American Turban

Why Indian Americans flock to the Democratic Party

Ricky Gill, running for Congress in California's 9th Congressional District, fits a disturbing template of Republican Indian Americans (photo: Democratic Underground)

Ricky Gill, running for Congress in California’s 9th Congressional District, fits a disturbing template of Republican Indian Americans (photo: Democratic Underground)

A piece in First Post discusses why Indian Americans have been more supportive of President Obama and the Democratic Party rather than the Republican Party. Of particular note, the behavior of several prominent Republican Indian Americans within the Party itself is partly to blame:

But Indian Americans take note of how Nikki Haley runs as far away as she can from her identity, brushing it aside with one obligatory “I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants” line at the Republican convention. They notice the omission when the same “proud daughter” of Punjabi storeowners sees no reason to even mention the recent shootings of Sikhs in Wisconsin.  As for Jindal, Sunil Adam writes in the Asian Correspondent, he is “widely, if not necessarily openly, ridiculed by Indian-Americans for flaunting his born-again Christian credentials; many see it as a betrayal of the Hindu faith he was born into.”

Both come to the community for money but don’t want to speak up for it. Reacting to Wisconsin, Haley issued a carefully worded statement that avoided the slightest hint of identification. “It’s very sad to see something like this happen to a peaceful place of worship,” said the woman who was married in a gurudwara.

Let us add Ricky Gill, Republican candidate for California’s 9th Congressional District, to this list. Diversity is only meaningful if it is respected and transparent.

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7 comments

  1. observer

    Ricky Gill belongs in the same category of coconuts as Jindal and Haley. They don’t mind soliciting money from the Sikhs or Hindus citing their common identity, but go out of their way to distancing themselves from those very same people once under the limelight.

    Ricky Gill is an first class Uncle Tom that Indian need to be wary of. We already have the coconuts like Jindal and Haley and regret funding their campaigns lets not repeat the same mistake with Ricky Gill.

  2. HS Vachoa

    This is ridiculous. This is simply religious banishment just because someone doesn’t identify himself/herself as a Sikh.

    Why don’t you have an interview with Ricky Gill and Nikky Haley and see what they have to say about these accusations before sentencing them “for not calling yourself a Sikh”?

    You should better be asking, why are Sikhs outside the district where Ricky is standing for are donating money to Ricky? How are these people acting in the best interest of the district when they are just donating the money because he is a Sikh? I would personally not give money to anyone unless at least he is standing for my district. Would you give money to someone just because he is a Sikh?

    • Over the past few months, I have invited Ricky Gill and/or his campaign to comment on the perception that he is hiding his religious background. I contacted his campaign via e-mail (and offering the opportunity to post their statement without any restriction), phone, Facebook, and Twitter. His campaign does not respond.

      In private circles, he identifies himself as a Sikh. Strangely, he refuses to do so publicly, treating the word “Sikh” as the proverbial “four letter word”.

      No one has religiously banished Ricky Gill. Quite the opposite, in fact: he has banished the Sikh American community from his public persona while keeping the community in his back pocket, where he keeps his wallet.

      Only Ricky Gill and the Sikhs who organize events for him outside his district can explain why he takes campaign funds from Sikh Americans who aren’t in his district, and why they hold these functions for him to collect this money from the community. I suppose, far be it for Gill to not take the money no matter why they are offering it to him.

      It is clear, however, that the only thing they have in common is religious background — at least privately — and that is not a coincidence. Perhaps the same religious background has something to do with it, which again, is my basic premise.

  3. HS Vachoa

    Yes, it is true only those Sikhs who are contributing can answer that but why are you applying double standards when it comes when only Ricky Gill and Nikky Haley can answer it?

    If they want to keep Sikhism private what is it to you?

    It is obvious that you simply have no issue when it comes to Sikhs contributing to the campaign of candidates just because they are Sikhs. Why haven’t you spoken against them for bringing in religious and ethnic favoritism?

    Bottom line, you seem to only support the candidates if they will make their Sikh identity public. I am sorry to say but this is a really an ignorant way to support a democracy.

    • What is it to me? Perhaps you have completely missed the topic of this blog as in the header: “A discussion about the Sikh American experience.”

      Ricky Gill is a Sikh American. He is a public figure who is running for federal office. However, in doing so, he curiously is hiding his Sikh identity while at the same time soliciting funds from the community. Clearly, his case is very relevant to the topic of this blog.

      And, despite all your objections and obfuscations, the central questions remain unanswered:

      1. What is the motivation behind a Sikh American candidate running for office to hide his Sikh identity from the public? Is this a reflection on what it means to be a Sikh in this country?

      2. When he does hide his faith from the public, on the other hand, why is he then collecting funds from the Sikh American community, particularly events held by the community purely in support of his candidacy? If he does not want to represent Sikhs, why is he attending these events?

      These are fair and legitimate questions to ask and discuss when considering the Sikh American experience.

  4. Genesis

    Both are our versions of the “Uncle Tom” syndrome. Every other race of people in the US are proud to identify themselves as Jewish American, African American, Polish American, Irish American. Last time i attended an Oktoberfest in the US, it was a celebration of German Americans. But this loser Bobby Jindal is the only one to come out and say that his parents brought him up as an American. I am actually more ashamed and disgraced by Indians trying to celebrate the success of these individuals who clearly don’t identify with India. Why are we so desperate?

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