“However, when whites disparage the looks of more tropical featured and dark people, I notice NW people run from that and say stuff like “Only S Indians are like that,” “Punjabis don’t look like that. We look tall, fair, strong, and better” and try to assert they are some form of superior phenotypic race that should be distanced from the others.”
I see what you are saying here, and while you are correct about the uncouth nature of these observations, I think you are perhaps also projecting some of your own biases/insecurities onto these comments. When Jats or Khatris or other NWners make such comments, it is often misconstrued by non-NW biradri folk as “shitting on AASI heavy castes” when in reality, its just a tactless, artless way of asserting that Indians and South Asians have FAR more racial diversity than the “Stereotypical Apu Brown man” that racist and prejudiced outsiders/Europeans/East Asians etc. like caricaturing and lampooning all day long. It only comes across as rather harsh and gauche because of the context in which it is being written, as well as the blunt rhetoric. After all, us NW folk aren’t exactly known for our intellectual bent and political correctness, right? (Another stereotype) And furthermore, these folks most likely haven’t had the luxury of ever leaving their villages and small towns in India, and haven’t been exposed to the Globalized, multicultural world that you and I inhabit. We know better.
When I say that other South Asians project their insecurities onto these comments, what I mean is that certain people often feel hurt that these impolite NWners are making such comments, not only because they misunderstand their intent, but more importantly, because they themselves often attach too much importance to these Caucasian NW folk and their opinions, as they tend to over-value their Caucasian appearances and ethnicities, while not attaching equal or more importance to their own AASI-heavy ethnicity and to other non-Caucasian ethnicities in the subcontinent. This needs to change, and people need to embrace both their own identity, as well as the identity of other folks in the subcontinent with EQUAL enthusiasm. We need people to stop worshipping celebrities and creating cults of personality around rarified (in population terms) people like Raj Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan simply because they fit a Westernized ideal of beauty. Who says that Western beauty ideals are more legitimate than South Asian ones? Why can’t we define our own beauty ideals to accommodate our beautiful and diverse country? I see Bollywood embracing this concept more in the present day, with Padukone et al and Priyanka Chopra and others making a mark, but we have a long way to go. We can celebrate different ideals of beauty simultaneously, and in the process, value not just differing aesthetic ideals, but also different cultures, traditions, languages and social perceptions EQUALLY. The hegemony of the NW folks in ANY field must cease.
Another example of over-valuing what NWners think/do is visible in the sidelining of another significant minority in our country, NE Indians, who in absolute numbers are equal to or less than NW biradri groups, and just as alien in appearance as well. If you think about it, even NE Indians who look fully East or SE Asian in most cases often say these things online — in fact, I have seen many go as far as claiming that they have nothing to do with other South Asians whatsoever — not only do they claim to be “racially alien” to South Asia, they say they are not even culturally South Asian, are Christian (in some cases), and are more or less an “outpost” of our civilizational neighbors to the North and East, that is, China and SE Asia. I have also seen them criticize South Asians for their “Coal skin” and “Tribal features” whatever that means. Yet fellow South Asians are not quick to criticize them when they make these assertions, or if they do, it is in a give-and-take manner, where they respond in kind, for a number of reasons. Firstly, as is often the case (sadly) many South Asians outside of the NE themselves hold racist views against these NE folks (they are “Chinky” “Slit-eyed” “Dog and rat and insect eaters” “They are not even Indian, just a freakish minority”), and don’t even consider them “to be Indian”. Secondly, due to aesthetic preferences or other stupidly subjective reasons, many South Asians consider these NE Indians to be unpleasing and unattractive and a representative of the “Chinese” or “Chinky” threat from our more successful neighbors in Asia.
As a result, they laugh at these people’s comments in a “look who’s talking” sort of manner, and instead of addressing the very real marginalization of these folks in our society, and simply feel content to continue treating them as eternal outsiders who have simply lived within the Indian sphere of influence. Of course, this is simply not true, as many are STILL Hindu or Buddhist or Jain etc, and hold Indian names, follow Indian culture, speak Indian languages, wear Indian clothing, etc, and are really just as Indian as any Punjabi or Bihari. What this shows us is that despite the fact that NW biradris have about the same population of people (or even less) as NE Indians and despite the fact that NW biradris are about as AASI or even less (between 13-17% AASI) than NE Indians, people continue to take offense at, and be overly obsessed with NW Indians and their appearances and opinions, and continue to be ignorant and happily racist against NE Indians and their opinions. What is the right thing to do here? The right thing is to EMBRACE all South Asians, of all regions, with EQUAL importance and to give them the same respect that is for some weird reason, only afforded in any great amount to a paltry amount of NWners like yours truly.
We are NOT special AT ALL. We are just another group of people sharing this great landmass called INDIA, and ironically, have had little to no impact in making it the great country that it was/is/will be. We NWners have had this greatness thrust upon us without asking for it or being deserving of it in the first place. Where are the NE Indian Bollywood stars and politicians and change makers? Where are the NE role models? The fact is, the same South Asians that criticize NW for balking at their civilization heritage turn around and criticize NE Indians for even trying to lay claim to Indian culture and identity, which partly explains the push-back from NE Indians (“I am Christian” “I was never South Asian” “You’ll be racist to me, so will I be to you” etc) This indicates a VERY sad and pathetic Caucasian-worshipping mindset at play in South Asia that needs to be dealt with immediately. Perhaps you have been victim to this poisonous thought process without being conscious of it, and if so, I am sure you have rectified it over time. Who cares what NWners think? The ones that matter won’t say inane and stupid shit, and the ones that don’t matter can say whatever they want, no one cares. No different from what most South Asians would say about ignorant NE Indians and their racist groupthink. If a racist NE Indian claims to be lighter and different looking, and not be a “street-shitter”, other South Asians laugh in their face and agree with them, as if it weren’t a big deal because they don’t value NEners as much, and yet these same people immediately take offense when uncouth Caucasian NWners say the same thing, either with good or bad intentions in mind. Why give them so much importance? Why give their opinions so much weight? Don’t give NWners so much agency and power, they are not deserving of it. Follow Razib’s ideals in this vein, and treat them just like you would any other South Asian when it comes to respect and importance.
“It would be good to have the diversity honored. But not in a way to centralize the scapegoating to our more AASI peers but rather to assert “We are all S Asians. Yes there are racial and cultural differences between groups. But we have a common civilizational bond and identity. Stop shitting on my fellow people.”
Absolutely agreed. ALL South Asians of all races and colors and stripes need EQUAL representation and respect on the world stage. Diversity and Unity in Diversity is the only way India can ever succeed.
“I notice light skinned blacks come to the rescue of dark skinned more bantu featured african Americans when people say they “look like monkeys” and other absurdly racist comments. But I have seen WAY too often, the NW upper caste/agricultural tribe crowd assert diversity mostly for the sake of passing on the scapegoating to other groups.”
This is a VERY poor and incorrect analogy Doctor Saab, I expect more from you, but then I realize we all suffer from brain farts from time to time. I kind of understand the underlying idea you want to promulgate though, that we should all do our part to eradicate prejudice and hate. However, I first must rectify the analogy itself; comparing South Asians to Blacks or African Americans is very foolish and wrong, and also overall very malignant to our goals of being a global village for a multitude of reasons. I will highlight the most important ones here. Firstly, Blacks/African Americans are unique in their civilization and racial affinities — they have nothing to do with Asia or South Asians, either genetically or phenotypically (with the exception of a hyper-minority of Siddi folks brought over as slaves by Arabs to India during the Islamic period). Secondly, “Light skinned” and “Mixed” blacks are still considered “Black” due to the policy of Hypodescent and the non-Caucasian phenotype they possess, which is unique in the entire world, both the admixed Black phenotype and the policy itself, the likes of which has never existed anywhere in the world, (“the one-drop rule” etc.)
When “Black” people start looking like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s White son, or “White” racially, they can no longer be considered black despite possessing a minority of Black ancestry, and not only are considered White racially, but also identify as White as well. It would also be disingenuous and disrespectful for such folks to identify as “Black” when they look completely White. It would make a mockery of the Black identity to be honest, not to mention completely destroy the whole system/point of racial classifications, which have always been based on phenotype. Also, lets not forget the fact that almost all Arabs and Arabized North African people possess different degrees of Black ancestry (SSA ancestry) ranging from 5% to as much as 30% when we include people as varied as Saudis and Egyptians and Moroccans and Palestinians and others. Does this mean that all of these Arabs that obviously look distinct from SSA and fully Caucasian are Black? Absolutely not. Their phenotype has not been affected by their admixture, and as such, they are not Black, but Caucasian racially. NW folks in South Asia are just like MENA folk in this respect; they have a minority of AASI admixture, but they have a phenotype that is purely Caucasian and as such comparing them to light skinned Blacks is completely wrong and disingenuous, and akin to comparing a MENA person to a light-skinned Black even though he/she looks fully Caucasian and the mixed African American looks, well, not Caucasian.
A more appropriate analogy (due to its Asian admixture/context), though still somewhat inadequate, would be that of Bruce Lee, who despite being 1/4 Caucasian was fully Asian in his phenotype, (and there are Asians that look like him, that have played his role in re-enactments in movies/films) and identified as Asian/was considered fully Asian as well. In fact, Bruce served as the archetypal model for Asian masculinity and will always be considered an Asian male role model by East and SE Asians and Europeans and MENA folks. In South Asia, NWners are more than 80% Caucasian (so more Caucasian than Bruce Lee was Asian) and as such rightly identify themselves as Caucasian, not only because of their genetic heritage, but due to their phenotype and ancestral history as well. That is also how the entire world sees them. What we need to do is to teach the world that this Caucasian race is ALSO present in NW India, and as such, India has a great panoply of peoples from every racial group. The question of identity is not debatable on the racial front, we simply need people to understand that DESPITE being Caucasian like Kabir Bedi or Nikki Haley, NWners are STILL as Indian as Vijay Amritraj and Aziz, despite the fact that they belong to different races and speak different languages.
This brings me to my third point, which finally drives home the point of why African Americans cannot serve as a model in any sense to the South Asian community and why this hurts the notion that we are a part of the global village of Eurasians and Latin Americans. Africans all have a SSA component localized to Africa that is part of its own unique race called “Negroid”. South Asians, including Afghans and Pakistanis and NW Indians, and South and East Indians, Bangladeshis, Nepalis, etc. are all admixed with AASI, which despite being divergent in appearance from NE and East Asians, is STILL a fundamentally ASIAN genetic and racial construct, which means that it is racially an Asian component, nested within the larger group of Asians that includes NE and SE Asians. This is why AASI and AASI heavy folks cluster with Asians as well. Even indigenous Native Americans and South Americans are divergent in appearance from NE and SE asians, and separated from them a couple thousand years ago, and yet they are racially and genetically still a part of the larger ASIAN race and cluster with them on PCA plots. The point being, we share heritage with many people.
We all know that the peoples of Eurasia all lie along a cline from the Sardinians and Basques to the Finns, Sicilians, Caucasus folks, Anatolians, West Asians and NW South Asians, all along including (non-African admixed) Latin and Hispanic Americans at different points along the cline, before going on to Central Asians, East and SE Asians, and Native Americans. Northern Africans and Sub-Saharan Africans NEVER form a part of this axis of the Eurasian cline at any point, and this is reflected in not only their absence on one axis of the World cline, which is the Eurasian PCA/cline, but also in their divergent ancestral heritage/genetic components. Us South Asians are allied to East/SE Asian and West Asian folks in our ancestral heritage, with most of our heritage being shared with West Asian and European folks genetically, and a minority with East Eurasians. More people need to understand this fundamental fact, that South Asians are not some alien people with ancestry not found anywhere else in the world, but actually no different from other people found throughout Eurasia, in possessing different amounts of West and East Eurasian ancestry, in the form of IndusPe/Steppe and AASI ancestry respectively, which are correlated to Caucasian and Mongoloid ancestral components in the racial sense. We are not like Black people in any sense, whose native ancestry is only found among people of the “Negroid” race. We possess ancestral and genetic components that are a part of the larger West Eurasian/Caucasian and East Eurasian/Mongoloid race, and as such every bit as Eurasian as other people, including West and East Asians, that live in this large continent. This information should give other Eurasians (and Africans) pause when they try to vilify us as some pariah folks that have unique sources of ancestry not found anywhere, which is obviously not the case. On the contrary, it is Africans and African Americans that have this issue.
“Also, btw I refuse to agree with the point that even the most NW shifted tribes outside of say Nuristanis don’t have at least a non insignificant minority of darker and more tropical featured people. Also, 10-17% AASI is quite a low estimate and inconsistent with the Reich lab data. But that’s all a minor point. The bigger point is that NW Indians need to show more brotherhood with others, if they truly care about diversity to show strength of Indian civilization rather than diversity just a means of just narrowing the target on more AASI people.”
Even Nuristanis have “Brown” and darker featured folk among them — after all, lets not forget that the source of West Eurasian ancestry that all NW folks possess originally had a good minority of people with swarthy skin among them — including some people with Brown skin. And don’t think of the Nuristanis as some special folk, trust me, we have plenty of people in the NW that look IDENTICAL to them and we don’t look at them as some special folk. We don’t even care, even if they have Blonde hair or blue eyes, it’s just something taken for granted and no one treats them as special people, not even folks from other castes. Its no surprise then, than the NWners of today, who have preserved their race and heritage are also “Brown” skinned in certain cases. As far as “tropical features” go however, I am going to have to say that not only is that a nebulous and ill-defined term, but also an incorrect one. What you are perhaps trying to say is that a significant minority of folks in the NW have faces that are not as distinct from other South Asians as one would imagine. True, but this is the case even outside of NW India, for many people who live outside of South Asia without AASI admix can have such faces.
What you need to realize is that such “ethnic” faces are found all across West Asia as well, from people living in NW India, all the way to Anatolia, (and in rare cases even in the Balkans/Southern Europe) and that these faces are not the result of “AASI admixture” but the result of West Eurasian admixture and the folks that have these faces exist all across Eurasia, even without any appreciable AASI or East Eurasian admixture. You would mistake these “purer” Iraqi or Iranian or Turkish folks for being “tropical featured” as well, when in reality, they are just very ethnic looking West Asians that are still distinct from generic South Asians in subtle ways. I can give you two examples that illustrate this point beautifully; Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who is fully West Asian genetically, as is evidenced by her paternal and maternal ancestry being from illustrious Iraqi families (both sides look more traditionally “West Asian” than Zaha Hadid herself according to popular perception) is nevertheless very “tropical featured” as you would say, and might be confused for a South Asian by the undiscerning observer, when in reality, she is simply an ethnic featured, darker West Asian, and there are subtle differences that differentiate her from generic non-NW South Asians: https://d.newsweek.com/en/full/375964/zaha-hadid.jpg?w=1600&h=1600&q=88&f=153d324f2673fd806e000556a4be615a
Another example of a “Purer” West Asian Iranian Jew, who have literally 0% AASI admixture, looking traditionally “Tropical featured’ when in reality, it is simply a case of being “ethnic featured” and darker than average, is Sheila Nazarian and her daughter/family. Both husband and wife are Iranian Jews. Look at her older daughter here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxXZ1ECgzZ9/
The same older daughter is pictured here near the middle, as a part of a larger family picture that also includes several other “Tropical featured” folks who are simply just more ethnic looking in appearance, and yes all of them are fully Persian and Jewish: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4JNnfNgoQT/
Sheila Nazarian herself is quite ethnic and dark, and you might mistake her for South Asian if not looking carefully enough: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_yCM7mAwKW/
There are plenty of other examples where that came from. So what is the point of these examples? To illustrate the fact that ANYONE, not just fellow South Asians, but ANYONE from ANY corner of the globe, be it Europe or the Middle East, or East/SE Asian, or Latin America, CANNOT disparage any South Asian, even NW South Asians, for “looking Indian” or “dark featured” or for being “dark skinned” due to what they perceive to be “AASI admixture”, because such faces and skin colors and features exist in “PURE” West Asian populations living much further West of South Asia and NW India. These West Asian folks are not some “Special” “Beautiful” “Fair-skinned” people that all fit some aesthetic ideal. NO, they are human just like you and me, and they are part of the Eurasian continent and its diversity. This means that they have the same diversity of light and dark featured/ethnic or “tropical featured” folks that all Eurasian communities have. This is a fact that should be celebrated, because it makes us that much more immune to the racist caricatures and stereotypes of people for “looking/being different” — when West Asians and Eurasians themselves have such faces, how can they lampoon us for being different? They would simply be criticizing themselves.
As far as admixture goes, discussing it is really a moot point, because as the Bruce Lee example shows, beyond a certain threshold, people no longer identify as part of an admixed race or their minority genetic component like the hypo descent found among African Americans, but as part of the majority admixture and the race it represents. What we know for sure is that NW South Asians are more than 80% West Eurasian, the exact range of values is somewhere between 83 or 84% to 87% West Eurasian according to some estimates and K7 values, but who knows what the exact number or average is. We need more ancient DNA to arrive at a definite conclusion. Until then, we can only try to approximate a value without success. But at the end of the day, as Parag Khanna shows in the video below, we are far more than “Apu” — we are a part of the global village of Eurasians and their descendants worldwide, and as such, whether NW South Asians are 85% West Asian or 87% West Asian doesn’t matter, what matters is that they are not alone or pariahs in their membership to the wider world, genetically or socially, and that South Asians come in all flavors, from Caucasian to Asian and everything in-between, and as such the Hank Azarias of the world need to introspect and think before caricaturing all of us as some ridiculous character like Apu. Again, always remember, don’t take this the wrong way, even if NW South Asians were only 2 or 3% AASI, it wouldn’t matter, because the larger fact is that they would still be indelibly tied to the larger Indian civilization and identity and couldn’t escape this fact. People will still see them as Caucasian South Asians whether they were 5% AASI or 15% AASI, and that is the main point, to illustrate that we are not all interchangeable Lego parts that can be lampooned easily, that we must be treated with enough dignity to recognize and legitimize our unique identities, which cannot be reduced to a word like “Brown” or “Colored” or “Curry” or some ridiculous accent, etc. The story of South Asians is the story of Eurasia. Which in turn is the story of the global village, the Silk Road, etc. We are all different from each other and yet we are still Asian/Eurasian. We are intimately connected to the larger world.
“But again, to each their own. I still stand by my general point. And yes, I do understand the primary agency for those people who are targeted by racism, more AASI looking heavy people largely in US for anti-S Asian racism, falls upon the people targeted themselves. They need to stand up and love themselves. This still doesn’t change the fact that allies are always good, especially those with whom a natural civilizational bond already exists."
I agree. Not only do we need to encourage South Asians of all backgrounds to love themselves, we also need to teach non-South Asians about our mind-boggling diversity so that they realize that criticizing South Asians is no different from criticizing themselves or a large part of themselves, whether it is the AASI ancestry that connects us to all East and SE and Central Asians, or the West Eurasian ancestry that connects us to all MENA and European folks. I hope you understand this better now. Here is the Parag Khanna video I was referencing earlier: