American Turban

A history of modern prejudice

Cover of A History of Prejudice: Race, Caste, and Difference in India and the United States, by Gyanendra Pandey (photo credit: Amazon)

Cover of A History of Prejudice: Race, Caste, and Difference in India and the United States, by Gyanendra Pandey (photo credit: Amazon)

The blog 3quarksdaily introduces Gyanendra Pandey, a history professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, whose upcoming book (A History of Prejudice: Race, Caste, and Difference in India and the United States) compares the evolution of prejudice in India and the United States.

Gyanendra Pandey contrasts different levels of prejudice at play in both timelines: the visible “vernacular” prejudice, and a more invisible “universal” prejudice that defines what it means to be different in society:

The American political scientist Samuel Huntington made a parallel argument regarding immigrants from Mexico who have long lived, worked, and died in the United States, many of them even serving in the military, to which the American establishment readily welcomes them. “There is no Americano dream,” Huntington writes. “There is only the American dream created by an Anglo-Protestant society. Mexican-Americans will share in that dream and in that society only if they dream in English.” Here, the suggestion goes, as in the case of Jews ceasing to be Jews, or Muslims Muslims, is another impossibility.

Or, as Sikhs to be Sikhs. For those of us who pursue the “American dream”, we must be aware of what this pursuit actually implies as a process of assimilation or marginalization of “difference” that is often defined by the ruling class.

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