when a national army threatens its people
The Wire published commentary by Partha Chatterjee, professor of anthropology & Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University, in which he addresses the question: When does a nation’s army start to believe that to preserve its authority, it must be feared by its own people? He writes: “The example of Israel that is often cited these days as the model from which India should learn is, in this context, particularly troubling. Israel is, properly speaking, a settler colony that regards Palestinians as a hostile and rebellious other that must be subdued and kept apart. Is that what India’s political leaders believe their relation must be to the people of Kashmir or Manipur or Nagaland? One can only hope that as a nation, we have not reached the edge of a slippery slope.”
racial politics and university admissions
The Guardian reported on challenges facing Brazilian higher education in improving enrollment rates of students in lower income categories and black, brown, and indigenous students. Brazil’s law of social quotas was passed in 2012 and was meant to be in full compliance by 2016. A major problem is rooted in the practice of aspiring students reporting their own racial category. Abuses have been reported with white-looking students gaining admission by claiming to be non-white. The article quotes Rogerio Reis, an anthropology professor: “We saw the most incredible situations unfold…People would shave their heads, wear beanies, get a tan. Just a series of strategies to turn themselves black.” [Blogger’s note: self-stated “racial” identity and “looks” are extremely questionable criteria for determining access to a coveted university slot. Though far from perfect, an income/poverty measure seems preferable depending on the information source].