kens*ten: a political blog

Liberal Bigotry in Black and White

Joel Stein writes another chapter in Liberal Bigotry. (Illustration by John Ueland for TIME)

Bigotry is the ultimate sign of ignorance.  It is wrongly assumed to lie solely within the province of conservatives.  Time Magazine contributor Joel Stein have proven that bigotry knows no ideological bounds. 

Stein authored an article entitled “My Own Private India“.  It is supposed to be a humorous take on the changes he sees in his former hometown of Edison, New Jersey.  Instead it is simply insulting and racist. 


Mr. Stein claims he was trying to make a point about immigration and assimilation.  Whatever point he may have intended was lost in a recitation of stereotypes, racial epithets, and cultural denigration.  The usual weapons of bigots. 

Here is Example #1 of what passes for “humor” by Mr. Stein — and apparently, Time editors: 

Eventually, there were enough Indians in Edison to change the culture. At which point my townsfolk started calling the new Edisonians “dot heads.” One kid I knew in high school drove down an Indian-dense street yelling for its residents to “go home to India.” In retrospect, I question just how good our schools were if “dot heads” was the best racist insult we could come up with for a group of people whose gods have multiple arms and an elephant nose.  

Now, Example # 2: 

…when I was a kid, a few engineers and doctors from Gujarat moved to Edison because of its proximity to AT&T, good schools and reasonably priced, if slightly deteriorating, post–WW II housing. For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor. 

And, Example #3: 

But if you look at the current Facebook photos of students at my old high school, … you’ll see that, while the population seems at least half Indian, a lot of them look like the Italian Guidos I grew up with in the 1980s: gold chains, gelled hair, unbuttoned shirts. In fact, they are called Guindians. Their assimilation is so wonderfully American that if the Statue of Liberty could shed a tear, she would. Because of the amount of cologne they wear. 

Are you rolling on the floor in fits of uncontrollable laughter yet? 

So, let me see if I understand Mr. Stein’s “thinking”.  

  • Calling Indians “dot heads” and ridiculing their religious beliefs is the fault of public schools that should have taught Mr. Stein to be more sophisticated in his bigotry.
  • India is a poor nation due to the influence of simpleton merchants and their Forest Gump-like rural relatives.  So, the vast majority of the nation’s billion-plus inhabitants are by nature mental defects.
  • Indian-Americans typically resemble Italian “guidos” with greased-back hair, disco-era clothing and cologne to cover their natural odor.

And, somehow this is not only instructive about today’s debate on immigration, it’s also funny?  In what way? On what planet? The only bigotry, mental defects and foul smell on display in this “humor” emanates from the putrid mind of Mr. Stein. 

There has been limited blowback .  But, as with most public displays of liberal bigotry, we are treated to the “non-apology” apology.  Time has updated the internet post of the column with the following: 

We sincerely regret that any of our readers were upset by this humor column of Joel Stein’s. It was in no way intended to cause offense. 

Translation of Time’s statement: We didn’t think this was racist at all when we were yukking it up around the coffee pot.  Guindians! That was priceless.  And, they do smell, ya know.  That Stein, he’s a comic wunderkind.  Never read anything funnier and educational in our entire life. 

Mr. Stein has also responded to the righteously upset: 

I truly feel stomach-sick that I hurt so many people. I was trying to explain how, as someone who believes that immigration has enriched American life and my hometown in particular, I was shocked that I could feel a tiny bit uncomfortable with my changing town when I went to visit it. If we could understand that reaction, we’d be better equipped to debate people on the other side of the immigration issue.

Yeah, this will certainly ratchet up the civil discourse on immigration two or three notches.  And, notice that nowhere do the words “sorry” or “apologize” appear in his response.  But it’s OK, he’s the real victim: Mr. Stein feels truly “stomach-sick”.  Hey Joel, maybe that’s the takeout curry chicken you got from your favorite “dot head” restaurant. 

Is Stein kidding?  It’s hard to tell given his obvious penchant for the unfunny.  No doubt, Mr. Stein and his liberal friends are laughing about the whole silly misunderstanding.  C’mon can’t you people take a joke? 

Open bigotry against Indian-Americans seems to be de riguer in liberal circles.  Recall that Hillary Clinton “joked” that Mahatma Ghandi ran a gas station in in St. Louis.   And, Joe Biden told an Indian supporter that you couldn’t visit a 7-11 or Dunkin Donut shop in Delaware without an Indian accent.   So, Mr. Stein is in very august company. 


Questions to Time editors: 

  • When is Mr. Stein being fired for this disgusting foray into overt racism? 
  • Would you have published this garbage if it were about Hispanics, African-Americans or gays instead of Indian-Americans? 
  • Is this really the type of political commentary your liberal readers seek?


Questions to US Attorney General Eric Holder:

  • When are you filing hate speech charges against Mr. Stein and Time?
  • Is this an example of the national conversation on race you said America needs?


 Exit question for all: 

  • Could a Republican or conservative have written or published this — or anything like it — without a nationwide liberal media meltdown?


Perhaps, that explains why you probably haven’t heard about it at all.

© 2010 by kensten. All rights reserved. 


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