Bobby Jindal and the Case of the Nonexistent Hyphenated Indian-American
Bobby Jindal. Where do I start? I had a lot of faith in his abilities when he first campaigned to be governor in 2003 and even more when Kathleen Blanco failed so miserably during the debacle that was the federal and Louisiana’s Hurricane Katrina response. Once he was elected governor in 2007, I was proud – an Indian-American making a difference in a state where diversity is not usually celebrated. He was going to give us Indian-Americans a good name and show people that we are not just your doctors, engineers or business owners.
Through his terms (he was re-elected in 2011), I supported Jindal. He would cut higher education and healthcare, but I figured he had a good vision. I mean, he was a Rhodes Scholar with an Ivy League education – they had to have taught him some sense. Unfortunately, a year after he was re-elected, I started to realize just how little Jindal and I had in common regarding our viewpoints. This was the guy who had done nothing to pave the way for equal pay or equality (in general) for all, no matter gender, creed or sexuality. How could someone, who himself grew up as a minority, believe that Louisiana could prosper without supporting the many minorities that make up his constituency? In addition, Jindal had a vendetta against creating lucrative higher education opportunities in Louisiana. Why would he remove incentives to keeping bright minds in-state? Lastly, Jindal continually criticized federal mandates and aid, explaining that Louisiana does not need the help of the national government. But, the truth of the matter is that Louisianians actually do need help from the federal government; Louisiana is almost always in the bottom 10 of all negative lists (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE). I’m talking about unhealthy living, education, murder rates, everything. How could Louisiana be in good hands with someone who keeps playing into party politics? How could someone fulfill his requirements as an elected official to the state of Louisiana and not try to remedy the pertinent issues that plague our state?
This is the same guy who supports creationism to be taught in science classes (and does not care about the fallout his decisions cause), who cares only for businessmen and who thinks that there is no such thing as a hyphenated identity. He said that a hyphenation of identity should not exist and that he had never felt the effects of racism (Here’s a nice little rebuttal to Jindal’s ill-informed suggestions). Well, real talk – I grew up in New Orleans, one of the more diverse and progressive cities in the South, and I had faced and continue to face discrimination daily. His policy on full assimilation does not take into account how much this approach caters to the majority while drowning out the minorities just floundering in the water trying to make sure they can survive. This is a politician who is too far removed from his own self to really understand others. He calls out other religions and alienates his own minority constituents. Whether he proclaims specific areas (he has no business talking about) as “no-go zones,” where the Muslim population levels are higher (and doesn’t even try to apologize after even Fox News said their speculations were incorrect), or he organizes a prayer rally on LSU’s campus with organizations that blame LGBT populations for the current state of the world, Jindal excels at shunning and overlooking diversity.
This is a guy that has embraced every aspect of Louisiana politics. He embodies the stupidity and self-serving ideals that Louisiana politics is known for. It is unfortunate that he brings down other Indian-Americans and Louisianians through his actions. Hopefully someone in his PR team will sit him down and explain to him that he is polarizing his potential supporters. I personally am disheartened by his tactics; as a champion of human rights and equality for all, Jindal continues to estrange his constituents and serve the interests of those who may be funding his imminent bid for the 2016 Republican nomination. I just don’t understand how he plans to run for presidency when his views are so polarizing. So, thank you, Bobby, for making me second-guess identifying myself as a Louisianian Indian-American.