficult stance I have taken for myself, here, perhaps you might be able to appreciate it a little? Even to admire it?”

        I confess I have a hard time time doing so, since you come across like someone banging their head against a brick wall expecting the wall to break. I could understand your confident “hate-provoking” stance from a pundit playing to an audience that agrees them, but that is not your situation here. You are on a forum of different people bouncing ideas around. In that vein, the “I’m not here to make friends” position is not going to get you very far, not when you, by your own admission, are pushing ideas outside the mainstream. You want us to be open to your ideas, yet you yourself are as closed as an airtight titanium box. You seem to make no allowances that you yourself might be mistaken…or misinformed…or explaining yourself poorly. You say this is not a personal matter for you, but your dogged persistence seems to indicate otherwise.

        As for refusing to read and study what you are suggesting, the way you have been selling your ideas makes them sound like the kinds of philosophies that lead to persecution of others. I’m not interested in a philosophy that rationalizes or ignores ill-treatment of other people based on their ethnic group. If that makes me a “progressive” by your definition so be it.

        I’m always open to ways we can make our country better, and by “better” I mean equal rights and opportunity for all who wish to count themselves citizens here. With that in mind, I understand there are many who do not share our values of freedom of expression, equality under the law, etc. I would support an immigration system that screens out those kind of people, while letting in the kind of people like Rav Arora. As for those who are already here who want to change the system that benefits them at the expense of others, the best we can do is explain why their approach will not work, and how they can be prosperous without sticking it to whoever they think is keeping them down., When they break laws prosecute them to extent their crimes require. I don’t see the need to work up hatred against the Jews, the Blacks, the LGTBQ, or the Progressives, because even if we succeed in overthrowing the oppressors, if we do it the wrong way we risk taking their place.

        • Thanks for your direct response! It is appreciated. Yes, I can see how you might perceive ‘banging head against a wall’. But there is actually more. This is a platform for me to test my ideas within a context of others and their perspectives, assertions, strengths and also limitations. I want to reveal *what I am up to* (as I did here) because it seems polite.

          I am on a forum composed of persons who are in many, but not all, senses similar in orientation and perspective. The date is 2020. The ideas and perspectives are peculiar to that time-frame. Because I have recognize the importance, if only for me, to take full advantage of the opportunity offered here to learn about American society and its history and discover that to do so I must remain as objective and contrarian as possible, this in no sense means that I wish to personally oppose anyone. Again nothing personal!

          When I say *this is not personal* I mean I do not take this personally (disagreements) and wish that others would not. But I take this all very seriously since I believe that the underlying issues are more-than-vital. I sometimes have the sense that some others are not taking ideas really seriously.

          I might hope that if I reason well and if my arguments are solid ones and *make sense* that you might be influenced. I might also hope that if I present an argument and if it sounds wrong or off that it would be contradicted by a similarly rational and coherent argument. I would assume that *openness* to sound reasoning is a given, or a starting point. But I often sense that this is not the case.

          you yourself are as closed as an airtight titanium box

          This is simply not so. Honestly.

          You seem to make no allowances that you yourself might be mistaken…or misinformed

          This is also incorrect.

          It is not often that *proper* and structured counter-arguments are offered. But that is one of my points: it has to do with conventional ideas that are understood to require no supporting argument. My belief is that there is a dissident right, its ideas are sound in many categories, but they are resisted with emotionalized argument.

          As for refusing to read and study what you are suggesting, the way you have been selling your ideas makes them sound like the kinds of philosophies that lead to persecution of others.

          You are here extremely mistaken. I did not specify any specific reading I simply said that I feel sometimes that more should be read. As to what I read, wow, you are really off the mark. Many of the titles that I have mentioned are by more or less mainstream authors who study aspects of American culture. I am reading a Catholic-oriented critique of Marxist philosophy right now. I am becoming certain that the resistance to the extension of these ideas into the mainstream is necessary. A more powerful and a militant (but I do not mean violent) opposition. I also notice that *many of you* seem to me to be more influenced by Marxist and materialist ideas than you are aware. I seek to explore that, to see it, to write of my impression.

          Again, I don’t think that ideas are to be *sold*. That implies sophistry. That is a very American way of looking at things. You (as American citizen) have been bought & sold in so many different ways that you lose a sense of the intensity of those influences. That is something I try to speak about. But only be presented a structured argument.

          If I fail for some reason in style or writing skill, well, that will have to be improved. But I do my best.

          Your last paragraph contains largely the bulk of your views and ideas. I understand what you are saying. I respect your view and I think it is very much incomplete. It is missing significant pieces and parts. I am always writing about this in the sense of presenting different lines of ideas. Your views, like many here, has almost zero militant aspect. You work with very weak ideas when far stronger ideas are required.

          But ‘hating’ anyone or anything is no part of any point I make or will ever make. If you think that is so you have very significantly misinterpreted me and what I think and believe. But that is often how it goes: a person *reflects back* to another not what that other person talks about or means, but what the other has projected on that person.

          This really must be confronted. So many do it!

  4. Another amusing aspect of this piece is the way people of color other than African Americans can be shifted into and out of the “Black” or “oppressed” category randomly and at will. Certainly Chinese and Japanese are mostly excluded until they’re needed to be included for some reason, even though they’re “yellow.” Barack Obama was half African African. I’m not sure he should even be counted as African American. He did not descend from slaves, certainly, and Jesse Jackson wanted to cut his nuts off. And according to Joe Biden, he dressed well and spoke well. What’s up with that? Kamala Harris is half Pakistani or Indian and half Jamaican. She’s clearly not African American. What’s she owed in reparations? Something from the British rulers of Jamaica? Her Jamaican father evidently does not even identify as black or African American. I suspect the author of this piece will be discounted because he’s not really a person of color. He’s not African American. But of course, Barack Obama and Kamala Harris are welcome into the club because … I’m not really sure why, frankly. Both Obama and Harris each had two Ph.D parents. How can people like that be oppressed? And then there are the terribly problematic Jews. They’re kind of “of color” and they’re a minority, a tiny minority. And they’ve been discriminated against in the most murderous, horrific way. But they’re not of color. And then there are Hispanics. The Goya guy descends from Spaniards. The Spaniards consider themselves Austrian royalty, except for the ones who descend from the invading Moslems. They are blond haired and blue eyed. Mexicans aren’t Spaniards, although I’m sure the upper classes think of themselves as Castilian royalty. Heck, Carlos Slim is Lebanese! I guess, “It’s complicated.” But you sure as hell need a score card to figure out who’s playing for which team.

    • Once you have chosen the path of a ‘multi-cultural society’. Once you chose to open the gates not just to Europeans (in the 1920s that was the rule), you opted to become a multi-ethnic society. And what this ultimately means is that you will, eventually, have to blend together at a physical level.

      And when the State and the Nation becomes the enforcer of the processes of *integration*, there you have at least one aspect of the problem. Some people — some of the ‘original demographic’ — do not want to go that route. Yet they must be forced to. If the State does not insist on this then there will be pockets of resistance to the state policy.

      Now, today, that the demographic reality is that the white European American percentage has declined to about 60% of the total, it is that 40% that is coming into a new sense of power, and a new sense of influence. The Democrat Party understands this. They will ride that wave (as it were) and in the process the *essential nature of America* will change.

      Will it change *for the better* or will it change *for the worse*? What is ‘better’? What does ‘worse’ mean?

      The conflicts going on in the present are *seeds* that show where things will go in the future.

      Seeing it does not mean that one will have power to change it, or to resist it.

      What I have leanred, here, is that you-plural generally are not opposed to the reduction of your own group to *minority status*. It is (apparently) too problematical to hold to an *identitarian* position or to think in terms of ‘racial pride’ (as was common in another period of American history).

      So, you are advocates of what is happening. And you are essentially aligned with them in their sense of ‘progressive policies’. Yet you are dismayed by the rise of the power-manifestation of that suppressed and up-coming demographic. You lament that it is turning out the way it is and you seem to say “But this is not what we had in mind! Wait! It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this!”

      Man proposes and God disposes I guess!

  5. The area I grew up in was a popular place for Vietnamese refuges to settle. I was in elementary school in the mid through late 1970’s. It was a common occurrence for new kids to show up, literally “fresh off the boat.” Most had little to no ability to speak english. Many escaped with NOTHING other than the clothes they wore. They were thrown in our classes and forced to sink or swim. And swim they did.

    Their parents did what they could to survive. They invested in their children, and they believed in and pushed the American dream. The expectation of their parents was that they would do well in school, and they would go to college to earn a degree that results in a prestigious career. There was a heavy push to become a doctor or an engineer, and most did.

    Those denigrating the American dream or claiming that institutional racism prevents anyone from succeeding don’t get sympathy from me. I saw with my own eyes that with hard work would overcome whatever racism there was and let someone succeed.

    • Our dentist is a young, gay, Vietnamese guy. Great guy, great dentist. He goes back to Vietnam a few times every year to fund and operate an orphanage and a dental clinic. My parents hosted the children of a Vietnamese soldier and his wife who ultimately escaped from Vietnam after they got their kids out. The kids have all done really well. They own restaurants. The youngest child is a policeman in the lower SF Bay area. He and his wife own a spectacular home in the hills above the bay. Needless to say, they think the U.S. is the greatest thing since sliced bread and are eternally grateful to my parents. My favorite law school teacher was my UCC teacher, Trai Le. She and her husband were sent to Danang by the Diem regime to open a law school there as a stake in the ground against Ho Chi Minh and the North. Obviously, that didn’t work out very well. Her husband was provost at Notre Dame. She’d had an international practice in Saigon and worked with all the big NY international firms. Her degrees were all from Le Sorbonne. Tremendous people. I still think Father Hesburgh, the Kennedys’ personal priest, prevailed upon the JFK to get the U.S. into Vietnam in large part to protect the Catholic Church there against the Communists. Hesburgh brought them to ND to save them.

  6. In one of my periodic enlightening conversations with immigrant cab drivers, a loquacious cabbie from Africa told me, unsolicited, “There’s no prejudice in the country against blacks. There’s a prejudice against native American blacks. I always feel respected here. I think it is my accent and my work habits.”

    I have had the pleasure of working with a fair number of African immigrants. My employer does significant business in Africa, and promotes mobility. For a few years, my boss’s boss was a guy from Morocco. I think he’s partially right, the accent and work ethic both contribute to a positive perception. Another factor is that like many immigrants, the cream of the crop in many nations are the ones who are able to come here. Many are exchange students who were at the top of their class and went to European or American universities.

    I’ve long thought that the situation in the US could be improved by a larger level of immigration from Africa. Improving the fraction of successful people from Africa helps in many ways. It breaks many of the stereotypes.

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