Listen: NPR + South Asians

Friday, October 29, 2010

I haven't actually listened to this myself - but it sounds like I should.

It’s an only-in-America scene: An Indian-American candidate shaking hands with Chinese-American voters in a cavernous gymnasium. In the background, an older Chinese couple, in full tux and gown, sways to Tom Jones.

And it’s happening in Wichita, Kansas.

Raj Goyle, who grew up there, now wants to be its Congressman. He says that when people asked him how many Indian-Americans live in his district, he told them it was 10. "They said 10 percent, not bad. I said no, 10 people!"

Wichita. Detroit. The Sacramento suburbs. These are not places you’d expect to be political launching pads for Indian Americans.

Ami Bera is a physician running for Congress from California’s 3rd district. He’s raised more money than his Republican opponent, which he said answered the viability question. "And certainly that got the press interested in this race."

There only been a handful of Indian-Americans elected to congress. The first was Dalip Singh Saund, back in 1956. Then, for almost 50 years, there was no one else until …Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, who was elected congressman, and then governor.