LitDaily

Daily Notes on Literature, Pop Culture & Media, and Academia

Why Bhangra?

Posted by litdaily on November 16, 2010

Last week, whenever I turned on the television, I was flooded with media coverage on the Obamas doing Bhangra in India with an indiscriminate group of “brown” people.  The scene wasn’t as shocking as it would have been if any of our other presidents (let’s say, Bush) had been dancing to Bhangra simply because it’s easy to align Obama with Indian cultural awareness. After all, he did hire Kal Penn to be his “ambassador” and the only significant White House dinner to be aired on Real Housewives of D.C. centered around Indian subjects.  One particularly despised housewife proudly displayed the bright red Indian sari on national television.  In other words, the link between Obama and “Indian” has been visible since the beginning of his public presidential life in the United States.

This media coverage, however, of the couple dancing obscures significant global political issues that center on East-West and East-East relations.  It hides very real conflicts between India and Pakistan and makes light of United States’ role in their relationship.  It provides a humorous distance from the strategic alliances that the United States’ is trying to foster in a geopolitical climate that is on the verge of drastic change.  Robert Grenier focuses on this very issue in his article, “The U.S. is dancing to India’s Tune”…more>>

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