Piyush Jindal (pictured) has the sort of story many immigrants (and minorities in general, for that matter) find inspirational. As the son of two Indian immigrants, Jindal has managed to become the 55th governor of the state of Louisiana and is considered to be a viable contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. However, his ascension did not come without certain sacrifices — many of which are directly related to the art of assimilation.
The man now known as “Bobby” Jindal understands this, but he certainly goes out of his way to suggest otherwise. Likewise, he damns any other individual who could be quantified as an “other” in this country for not falling in line the way he did.
Last year, in an op-ed for Politico entitled “The End of Race,” Bobby essentially blamed the lingering racism in America on its victims rather than the institution that keeps it alive. Indeed, Jindal argues that many minorities place “far too much emphasis on our ‘separateness,’ our heritage, ethnic background, skin color, etc. We live in the age of hyphenated Americans: Asian-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Indian-Americans, and Native Americans, to name just a few.”
Jindal then added, “Here’s an idea: How about just ‘Americans?’ That has a nice ring to it, if you ask me. Placing undue emphasis on our ‘separateness’ is a step backward. Bring back the melting pot.”
Jindal’s confusion stems from the false premise that minorities are voluntarily trying to separate themselves from the majority. You would think anyone who was born in a southern state in the United States with even a minuscule knowledge of history would know better. He also has a rather juvenile understanding of racial pride. I can be proud of my heritage and my country — that is, when the latter earns such a right.
But Jindal doesn’t understand that race still matters in this country and that not everyone can evade racial prejudice or the limitations that institutionalized racism often places on those not White (and male), which is probably why he proclaimed on Tuesday that “the people in Washington running our federal government are more interested in skin color than they are in education.”
The state of Louisiana is currently fighting with the Department of Justice over its school voucher program. To Jindal, the program provides scholarships to low-income minority children to get them out of failing public schools (via tax payer dollars). For the DOJ, the program “impedes desegregation.”
However, a court ruled against the DOJ on stopping the program altogether. Instead, it will be given federal oversight in order to make sure that the “racial balance” of public schools are not disturbed.
Last September, Jindal invoked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to defend the program:
It is amazing to me that almost exactly 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous speech saying that he dreamt of a day when his children would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, almost 50 years to the day, our own federal government would be trying to force kids back into failing schools.
I imagine Dr. King would be less than thrilled with the reality that schools are more segregated now than they were several decades ago. I can imagine his heart breaking over the poverty rate and median income for Black families being on par with 1963 levels in urban areas like Chicago. It’s that sort of inequality that causes public school systems in more affluent White areas to be much more better than those in poorer urban areas.
The Bobby Jindals of the world are too caught up in the mythology of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech than the actual words included in it.
Suffice it to say, it’s no wonder that Jindal would dismiss the DOJs concern as nothing more than “race baiting.”
In a press release, Gov. Jindal says:
I am also shocked to learn that the Justice Department is now asking for the state to provide an analysis of the racial composition of our states’ private schools. The federal government’s new request is a frightening overreach of the federal government and shows it knows no bounds.President Obama’s Department of Justice has admitted it cannot prove that Louisiana school choice is violating desegregation efforts, yet it continues to seek the ability to tell a parent their child cannot escape a failing school because their child is not the ‘right’ race.The Department of Justice proposal reeks of federal government intrusion and proves the people in Washington running our federal government are more interested in skin color than they are in education.
It’s hilarious to me that an Indian man who had to adopt the moniker “Bobby” to get ahead in a state dominated by rural White people wants to act like race is not worth focusing on. Unbeknownst to him, not everyone can switch their names to something “more American” and obnoxiously profess their Christian faith while singing paeans to White conservatives and their ideals to get ahead the way he does.
But it’s no laughing matter that such a clueless man is in charge of policy that directly affects so many children of color who need a quality education if they have any chance of attaining real social mobility like a “Bobby” Jindal.
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