‘The road to brown political success is not via colorblindness but rather via the simulation of whiteness’
Anand Giridharadas, How Nikki Haley Was Redeemed by Donald Trump
Many Indian-Americans I know nurse some resentment toward Haley and Jindal. It is a complex feeling. Part of it is the generic loathing of inauthenticity that bedevils many leaders — like Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush. The religious conversions, the nicknames, the immigration stances: It all seems a little too convenient, too calculated. But in Haley and Jindal’s cases, the feeling is deeper. When Nimrata Randhawa, born to Sikhs, becomes the Methodist politician Nikki Haley, and when Piyush Jindal, born to Hindus, becomes the Catholic politician Bobby Jindal — and when they are the only Indian-Americans who make it to the governor’s mansion — it confirms unuttered suspicions: that the road to brown political success is not via colorblindness but rather via the simulation of whiteness. You worry that certain correlates of whiteness — Methodism, guns, the name Nikki — are needed to compensate for your lack of the actual thing. You fear that figures like the two governors, far from euthanizing the demographically doomed idea of America as a synonym for whiteness, may actually be keeping it on life support.