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Jun 02 2014

When did New York and Texas secede?

Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe were the co-champions of the 2014 spelling bee. They have unusual names, and their skin is brown, so many good patriotic Americans questioned the legitimacy of those furriners takin’ over our spellin’ bee .

Sriram and Ansun are from Painted Post, New York, and Fort Worth, Texas. I think the comment that made it clearest was the one disappointed that all the ‘caucasians’ had been eliminated — everyone knows the only Americans that count are white.

42 comments

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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    What do you call it when you /facepalm so hard you give yourself a bloody nose?

  2. 2
    chigau (違う)

    Wait until Mano hears about this.

  3. 3
    richardelguru

    see http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=12700 for a linguisty view of this

  4. 4
    thelastholdout

    I used to live in Painted Post. Lovely town. A bit on the economic downturn since most of its population was employed by Corning, Inc., which itself has shuttered most of its US factories. I bet that the local newspaper, the Corning Leader, has that kid on the front page, and it won’t say “brown kid wins spelling bee,” it’ll say “Local Boy Wins National Spelling Bee”.

  5. 5
    Bronze Dog

    Even though I keep reading stuff like this, some part of me just remains incredulous that people aren’t aware that America is a diverse country. I just can’t imagine how they avoid wake-up calls.

  6. 6
    thelastholdout

    Just as I thought, The Leader did a nice article on the outcome of the contest:

    http://www.the-leader.com/article/20140530/NEWS/140539990/0/SEARCH

    Hathwar, 14, an eighth-grader at Corning’s Alternative School for Math and Science, is the son of Jagadeesh and Roopa Hathwar, both Corning physicians. He was sponsored by the Corning Rotary Club.

    I looked up Jagadeesh, and sure enough, he works at Guthrie. His wife Roopa works at Arnot. I had surgery to remove melanoma at Guthrie when I was 14. My original appointment was scheduled for September 12, 2001, on my birthday. Yes, you read that date right. I was told that my appointment was cancelled because in the wake of the WTC attacks, the ENTIRE CLINIC packed up and rushed to New York City to help care for the victims. Now, I don’t know if Mr. Hathwar worked at Guthrie all the way back then, but I’m pretty sure that if he did he would have gladly accompanied his coworkers to help as well.

    Meanwhile, Internet racists can think of nothing better to do than to question whether a child in a country born almost entirely out of immigration from foreign soil should be allowed to win a spelling bee.

  7. 7
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Last Week Tonight recapped the Spelling Bee, and highlighted some a.s.s.h.o.l.e. on “Fox and Friends” [surprised?] asking the co-winners when they were going to get “mano a mano” to determine who the “real winner” is. The reply, from the co-winners, was, “We’re just happy to share this prize…”
    Oliver’s response to the a-hole, was a simple, “What the h#ll is wrong with you to ask such a question!?!” And then he asked for help to spell the word describing that Fox person, who asked that question; and started the collage of contestants saying each single letter of the “a word” I punctuated above.

  8. 8
    jstackpo

    Actually… Texas seceded about 153 years ago.

    But it didn’t take.

  9. 9
    frog

    Bronze Dog@5: Speaking as someone who spent the first 40 years of their life in NYC, I still get startled when I travel in middle America and see just how freaking white it is. Yes, there are some nonwhites, but usually they’re the local enclave of African Americans stuck in the segregated neighborhood they’ve been permitted for 150 years. Maybe there’s a local enclave of immigrants from one general region.

    But the variety is often missing. It’s not that there aren’t people of many colors and countries of origin in the US, but the concentrations are uneven and lack local variation.

  10. 10
    twas brillig (stevem)

    What do you call it when you /facepalm so hard you give yourself a bloody nose?

    I’m sure that if you ask Sriram Hathwar or Ansun Sujoe, either could fully spell the word for you :D

    I think the comment that made it clearest was the one disappointed that all the ‘caucasians’ had been eliminated

    “eliminated” because they were caucasian? or eliminated for misspelling a word when asked? [I just assume the latter ;-| ] But I am also reminded of a event [maybe a fabricated memory] that there was a similar Math-bee for middle schoolers and there was muttering that all the Asian students be disqualified because the Asians are naturally better at Math than all the ‘natural-born citizen’ kids ( all the Asians being 2nd-3rd. generation immigrants). Nothing came of the muttering, it was just muttered, … I really don’t know if this was an actual event or just a fabrication that my memory just produced… It just seems like an appropriate example of more back-handed racism. That is, not calling Asians ‘cheaters’, nor ‘too awful to compete’, but ‘too good at it, to be fair to their classmates’, who find Math really hard (like all the adults do, “who needs math anyway” they’d say).

  11. 11
    tashaturner

    Maybe if the Texan had a long gun strapped on he would have looked more like a Texas citizen? /sarcasm

    I’m ashamed of my fellow Americans. The kids seem to have handled themselves well all things considered.

  12. 12
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Why can’t all them furriners assem– asi- as- fit in and larn to spel like real Merikuns?

  13. 13
    dianne

    I’ve got nothing on the New Yorker, but as an ex-Dallasite I will say that I’ve always found Fort Worth a little suspicious. They’ve got art museums and other suspicious culture type things there. Probably really are all a bunch of foreigners, communists, or both.

  14. 14
    dianne

    @8: Actually… Texas seceded about 153 years ago.

    But it didn’t take.

    Texas seceded twice. The first time was in 1836 and it did take. They just didn’t know how to stop when they were ahead.

    Oh, and the 1836 secession was over the same issue as the 1861 one. If you ever wonder how the history books of the CSA would read, just go to the Alamo: It’s all about “freedom”, you see. No mention at all that the “freedom” they were seeking was to own other people. Nope. Not at all.

  15. 15
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    A lot of Americans don’t think New York is really American (they acted as though they did for a few months though after the 9/11 attacks, but it didn’t last). Though that usually applies to New York City and surroundings, not the whole state.

  16. 16
    davidgentile

    As races go, Indians are white people with heavy tans – just like North Africans, Arabs, Persians, Afghans and Pakistani.

  17. 17
    unclefrogy

    some times I am astounded at the obstinate narrow minded ignorance that passes for “patriotic outrage” that is so often displayed by people
    then I remember that line from “working class hero”-
    “But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see ”
    and I then can go back to not expecting much more hopping I can just keep living and paying the bills without getting into too much trouble

    uncle frogy

  18. 18
    ck

    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy wrote:

    (they acted as though they did for a few months though after the 9/11 attacks, but it didn’t last).

    Barely. There seemed to be a lot that were envious that it didn’t happen closer to their home (you know, Real America, not that latte-sipping, ivory tower, liberal haven of hippies called New York), and a great deal of annoyance that New York would be chosen as an icon of America that the terrorists decided to attack.

  19. 19
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    davidgentile:

    As races go, Indians are white people with heavy tans – just like North Africans, Arabs, Persians, Afghans and Pakistani.

    …can you elaborate more on what you mean here?

  20. 20
    fabianocaccin

    @ #17 unclefrogy

    hopping I can just keep living

    Well, Your name is Uncle Frogy…

  21. 21
    davidgentile

    @Tony, just that if a white person hates on those people for being dark and other, they’re being illogical and hypocritical, as opposed to just haters.

  22. 22
    Enopoletus Harding

    Blech. This racism makes me literally sick in the stomach. Seriously. I felt quivers in my upper stomach while reading the Storify link.
    To those third-or-more generation immigrant American racists whining about these two Indian Americans winning the National Spelling Bee:
    If you don’t like this outcome, then help some White kid win the National Spelling Bee. Can’t you do that? I mean, you do support personal responsibility, right? A bit? Or am I expecting a bit too much out of you? You’re not going to support affirmative action in place of merit-based results for the majority, right? And consider yourselves privileged that the Indian underclass is underrepresented among the current generation of Indian Americans. You wouldn’t like them, either.

    I’m pretty certain there would be far less backlash against the Spelling Bee winners if their parents were born in Canada, Denmark, or France. Also, racially, Indians are mostly “Caucasian”:
    http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.0020215

  23. 23
    HolyPinkUnicorn

    New York obviously did secede, remember? We had that “Arab” Nina Davuluri from the al-Qaeda-controlled province of Syracuse, New York, win Miss America last year.

    The dipshit racist reactions we come up with in response to things as otherwise inconsequential as a beauty contest or spelling bee are starting to sound too stupid for even The Onion.

  24. 24
    madscientist

    A lot of people don’t seem to realize that all the original people of America and their descendants are all brown as well – the Mayans, Pima, Yuma, Havasupai, Navajo, Apache, Comanche – the list goes on and on.

    You’d think at least New Yorkers would be used to the idea that there’s no single ‘American’ look.

    At any rate, general and functional illiteracy rates in the country are still so high I frequently wonder if India has a better english literacy rate.

  25. 25
    rgmani

    As someone who was born and raised in India but living in the US for over twenty years, I had some interesting reactions to this. I am not particularly fond of spelling bees. Even though they involve more than just simple memorization, I’d consider them one of the dumber things that we subject our kids to. I’ve never watched more than a couple of minutes of the National Spelling Bee on TV – and that happened only because one of my kids was watching it. Still, just before the competition started, I caught myself hoping that an Indian kid would win the bee again. The thought just popped into my head and then I spent a couple of hours wondering why on earth I had wished that. It isn’t as if I know any of these kids – I have no connection to them other than the fact that their parents and I grew up in the same country. I’m not a particularly nationalistic person and anyway, regardless of what citizenship their parents hold, these kids are almost certainly citizens of the US – not India. Anyway, now that I think about it rationally, it really does not matter who wins this silly competition and I have absolutely no clue as to where that almost subconscious thought came from. However, the very fact that I should have such thoughts at all is a little disturbing.

    – RM

  26. 26
    Ichthyic

    #17 unclefrogy

    hopping I can just keep living

    Well, Your name is Uncle Frogy…

    Hop to live, baby!

    ..hop to live.

  27. 27
    Ichthyic

    A lot of Americans don’t think New York is really American (they acted as though they did for a few months though after the 9/11 attacks, but it didn’t last). Though that usually applies to New York City and surroundings, not the whole state.

    This stuff’s made in NEW YORK CITY!!??!!

  28. 28
    Ichthyic

    My original appointment was scheduled for September 12, 2001, on my birthday.

    you had a medical appointment, on your birthday, the day after the 9/11 attacks.

    worst bday ever?

  29. 29
    thelastholdout

    It was pretty sober, yeah. I mean, didn’t really care about the appointment, but when 9/11 happened, it was pretty shocking.

  30. 30
    Enopoletus Harding

    @madscientist #24

    At any rate, general and functional illiteracy rates in the country are still so high I frequently wonder if India has a better english literacy rate.

    -It can’t. It has a lower literacy rate (in all that country’s languages) than the United States. It is a third-world country that had the same GDP per capita (Purchasing Power Parity-adjusted) as Rwanda a little over two decades ago. India’s under-funded and corrupt education system should never be over-estimated.
    http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/12/why-is-india-so-low-in-the-pisa-rankings.html

  31. 31
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    rgmani:

    However, the very fact that I should have such thoughts at all is a little disturbing.

    I can understand that. We all have biases, some stronger than others. The fact that you turned a critical eye toward your belief and realized there was no logical reason to hold it is, to me, a good thing.

  32. 32
    weatherwax

    #14 Dianne: “Texas seceded twice. The first time was in 1836 and it did take. They just didn’t know how to stop when they were ahead.

    Oh, and the 1836 secession was over the same issue as the 1861 one. If you ever wonder how the history books of the CSA would read, just go to the Alamo: It’s all about “freedom”, you see. No mention at all that the “freedom” they were seeking was to own other people. Nope. Not at all.”

    Actually, there were other issues at the time. Most of the immigrants happily took loyalty oaths to Mexico that they never intended to honor. But the real triggering issue, believe it or not, was that Mexico required all firearms to be registered, and the US immigrants felt this was an unacceptable infringement of their rights.

    Sound familiar.

  33. 33
    randay

    “everyone knows the only Americans that count are white.”

    I don’t think so. International tests on mathematics show that they don’t count very either.

  34. 34
    kalil

    #31 weatherwax:
    Slavery was the primary issue, the one which moved them to violence Anahuac Disturbances. In the Turtle Bay Resolutions that laid the grounds for seccession, right to bear arms was not mentioned. In Republic of Texas constitution, they do give a sentence to the right to bear arms (in a much clearer manner than the US’s second ammendment, seperating out the right to bear arms from the well regulated militia section), but they give a full paragraph to slavery:
    “All persons of color who were slaves for life previous to their emigration to Texas, and who are now held in bondage, shall remain in the like state of servitude: Provided, The said slave shall be the bona-fide property of the person so holding said slave as aforesaid. Congress shall pass no laws to prohibit emigrants from bringing their slaves into the republic with them, and holding them by the same tenure by which such slaves were held in the United States; nor shall congress have power to emancipate slaves; nor shall any slaveholder be allowed to emancipate his or her slave or slaves without the consent of congress, unless he or she shall send his or her slave or slaves without the limits of the republic. No free person of African descent, either in whole or in part, shall be permitted to reside permanently in the republic without the consent of congress; and the importation or admission of Africans or negroes into this republic, excepting from the United States of America, is forever prohibited, and declared to be piracy.”

    I can find no source for your claim that Mexico was requiring registration of firearms, and there’s nothing in the constitution or the proceedings of their constitutional convention that mentions such. So no – I don’t believe that.

  35. 35
    =8)-DX

    What is odd is the way from a European standpoint, just spending 5 years in the US seems to Americanify about everyone. I know a number of Europeans who turned very much American in relatively short time – accent, habits, food preferences, etc.

    If you’ve spent most of your life in the US, you’re probably American, full stop.

  36. 36
    Enopoletus Harding

    @randray #33

    International tests on mathematics show that they don’t count very either.

    -Our educational system may be slightly worse than, say, Germany’s or Estonia’s, but I’ve seen no evidence that White Americans score lower on “international mathematics tests” than most of the White inhabitants of the E.U. or are even far behind most of the White inhabitants of Western Europe. So, I say, [citation needed] for your claim.

  37. 37
    rgmani

    @36

    PISA test rankings given below. In Math, we are 36th – behind pretty much every Western European country.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programme_for_International_Student_Assessment

    Nothing specific about white Americans in there, though.

    – RM

  38. 38
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    “everyone knows the only Americans that count are white.”

    I don’t think so. International tests on mathematics show that they don’t count very either

    Nor do they english lots good.

    ;)

  39. 39
    howardhershey

    Same sort of racist commentary (why didn’t they give it to a ‘real American’) happened when Nina Davuluri (an Indian American) won the Miss America 2014. Not only that, but her talent was Bollywood/traditional Indian Dance, not baton twirling. She is a U. of Michigan grad in Brain, Behavior & Cognitive Science and planned on going to Med School.

  40. 40
    dianne

    @weatherwax, 32 Actually, there were other issues at the time.

    I’m sure there were. There were other issues that led to the southern states seceding prior to the Civil War as well. But that doesn’t mean that slavery wasn’t what made the wealthy anglos in east Texas decide that they wanted to secede and use racism to convince the poorer anglos to fight for them.

  41. 41
    dianne

    there was muttering that all the Asian students be disqualified because the Asians are naturally better at Math than all the ‘natural-born citizen’ kids

    Hang on a minute…The usual racist rationalization for spending more money on schools in primarily white areas is that Anglo whites are “naturally” smarter/better at math and science/etc than Hispanics and African-Americans* and therefore it makes sense to spend more money training them instead of “wasting” it on the “less naturally able”. So, wouldn’t that also imply that it’s a waste of time and money to try to train whites when Asians are so naturally better? You’d think they’d be admitting their inferiority and calling for making sure that all Asians get good educations…if they followed their own logic through. But, nope. Again, it’s all about making sure that whites get the most money, using any justification available.

    *Yeah, I know, but that’s their claim and all the Neil Tysons in the world won’t change their minds.

  42. 42
    Enopoletus Harding

    Here are the PISA results by race/ethnicity for the U.S. :
    http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/pisa2012/pisa2012highlights_4e_1.asp
    The PISA results by race/ethnicity for other countries must exist somewhere.

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