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More on South Asians and political giving…

October 26, 2009

Reading Venu’s post below brought up a few thoughts/questions for me. Difficulty in engaging South Asian Americans to contribute monetarily is frustrating because many have the financial means to do so.  For instance, much of the literature on South Asian giving practices has shown that the average income of South Asians is much higher than the national average.  This makes me wonder if South Asians in the U.S. feel like their needs and interests are already being represented at the policy level. Technically many South Asian’s have white collar jobs that include health care and retirement planning benefits. So, what is going to motivate us?

I had no good answer to this question so I asked my mother what she thought would be the benefit of having an elected official that was South Asian. Her first response was “we can declare a holiday for Deepavalli!” Admittedly, it would be fun to get a day off to set off fireworks and eat good food! As our conversation continued my mom revealed that for her, it was an issue of pride. She felt that the 1st generation of immigrants had worked so hard to establish themselves and having a South Asian public official would be a representation of that experience. The conversation with my mom got me thinking about what it means to be American. I realized that for me having a South Asian public official would work to broaden public notions of what “American” looked like. It would represent the losses, struggles, and joys of South Asian immigration.

So, what would it represent for you?

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