Bobby aka Piyush Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, and "not an Indian-American" is much in the news these days as a presidential candidate.
My feelings about Bobby Jindal are mixed. On the one hand, as an Indian American, I feel pride that one of us, Indians, who have settled in America, has done so well. On the other hand, he pisses me off, pardon my language, for being so not-Indian American.
His argument that we are all "Americans" is all well and good and all immigrants use that to make a point when faced with racism or bias. However, almost all ethnic people that I meet, are also proud to point out their culture and heritage. I have many "white" friends who to this day claim their heritage is 1/8th Dutch and 1/10th German and on and on.
First the name, Bobby a.k.a. Piyush.
I know many friends who have shortened their name or found a similar name to abbreviate or adapt their difficult Indian name. The goal is to make it more "mainstream" and save embarrassment for all. My husband's name, Nilesh, isn't that difficult, but he tells people to think "knee less" if they really want to use his name. Some people also shorten it to a "Neil," which is quite a natural shortening of his name. Sometimes when people stumble over the two simple syllables in his name, he laughingly invites them to "just call me Bob."
Now Piyush may not naturally shorten to something easy and simple, I mean I doubt anyone would want to be called "Pee" or "Push." I get that.
But Supriya can be easily shorted to Sue. So how come Piyush became Bobby but his wife Supriya, not become Sue? At least I haven't seen evidence of her being mentioned as Sue anywhere.
Then came the Hindu to Catholic conversion.
When Bobby aka Piyush became a Catholic, I argued in his favor. As a Hindu, we all know that his chances of becoming Governor of any state, never mind Louisiana were slim to none, then. Besides, although we Indian Americans are "born" into a religion, I now get (not completely, but sort of) why someone would convert to another religion. After all, religion is all about belief system. No harm no foul, cause most religions share a lot of parallels, and so what if he believes more in Jesus Christ instead of Lord Krishna or Guru Nanak.
And now, "let's drop the hyphenated word, Indian American, we are all Americans."
Piyush aka Bobby, you are what we Indians call Indians who don't want to be Indians -- "whitewashed"!
Please accept that you will always have a natural tan (brown). And that the path to the White House has no color barrier, anymore!
Good luck with the campaign. I for one look forward to seeing how you do. It's not just "conservative" in me that is interested; it's the Indian American in me!!!