TED Talk: A Saudi, an Indian and an Iranian in a Qatari bar

Even the most serious and touchy topics can be better addressed when followed with a laugh! Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani takes to the TED audience…

The Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani delivers a comic piece to the TED audience in Doha, Qatar. This is an interesting take on some the most serious issues and perceptions surrounding Muslims and the Middle East.
Oh, and also included are some pieces of common advice to the people with brown skin when boarding an airplane in America!

Most of the time, as we can see from this comedy, even the most serious and touchy topics can be better addressed when wrapped in laughter!
Instead of politicians and religious leaders, we need more comedians talking about the cultural and religious differences! Continue reading “TED Talk: A Saudi, an Indian and an Iranian in a Qatari bar”

The ban on Affirmative Action – a new trend

Positive discrimination; employment equity, ‘reservation’….affirmative action comes in different shapes and with different names. However, inequality in society goes beyond socially defined boundaries and the color of the skin…

Affirmative action has many names in different parts of the world. Some call it positive discrimination; Canada touts it as employment equity; it is ‘reservation’ in India and positive action in the UK. Affirmative action is the policy of providing special opportunities for a disadvantaged group of society who suffer from discrimination. It is an effort to ‘equal the playing field’ by favoring a weaker/minority group.

The nature of positive discrimination policies varies from country to country. Some countries, such as India, use a quota system, whereby a certain percentage of jobs or school vacancies must be set aside for members of a certain group. In some other regions, specific quotas do not exist; instead, members of minorities are given preference in selection processes. The US public colleges and Universities often consider race and ethnicity during admission process.

The Affirmative action is intended to promote the opportunities for the minority groups – to give them equal access to that of the privileged/majority population.

Now, there has been ongoing argument that the affirmative action is an unfair system and prefers certain groups during a selection process. The Michigan state has been in the news for many years now as the argument (for and against affirmative action) started in a school, leading all the way to the Supreme court. Here is a quick summary:

October 1997: Two students (Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher) sue the University of Michigan regarding the affirmative action policy used in undergraduate admissions after not getting into the College of Literature Science and Arts.

December 1997: Barbara Grutter sues the university regarding the Law School’s use of admissions, which considers race in reviewing applicants.

June 2003: The U.S. Supreme Court held in the Grutter case that diversity is a compelling interest in higher education, and that race is one of a number of factors that can be taken into account during the admissions process. The Court upheld the holistic review used in the Law School’s admissions policy. Continue reading “The ban on Affirmative Action – a new trend”

What do foreigners find most annoying about Indians overseas?

Every culture, every race, every lineage, every ethnic group has some quirks that irk the outsiders.Here are some of the desi traits about people from India that foreigners find annoying or not-so-pleasant:

Every culture, every race, every lineage, every ethnic group has some quirks that irk the outsiders.Here are some of the desi traits about the people from India that foreigners find annoying or not-so-pleasant:

1. Self-isolation and slow to adapt: Indians are known for their reserve nature. They don’t mingle well unless you are part of their social circle; and the social circle is mostly Indian friends. Sometimes this behavior is mistaken for aloofness and showing general disdain, and others may find it annoying. Socializing is a skill that Indians need to acquire more and improve.

2. Parental overshadow (momma’s boy syndrome): Many westerns (Western meaning Americans and Europeans, not cowboys and cowgirls) avoid dating Indians because most of them don’t move out of their parents houses even after the college is done. And, parents try their best to hold on to their kids and ‘baby’ them even when the ‘kids’ are in their 20s or beyond. Annoying? – probably not, but lack of independent living? – yes.

3. Big houses and cheap clothes: The Indians love the concept of mortgage – saving every penny for down-payment and then spending everything on a big house, bigger than their cousins’ or brothers’ houses nearby. And in the process, if you have to penny pinch from everywhere else – that’s okay.

4. Body odor and dental hygiene: Some Indians (and then the perception becomes for all the Indians) do have the problem of body odor, bad smell from the mouth and the dental hygiene. This problem is not-so-common among the younger generation, but a perception is there. Continue reading “What do foreigners find most annoying about Indians overseas?”

Protect the kids, protect the future, not the guns!

Guns are a part of American life. Gun ownership is a part of the culture. But, how good is a past tradition if it is ruining the future? It is about time to change the gun ownership tradition. We owe this to our future; we owe this to our children.

Strict Gun Laws – we owe this to our children

The guns kill, there is no doubt about it. The guns are made to kill – animals, people, anything you aim at. The guns are the means to kill and assault. Yet, it is a sad fact that guns are so easily available, so accessible to everyone and anyone with little effort.

Guns are an integral part of American life, and American culture. There is a history of gun ownership in USA; it is a part of growing up – a hobby, a habit.

But, how good is a past tradition if it is ruining the future? Be it an old habit or an age-old tradition, some bad habits need to go, so do the flawed traditions. It is about time, about time to change the gun ownership tradition in America. In fact, it is already too late, too late for many affected families.

In the recent years, we have witnessed more and mover mass killings, more and more gun violence on a large scale. Shooting little kids in the schools, killing innocent students in the university campuses, gunning down peaceful worshipers for no reason…..too many killings on daily basis, too much gun violence.

It is a shame that powerful NRA, the National Rifle Association, is single handedly controlling the gun laws in this country. Disguising itself as the defender of Second Amendment rights, NRA is spending lots of money advertising the pro-gun agenda and lobbying the congress to support pro-gun stance. What the NRA does is simply disgusting and down right dirty.

NRA is very vocal against any gun controls including the right to own semi-automatic weapons, the guns that can spit out 100s bullets per minute. Why anyone need these assault weapons is beyond any common logic, beyond any rationale. Continue reading “Protect the kids, protect the future, not the guns!”

2010-2020 US Labor Force forecast by race, ethnic groups and by age

Like the US population, the American labor force is growing more slowly, becoming older and more diverse. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) study highlights the jobs and employment projections by race, ethnic groups and by age.

2010 to 2020 US Jobs and Employment projections by race, ethnic groups and by age

Just like the US population, the American labor force is growing more slowly, becoming older and more diverse. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) study highlights the jobs and employment projections by race, ethnic groups and by age.

The labor force, in these stats, is composed of all persons 16 years and older in the civilian noninstitutional population who either are employed or are unemployed but available and looking for work.
Here are the key highlights (Click on the charts on the right for bigger image):

  • The civilian labor force is projected to reach 164.4 million by 2020, an increase of 6.8 percent.
  • The U.S. workforce is projected to become more diverse by 2020.
  • Among racial groups, Whites are expected to make up a decreasing share of the labor force while Blacks, Asians, and all other groups will increase their share (Chart 2).
  • Among ethnic groups, persons of Hispanic origin are projected to increase their share of the labor force from 14.8 percent to 18.6 percent.
  • The Asians are projected to increase their share of the labor force from 4.7 percent to 5.7 percent.

Continue reading “2010-2020 US Labor Force forecast by race, ethnic groups and by age”

The cure for racism!

They say that the racism is all in our brain, the way we think. Many times, we may not even know that we are subconsciously discriminating …..The racism is a product of our culture…The researchers at Oxford University have discovered that a pill can lowers racist attitudes…..

Racism – An ugly word, with uglier social implications,  with the ugliest outcomes in most cases. Racism is a behavior; the discrimination based on racial differences are daily common occurrence. There is no debating that racism is a social issue, a social disease.

It is human nature, we react differently to different situations; we respond in our own ways to those who appear different from us. The racism is a product of our culture; a part of our ignorance about other cultures, about other people from different race.

The way we are raised, the way we are educated and the way our surroundings are – all little things add up to affect our thinking, consciously or subconsciously.

They say that the racism is all in our brain, the way we think. Many times, we may not even know that we are subconsciously discriminating. For example, our education may teach us to be fair and equal to all, but our childhood upbringing may have taught us differently. Just the way things were around us, when we were growing up, leave a lasting impression on our thinking, on our behavior. Continue reading “The cure for racism!”

Why Indian/desi guys find white women more attractive!

A previous article discussed – Why white women find desi or Indian guys less attractive?. Now, ask the guys from India about White woman; these desi dudes hold no grudge against white chicks. In fact, it is quite the opposite.So, why is it that Indian guys find white women more attractive?…

Human relations are complicated by nature; there is always something deeper, something more than meet the eye. Inter-racial relation are even more complex, even though they have been around for ages.

A previous article discussed Why white women find desi or Indian guys less attractive?. Now, ask the guys from India about White woman. No matter what these white women think about the Indian guys, the desi dudes hold no grudge against them. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

So, why is it that Indian guys find white women more attractive? There is no simple answer; at least nobody admits that it is so black and white – or should be say ‘brown and white’!

1. Fair skin attraction – First thing first, it is a culture thing that Indians prefer fair skin, especially on a woman. Many attribute this to Bollywood where almost all the leading actresses have milky complexion, but fair skin preference goes way back, even before black-and-white flicks took over Indian cinema. Many of the matrimonial advertisements often include ‘fair skin’ mention or requirement. The white women win hands down, if you just go by the skin color. So, this is good first impression, to start with! The fair skin criteria goes beyond the Bollywood actresses, and is common among all India cultures – home or abroad.

2. Stronger sense of independence – Compared to an Indian woman raised in an Indian society, a white woman from West is much more independent and self-reliant. In western culture (Western, as in Europe and America, not as in cowboys), the women have much more say in their personal decision-making, compared to Indian society where families dominate and control women’s upbringings.

3. Less family control – This is more of a continuation of previous point. The women from India are often controlled by the family in many important aspects of their life, including selecting a life-partner. So, the family interference is much more in the case of Indian women, and this is a turn-off for many guys – even by desi standard! Continue reading “Why Indian/desi guys find white women more attractive!”

Many Indians abroad dating exclusively whites only!

There seem to be an emerging and perhaps growing trend among the new generation of Indians abroad who prefer to date whites only…instead of dating someone from desi circle.This ‘chat’ on the social network site is a quick glimpse into their psyche…

19:19 Me
Are u okay if I use this ‘chat’ for a blog post…a post on ‘Some Indians abroad dating whites only’ ?

19:19 Neelam
No, not really! Plz!

19:20 Me
my loss 🙁

19:20 Neelam
haha….sorry

19:21 Me
🙁

19:21 Neelam
may be..you can change the name and place…a little

19:21 Me
I should do that.
Why though?

19:22 Neelam
haha I don’t need publicity..or hate mails…lol

19:22 Me
okay cool, thanks

19:23 Neelam
haha np

…………

A friendly warning: Take this post with a grain of salt, especially if you get indigestion from racial mix and deviations from the strict social norms. Continue reading “Many Indians abroad dating exclusively whites only!”

Canadian Living – A multicultural society by default

Canadian cities are much more multi-cultural….Residential areas of big cities are equally diverse and friendly….Canada is one of the few countries that actually promote multi-culture society as a part of government policy…

We are always busy comparing stuff around us. We compare apples to oranges, Bollywood to Hollywood, old music to new numbers…It is human nature, we compare our experiences with all sorts of things all the time.
If you live in USA or Canada, you most likely have heard this from your desi friends:
“Canadians are much friendlier!”
“Canada is a much better place to live”
Or something similar…

I have heard the same, so many times, from many Indians who either travel through Canada or have lived in Canada. Many of them have lived in both Canada and USA at different times of their lives, so they speak from their experiences.

Recently, while traveling through Canada, I got the first hand opportunity to explore the local living and local cultures. There are some things that stand out in Canadian cities: Continue reading “Canadian Living – A multicultural society by default”

Asian Women lead the US work force ranks

The highlights of the statistics on Asian women in work force in USA. The report is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of U.S. Department of Labor.

The highlights of Asian women in work force in USA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of U.S. Department of Labor has published some very interesting facts on women in work force in USA. In a report titled ‘Women in the Labor Force’ (2009 Edition) a wide range of employment statistics are highlighted. This particular write-up, to match the interests of the main readers/visitors of the site, is focused on the statistics related to Asian women in USA.

Note that there are no separate official statistics available for only Indian-American women in this  detailed survey. So, Asian women’s category is the closest gauge in this case.

The highlights of women in work force in USA: With main focus on Asian women, here are some of the highlights. Continue reading “Asian Women lead the US work force ranks”

Why white women find desi or Indian guys less attractive?

This may seem like a very personal question and you most likely won’t get an honest response if asking someone point blank. However, it is a fair question that is seldom asked and often ignored:
Are the white women less attracted to the guys from India or those of Indian origin? And if so, Why?

Opening a can of worms here. 🙂
This may seem like a very personal question and you probably won’t get an honest response if asking someone point blank. After all, no one wants to be stereotyped. However, it is a fair question that is seldom asked and often ignored:
Are the white women less attracted to the guys from India or those of Indian origin? And if so, Why?

Myth or truth:
Is this really true or is it just is a myth?
Based on all kinds of on-line discussions, observations from different corners of the world and feedback from many, it is most likely a true observation. However, it may have more to do with the social and cultural tradition of a race or ethnic group to stay within their own kinds – within their own race or social group. The question or observation may not be different from ‘Do white women find Hispanic men less attractive?’ or any other combination of ethnic mix. So, don’t take it too personal, this is not be your fault. Blame it on your social upbringing.

Under ideal circumstance, a relation should not be based on the color of the skin, but it is not a perfect world we live in. Without any sugarcoating, here is some of the common logic or reasoning behind this behavior:

1. Peers and parental influence: The family and social aspect always comes into play in our personal choices. After all, racial biases and racial issues are still very much alive in every society. Yes, these biases are not as bad as in old day, but it is not a color-blind world by any measure. Many of our daily decisions are influenced by the peer pressure and the racial biases that are rooted deep in the society, choosing a partner is one of them. The birds of a feather, flock together – as they say.

2. Unconscious bias: It is human nature, we have our own biases and prejudice, and sometimes we don’t even realize it. If a white person has always seen her friends and families – since she was a kid – sticking with their own kind, her first preference is likely going to be someone of her own kind, even without her realizing it. We are a creation of our environment; our surroundings always influence our actions. So, once again, not your fault or her fault, blame it on the hidden cleverness and treacheries of our brain – the unconscious bias.

3. Not enough in common: A friendship or a relation is often built on a common bond. Coming from a different background and raised very differently, an Indian guy may not have much in common with the white women. For example, if your favorite topics of discussion relate to Bollywood, the game of cricket, desi music…., you probably won’t make very good company for a white person who knows little about all this. Understanding the other side and making a connection based on personal likes and dislikes makes a big difference.

4. Good hygiene Rumor: Some have said this (anonymously) and others have heard this through some friend-of-friend, that their experiences have not been very ‘pleasant’ when it comes to personal hygiene. Not sure how true this is, or if it could be some isolated incident. May be the smell of Indian spices from desi food linger on us much longer than it should, or some other issues…., Or, may be white women are attracted to certain male odor that we – most Indians – lack. In any case, use your own judgment at personal level, and if in doubt, make a trip to the supermarket and buy some new colognes; and buy it from a white sales clerk, just to be sure. 🙂 Continue reading “Why white women find desi or Indian guys less attractive?”

Hitler and India – The Swastika

In Hinduism, the word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word svastika meaning any lucky or auspicious object. The swastika is a mark (or a symbol) often made on persons and things to show good luck.
So, did Hitler take the traditional Hindu good-luck symbol…..

Given the gravity of the crimes he committed against humanity in general and against the Jews in particular, Hitler is considered one of the worst evils a human can be. The dictator was responsible for the death of millions of innocent people, just because they did not fit his distorted and evil vision of so called ‘pure race’.

Among Indians, Hitler is often discussed for his affinity or likings of Hinduism. Though there is no direct proof of this from his writings or speeches, the origin of German symbol of Swastika and his belief in supreme Aryan race are some times opined as his bias towards Hindu religion.
swastika1150x135

In Hinduism, the word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word svastika meaning any lucky or auspicious object. The swastika is a mark (or a symbol) often made on persons and things to show good luck.

The Indian swastika is considered a sacred symbol among the followers of many Indians religions including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It has long been a part of the Indian traditions, rituals and is often depicted in the religious or worship settings.

So, did Hitler take the traditional Hindu good-luck symbol of the swastika, rotated it by 45 degree and then used it as the German icon of his Nazi campaign? It was commonly used on the Nazi party’s flag, the badges, the armband and so on. Continue reading “Hitler and India – The Swastika”

Hitler and India – The Aryan Race

We all know that Hitler and Nazi Germany wanted to propagate, what is often quoted as, the ‘Aryan race’. The term ‘Aryan Race’ and its meaning are often mistaken or distorted. The facts are:..

“How has the dejection come to you at this juncture? This is not fit for an Aryan. It is disgraceful, and it does not lead one to heaven, O Arjuna.” ~ Lord Krishna in Holy Book ‘Gita’

Hitler, the most hated dictator of modern era was responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people, just because they did not fit his distorted and evil vision of so called ‘pure race’. We all know that Hitler and Nazi Germany wanted to propagate, what is often quoted as, the ‘Aryan race’. The term ‘Aryan Race’ and its meaning are often mistaken or distorted from what it really stands for.

Here are some of the key facts:

  • Aryans are the original speakers of the Indo-European languages. According to the most common definition, Aryans originate from the ancient Indo-Iranians, Indo-European peoples who inhabited parts of what are now Iran, Afghanistan, and India.
  • The word ‘Arya’ is found in Hindu religion and in Sanskrit, and it refers to the upper crust of ancient Indian society, or a noble person.
  • A German scholar has also linked the Indo-Iranian Aryan with the German word ‘Ehre’ meaning “honor”.

However, according to what Hitler and his Nazi regime believed, the Aryan descendants are supposedly a sub-group of the Caucasian (White) race. Hitler wanted to put forward this Aryan race as the ‘master race’ or ‘supreme race’. Continue reading “Hitler and India – The Aryan Race”

US Employment scene by Race and Ethnicity

The interesting facts and information are based on a report from US Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics… based on the report ‘Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity’….

The interesting facts below are based on a report from US Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their report ‘Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity, 2008’ is compiled for the year 2008; however, the picture painted below is probably not far from what we have today.
Also, note that there is no separate category for ‘Indian Americans’;  in this study, Indians are a part of the ‘Asian’ group. Here are the key highlights from the US Department of Labor report:

Occupation and industry:

  • Compared to Asians and whites, blacks and Hispanics are less likely to be in management, professional, and related occupations—the highest paying major job category.
  • In 2008, half of Asian men worked in management, professional, and related occupations, compared with only 34 percent of white men, 23 percent of black men, and 15 percent of Hispanic men.
  • Among women, in 2008, Asians were more likely than other groups to be employed in management, professional, and related jobs.
  • About 46 percent of Asian women were employed in management and professional occupation group, compared with about 41 percent of white women, 31 percent of black women, and 24 percent of Hispanic women.
  • Asians accounted for 5 percent of all employed workers but made up a much larger share of workers in several job categories, including computer software engineers (29 percent); physicians and surgeons (17 percent); and electrical, electronics, and electromechanical assemblers (18 percent).
  • Asians were over-represented in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in leisure and hospitality.


Unemployment stats:

  • Among the major race and ethnic groups, Asians had the lowest unemployment rate of 4.0% in 2008. The blacks had the highest rate at 10.1 percent, 7.6 percent for Hispanics and 5.2 percent for whites.
  • The unemployment rates were 4.9 percent for white adult men and 4.4 percent for white adult women. The jobless rates for Asian adult men and women were 3.9 and 3.5 percent, respectively. However, the rates for black adult men and women were 10.2 and 8.1 percent, respectively.
  • Teenagers (ages 16 to 19) are especially vulnerable to joblessness. In 2008, black teenagers had the highest unemployment rate among the major race and ethnicity groups at 31.2 percent, compared with 22.4 percent for Hispanics, 16.8 percent for whites, and 14.6 percent for Asians.
  • Unemployed blacks have been jobless for longer periods than unemployed workers in other groups. In 2008, the median duration of unemployment for blacks was 12.1 weeks, compared with 10.2 weeks for Asians, 8.8 weeks for whites, and 8.4 weeks for Hispanics.

Education:

  • About 90 percent of blacks and Asians in the labor force had received at least a high school diploma, the same proportion as whites. However, only about 68 percent of Hispanics had completed high school.
  • Asians were most likely to have graduated from college; 58 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 34 percent of whites, 24 percent of blacks, and 16 percent of Hispanics.
  • For all the groups, higher levels of education are associated with a greater likelihood of being employed.
  • Individuals with higher levels of education generally have better access to higher paying jobs. However, at nearly every level of education, blacks and Hispanics were more likely to be unemployed in 2008 than Asians or whites. Go figure!

Continue reading “US Employment scene by Race and Ethnicity”

20 Tips on personal safety and crime prevention abroad

In a foreign country, safety and security have always been keys concern of travelers and immigrants alike. Be it the streets of New York, south-side of Chicago, the suburbs of London,….. the safety should always be in the forefront…

Commonsense tips on how to be safe in a foreign country

Rape, assault and violence – the news are full of sickening tales everyday. Every country, every neighborhood, every place has its flaws. One way or another, any city – big or small – is a victim of deadly crimes. It is a part of life; we are all exposed to some sort of danger all the time – at home or abroad.

In a foreign country, safety and security have always been keys concern of travelers and immigrants alike. Be it the streets of New York, south-side of Chicago, the suburbs of London, the cities in Australia….. the safety is always in the forefronts of anyone’s mind – travelers and immigrants alike.

An immigrant (or a minority) often considers herself/himself to be more exposed to the danger of personal safety for many reasons:

  • The local criminals may find it easier or less risky to go after an outsider, or a minority group.
  • Many societies blame the immigrants for unemployment and job-loss issues; this social bias or grudge can contribute to the crimes against them.
  • Many fanatics may single out the minorities as a cause of their social agenda and target them.

While you cannot eliminate the racism or discrimination overnight, – even though it is a good wish, next to the cure of aging – there are certain things we can all do to be safer and more secure in a foreign land:

1. Select the residence location wisely: Pick a neighborhood with low crime rate that is safer to live. Do your research while selecting a residence. For example, many local newspapers publish information such as ‘Best places to raise a family’. A local real estate agent can also guide you to the safer areas. Avoid areas infested with crime.

2. Avoid bad company: It is simple as that, however, easier said than done. The company and the circle of friends you keep play a big role in day-to-day interactions with the society. Steer clear of the gang and crime infected social circles. Avoid areas with gang activities; stay away from unsavory characters.

3. Lock doors and windows: Once you have a residence selected in a good neighborhood, make it secure and burglar-proof. Install good quality dead-bolt locks on all the exterior doors. Also, Install quality locks on all the windows. Keeping your placed locked provides extra sense of security and deter burglars.

4. Trim over-grown shrubs and trees around the residence: Make sure to remove or trim shrubbery that hides doors and windows. That way, neighbors or passersby can see someone trying to break into your home. Limit the hiding spots for a burglar by keeping the bushes and trees tidy and well-trimmed.

5. Well-lit Place: Always have a light outside the front door and other areas of entrance. A well-lit area discourages the thieves and the bad guys. Continue reading “20 Tips on personal safety and crime prevention abroad”