I was reading Jay Nordlinger, resident anti-communist at National Review (as well as classical music critic). He keeps track of dissidents and human rights abuses in China and Cuba and the like. Here is what he talked about today:
Last week, I did a piece on the Indian Americans, for the current National Review. When I say Indian Americans, I mean South Asia, not the rez (those are “American Indians,” unless you like “Native Americans,” but that’s a whole “nother” piece). Indian Americans are probably the most prosperous ethnic group in the country, and they are among the most successful however you measure them. They are becoming increasingly involved in politics — and are thought ripe for the Republican party.
Anyway, in preparing this piece, I talked to the great Thomas Sowell, who knows a lot about Indians, Indian Americans, ethnic groups, politics, and everything else under the sun. No big deal, the man is just a genius.
Unsurprisingly, he had many interesting things to say, e.g., about the role of “racial middlemen” throughout the world. Where there are few of a certain group — where they are perceived as unthreatening — they can flourish. I remember liking to cite the fact that Seattle had a black mayor. (This was in the 1980s.) And Sowell gave me a fascinating tidbit: On some Caribbean islands, where there is great black-Indian strife, the referees of soccer games are Chinese.
Anyway, our conversation turned to the election of Bobby Jindal, the Indian American from Louisiana. On Nov. 2, he was sent to Congress, from the district once the base of Klansman David Duke. Jindal — a Reaganite Republican — won 78 percent of the vote. Sowell said that, when he was young, he “would have bet you dollars to doughnuts” that Jindal could not be elected. “The Marines took me to Atlanta in 1952, and we went to this restaurant. The people called the police.” (Sowell is black.) “Then, in 1974 — only 22 years later — I was in Atlanta, and went to this posh restaurant. The place was crowded, so we doubled up at tables — white and black.”
Sowell’s point was that, in America, “the idea that things are fixed in concrete” is nonsense. The pace of change in this country is breathtaking, and nowhere is that truer than in the South.
Nicely observed, huh? By the way, Jindal is the second Indian American elected to Congress. The first was Dilip Singh Saund, a Democrat, who was elected in 1956 — in the middle of what was supposed to be the stifling Eisenhower era. Saund was a Sikh immigrant to California, who went door to door in his turban — and won.
Just something to ponder, on this pre-Christmas Monday morning.”