Tidbit: What South Asians Should (Not) Do With Their Print Space

Another group is stumbling into the American philanthropic scene. Young South Asians living in the U.S. (Pakistanis, Indians, and Bangladeshis are the majority). Some moved to America after college, and others (like me) were raised here. They are coming into significant personal wealth.

I recently brokered a discussion of six prospective donors. Their concern was: “What is the best way for South Asians to be philanthropic in America?” The half-dozen entrepreneurs I spoke with with have committed their personal resources — a collective sum of $2 million (modest relative to most charities), and they hope to raise more from others. But they need some help to meet their objectives. Allow me to explain. And as always, please chime in with comments.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR- RRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH.
What was the point of growing up in this godforsaken country if this is the 'community' I'm asked to be a part of? You want to know what to do with your money? Give it to me.

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Comments

my sentiment exactly. these

my sentiment exactly. these people are so politically unschooled that they cannot enumerate even two or three projects to finance (disclaimer: i did not read the original NYT posting, only what was posted onto PTR). perhaps they think that both the US and South Asia have absolutely no social problems and hence its difficult to spend their money. how about: poverty? malnutrition? violence against women? the denial of the franchise to the disempowered in the guise of 'voter fraud' and other inane legalisms? the legal battle against proposition 8 in california? funding the southern poverty law center? etc., etc.

but more interestingly, the question '[w]hat is the best way for South Asians to be philanthropic in America?' betrays a childishness that is characteristic of those that defend the 'humanitarian' projects of certain NGOs. it reveals a politics that is unable to deal with elementary social and political questions. the view of many such 'philanthropists' is that socio-political problems are strictly technical in nature. that is, the solution to such problems are not of a political character.

let me illustrate this point with an example. first, a problem is identified, say, rural poverty in india. after a momentary debate, the 'cause' is declared to be that small farmers do not have enough information about such things as the price of their crops. the solution is declared to be that a campaign is needed to provide small farmers with mobile phones. mobile phones are the solution to rural poverty. the defenders of this view don't stop to consider that rural poverty is a bit more complex of an issue.

there are many more examples. the basic issue with such a position is that socio-economic problems have a technical solution akin to a question from the engineering sciences.

but even worse, such a mindset in some cases refuses or fails to understand the political content of their 'humanitarian' work. it's this point that drives me up a wall.

amen to that. what kills me

amen to that.

what kills me are the ones who do latch on to the philanthropic cause du jour and have no notion of the difference between philanthropy and organizing/ replicating systems of oppression.

Well phrased, Sitara

Well phrased, Sitara

what kills me are the ones

what kills me are the ones who do latch on to the philanthropic cause du jour and have no notion of the difference between philanthropy and organizing/ replicating systems of oppression.

Yup. I think this is why we, collectively, need to always say that this is the difference between having a politics and not, and that social position contributes to that. Otherwise, we'll be just another vacant stare :)

so right on the money!

so right on the money!

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