Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The world changed for us in 1965

Two of my father's four close friends from his youth went on to earn their doctorates in chemistry.  And they both came to the US for their postdoc work.  One returned to India.  The other stayed back, and taught for nearly three decades at a research university here in the Pacific Northwest from 1969. 

Those two would have been among the first few from India who came to the US after 1965.  What happened in 1965?
Inspired by the Civil Rights revolution in American society, the 1965 Immigration Act explicitly abolished the discriminatory national origins quotas that had regulated entrance into the country since the 1920s. It explicitly prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence in the U.S. government’s decisions to issue immigrant visas. Instead, the law established a new system preference system based on professional status and family reunification.
Essentially, the US was now open to non-whites.

trump's person at the UN, nikki haley, too is a part of this post-1965 story:
Haley's parents moved to Canada after her father received a scholarship offer from the University of British Columbia. When her father received his PhD degree in 1969, he moved his family to South Carolina, where he accepted a position as a professor at historically black Voorhees College
Slowly, more and more people from India came in through those doors that were suddenly opened to us.  Initially it was a trickle.  And then it was a flow.  Soon, it was a deluge, too keep up with this metaphor.
In 1960, just 12,000 Indian immigrants lived in the United States, representing less than 0.5 percent of the 9.7 million overall immigrant population.
A mere 12,000 Indian immigrants in the pre-1965 era. Over the past two decades, the growth has been phenomenal, and now we are second only to the Chinese-Americans here:

We are America's Shithole Success Story:
Indian Americans are living proof that hailing from "shithole" countries is no barrier to success in America (and, conversely, hailing from lovelier places is no guarantee of avoiding failure). Immigrants who choose to come to America don't in any meaningful way resemble the stereotypes of their native lands. Indeed, countries become "shitholes" because they are led by assholes. But these presiding assholes are no measure of the "quality" of the people they are governing.
I hope that the US, led by its presiding asshole, does not go back to how the conditions were before 1965!

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