Racial differences in achievement are a persistent worry for the Left, which claims they are caused by racism. However, in many societies, minority groups do better than the majority, even when they face overt hostility. Lebanese merchants are more prosperous than indigenous West Africans, the Chinese dominate markets in Indonesia and Malaysia, and Ashkenazi Jews have been successful nearly everywhere they live. In some of these countries, affirmative action for the majority group and even angry, violent mobs have not held minorities back.
Even if we assume the United States is riddled with racism, it does not seem to be an obstacle to immigrants from India. They and their children have achieved high levels of success–and not just here but around the world. They often do better than white natives, and many Westerners now see them as a model minority, just like East Asians.
Indians are roughly 1 percent of the American population, but are about 3 percent of engineers, 7 percent of IT workers, and 8 percent of doctors and surgeons. Indians own many convenience stores, and they own over half of all American motels. Approximately 70 percent have at least a four-year degree–a figure that is 2.5 times the rate for the overall US population. Indians have a median household income that is nearly twice the white median, and their incarceration rates are lower. NFL players refuse to stand for the national anthem because they claim the “country oppresses . . . people of color.” Many Indians are just as dark, or even darker than Colin Kaepernick, but they seem to have escaped oppression.
Indians are often excluded from affirmative action. Asians are overrepresented at many colleges, despite many being rejected in favor of blacks and Hispanics. American politicians and courts have extended the “benefits” of reverse racism to South Asians, just as they have to whites.
Indians have been elected to high office in white constituencies. The first Indian in Congress was Dalip Singh Saund, elected in 1956 in a California district that was overwhelmingly white. He served three terms, and stepped down only because he had a stroke. He was a Punjabi Sikh who had lived in the United States for many years before becoming a citizen only after passage of the Luce-Cellar Act of 1946, which first gave Indians the right to naturalize. At that time there were only a few thousand Indians living in America.
More recently, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal was elected to Louisiana’s First Congressional District in 2004, was re-elected in 2006, and then served two terms as Governor. Nikki Haley is serving as governor of South Carolina after being re-elected by a wide margin for a second term in 2014. Both were even considered as possible Republican vice-presidential candidates. Neither could rely on black voters; they had to get whites to support them.
In Great Britain as well, Indians are, on average, wealthier than natives, which probably explains why they voted in large numbers against Brexit. Wealthier Indians were more likely to vote to remain, with working-class Indians voting to leave. By class, Indians voted much as native Britons did, but there simply weren’t enough working-class British Indians to offset the wealthier ones.
Indians are also successful in Canada, Fiji, Australia, South Africa, and in East Africa, and their success has caused resentment. In 1972, President Idi Amin expelled all Indians from Uganda. Elsewhere in East Africa, even open hostility from rulers has not greatly hindered them.
The one place where Indians don’t succeed is India. More than 250 million are now middle class, but the other one billion are poor. The per capita GDP measured at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), is only $6,088.60–the figure for the US is $55,836.80–and just a fraction of the incomes of Indians in the United States and Great Britain.
Free-market advocates argue that India’s bureaucratic state stifles the economy, but there is an important difference between Indians living in India and those living abroad. In limited testing, Indians in America have been found to have a mean IQ of 112–nearly the equivalent of Ashkenazi Jews–whereas Indians on the subcontinent have a mean of only 82.
In earlier times, the Left could plausibly blame black failure on white racism. There was segregation in the South, and few other racial minorities to prove or disprove the “racism” hypothesis. Now there are many other non-white groups in America, some of which do better than whites. The Left’s hypothesis has undergone a live experiment, and has been disproven.
Likewise, when the British conquered much of the world, Indians moved to such places as South Africa, Kenya, Fiji, and the Middle East, and they did much better than the natives. Clearly, it was the most driven, intelligent Indians who sought out these new opportunities, while the less intelligent stayed behind.
It is lack of ability, not “racism,” that explains failure in white societies.