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How to Recognize ‘Massey Sahibs’ in USA: Dec 17, 2017

December 17, 2017 6 comments

About three years ago, I wrote a couple of posts (link 1, link 2) about a category of people of Indian descent who I refer to as “Massey Sahibs”. In case you have not come across particular term before- it is the name of the central character in an Indian film of the same name, who while displaying considerable intelligence and competentence, also shows a systemic inferiority complex vis-a-vis white people and is comically subservient to them. The white people in that movie, British colonial officers to be exact , use his eagerness to please them to perform illegal activities on their behalf and make him the fall guy once the scheme is uncovered. However Massey, till the very end, exhibits a child-like belief in ability of his white supervisors (and white people in general) to save him from judicial prosecution.

In other words, a ‘Massey Sahib’ is a well-educated, upwardly mobile person of Indian descent who will go to ridiculous and often comical extents to attempt ingratiating themselves to colleagues and supervisors who are white. They will go to ridiculous attempts to play down their ancestry, even when their looks won’t allow them. These include constant attempts to deflect any conversations which might even obliquely reaffirm their non-white ancestry. One of the more comic examples of this behavioral quirk can be seen in Piyush ‘Bobby’ Jindal (middle mug in the graphic) who tries to deflect every conversation about his early life to one about his conversion to some form of evangelical Christianity. He even went so far as to have his official governor’s portrait done to make him look almost ‘white’.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that somebody like him should fixate on his ethnicity at every available opportunity- but attempts to deflect attention from it in an ineffectual manner serve the opposite purpose. A more polished attempt to deflect attention from his ancestry can be seen in the case of Satya Nadella (right mug in the graphic). His brand of distractions, in contrast to Piyush Jindal’s, are based in attempts to validate his possession of secular markers of ‘whiteness’. If you have seen any interviews with him, he never misses an opportunity to talk about his thoughts on the works of semi-famous white writers and philosophers. He also goes to great lengths to put forth the tone, mannerisms and body language of an extra-liberal white CEO with just enough exoticness to make him a valuable marker of multiculturalism.

And this brings us to the most ridiculous one of the three shown in the graphic… aka Ajit Pai (left mug in graphic). His shtick, in contrast to the other two examples, is just simple and plain corporate prostitution. He does not even bother to address the issue of ethnicity and simply advertises himself as a corporate crack-whore who will suck any cock for the right amount of compensation (immediate or delayed). Some of you might say that his behavior sounds like another white guy in his position- and that is partially correct. So let us talk about whether his ethnicity had anything to do with his career trajectory. Do you think that his being non-white had nothing to do with rise in public positions, both at the telecom oligopolies he worked and his appointment and rise at the FCC? Face it, a republican non-white guy who is willing to be enthusiastic public face of corporate fuckery is an asset.

In that respect, he is just a miniature and shoddy version of Obama- another obviously non-white guy who was willing to take the blame for perpetuating corporate fuckery in exchange for money after retiring from that post. The neoliberal gimmick of appointing a few obviously non-white people into positions of some power is that criticism of them will inevitably result in disingenuous counter-accusations of racism. So what makes the three people I have talked about in this post “Massey Sahibs” as opposed to generic “Corporate Climbers” or “Careerists”? What are the differences between those categories? Well.. it comes down to motivations and behavior in non-work related situations. The generic corporate climber or careerist is into brown-nosing and prostituting himself/herself for future money and power. They are not doing it to be “let into” a group outside of work. Nor are they positioning themselves to be the fall guy if things go bad.

Contrast that to the behavior patterns of people like Ajit Pai, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal and Satya Nadella. These people are willing to debase themselves far more and take on significantly more personal loss than the generic careerist. But why would they do that? Well.. as I previously mentioned, their non-work related behavior clearly shows that they have a significant inferiority complex and desire to be accepted as at least second-class whites. To this end, they are willing to take on far more personal degradation and risk for the benefit of already well-off whites who they believe will recognize their sacrifice and reward them later. Their white supervisors are quite OK with dropping a few breadcrumbs and tantalizing hopes of acceptance into their group as long as they keep doing the dirty work for them. Of course, these “Massey Sahibs” are left to their own devices after they have no further utility or become a liability- and this is what makes people in that category so more pathetic than generic careerists, who have a far stronger sense of self-preservation.

What do you think? Comments?