neera blog on aruna

A Minnesota Twins player wears an ‘End Racism’ shirt at Kauffman Stadium on June 3, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (representational image/Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

(In the wake of the controversial comments made during a speech at Yale by Indian American psychiatrist Dr. Aruna Khilanani – see India-West article here: https://bit.ly/356YqnS – this piece is addressed directly to her.)

Dear Dr. Aruna Khilanani,

Last month helped us celebrate the legacy and culture of Asian Americans. Indian Americans’ achievements and enriching contribution to America were integral to that celebration. We heard, read, saw and applauded incredible accomplishments of Indians of all ages, gender, and calling in this not-mythical-but-actual land of opportunity.

Sadly, nothing good lasts forever. So here we are, exposed to the harsh unbelievable reality that Indians, including this young woman, are capable of viciously destroying our legacy and shaming all of us as one.

On April 6, speaking at the Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center, you publicly and proudly claimed having “fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step…like I did the world a f***g favor.”

In that single sentence you demolished what your culture stands for along with your right to belong to it. You are banished from our ethnicity and cancelled out as an Asian American. Though inspired by the romance of cruelty associated with WOKE-ness you, alas, are blind to the lustrous light of humanity.

Your words make us shiver not with fear but with disgust, seeing how out of touch you are with India’s ethical tradition which calls for restraint, responsible, courteous and principled conduct, and opposes violence towards human, animal, even plant life.

That you are gutless, vile and un-Indian despite carrying an Indian name speaks poorly of you but not of your parental lineage. To attribute to them complicity in making you the vile person you are would make me guilty of the very same offense you commit when you paint all Whites as one. As a parent I can relate to their shock and share their hurt over your vicious racist ranting bordering on mental derangement. I also pity them for having you as their representative on earth, let alone in America.

We Americans – each of us – are encouraged to wear our ethnicity as a badge of honor, but we do not assume it comes with the right to deride and least of all to threaten other ethnicities. You rant about how “White people are out of their minds and they have been for a long time.” You pontificate that “We are now in a psychological predicament, because white people feel that we are bullying them when we bring up race.” You implicate Whites with arrogance and condescension, claiming “they feel that we should be thanking them for all that they have done for us.”

You indulge in outrageous conclusions when you assert that “We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility.” And you are way beyond your pay grade when you pompously conclude, “It ain’t gonna happen. They have five holes in their brain.”

That you are so poorly equipped in the compassion that goes with psychoanalysis and yet made it to the fraternity of psychologists is a wonder and in itself unjust. That Yale invited you is even more puzzling and shameful.

Your words are garbage and your effort to gain your few minutes of fame on social media a cheap mode to climb the social ladder not with brains or intellect but with sheer vileness.

Even if Whites are overly confident and occasionally arrogant in feeling they own the world, you are no less arrogant along with your BLM and WOKE peers in claiming you are somehow owed a sense of ownership of America’s past, present and future.

Whites – arguably some of them – may lack humility or signal some kind of superiority, but so do you and all those who claim victimhood. But unlike you, they are not demented or predatory or dreaming of killing someone because of the color of their skin.

I am no elected or appointed leader of your and my ethnicity but merely a member who has the misfortune to share a common identity and heritage with you. But I have the courage to call you out and to expel you from our sorority of Indian women.

(The author is an Indian American published author and opinion writer.)

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