Enduring Appeal

I’m eating my Judgmint today in memory of Notorious RBG. Thank you to the clever people at the Unemployed Philosophers Guild who dreamed these up just to help me feel better.

Thanks as well to Sunil Adam for calling my attention to American Kahani, an online platform for Indian Americans and South Asian Americans to express our views on different facets of American life. The web site says it features “Indian Americans Through the Looking Glass.” American Kahani turns that looking glass onto the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a few different ways: What Ruth Ginsburg’s Life and Work Mean to a Young Indian American Woman Like Me by Asha Shajahan. Excerpt:

Like Ruth, I’m a first generation American. Our families have the same ideals for quality education and hard work to succeed. Ruth was brought up at a time where “nice” girls didn’t speak up or make demands. Women were treated as weak and second class citizens. They were obliged to follow men. Unfortunately, this gender disparity is still present today, particularly in the Indian community. 

More:

Indian Americans Mourn Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death; Flood Social Media With Tributes

Preeta Bansal, former Solicitor General of the State of New York, went down memory lane in a Facebook post… “she helped me to find my voice as a woman lawyer, as an Indian American, and as a person of spirituality and faith not of the dominant tradition.” 

and finally, from Ishani Peddi, a high school senior from Georgia:

The Youth of America Must Rally to Uphold the Progressive Legacy of the Notorious RBG

With her signature dissents and trailblazing history, RBG has always been a voice for liberals, straying from oppressive norms, despite their popularity. This attitude has inspired young women to speak their minds, even as they continue to be silenced today. Despite the age gap between Ginsburg and her ever loyal teenage fans, her ideas and personality shall forever remain relevant for those that seek to bring change and fight against stereotypes.

We’re all desperate to make connections, to find some meaning in the bigger stories playing out around us. Eat your Judgmints, my people. Remember those who came before. And consider carefully what you plan to do with your vote.

Thumbu Sammy, 1911

The SAADA 2020 calendar began January with a striking image. It was taken by photographer Augustus Sherman in 1911, part of a series depicting new Ellis Island arrivals. We don’t know much at all about the boy in the picture. Titled “Hindoo boy”, the subject is identified in Peter Mesenhöller’s “Augustus F. Sherman: Ellis Island Portraits 1905-1920” (c1905) p.94 from another print that bears a caption: Thumbu Sammy, aged 17, Hindoo ex SS ‘Adriatic’, April 14, 1911. 

Who was this boy, I wonder? He’s well dressed. Look at the gold-trimmed cap, the diamond earring, and the shawl wrapped about his shoulders. What would have sent a 17-year-old around the world on the SS Adriatic in 1911? Here was what happened in 1911 in his native India:

I wonder, was it plague that drove the boy? Or was he part of a resistance to British rule so he had to leave? Or was his wealthy family interested in sending him to an American university? And what became of him? Where did he go from Ellis Island in 1911? Where did he live and die? Is there anyone today who counts him among their ancestors?

So many unknowns. And a photographer who caught a face, a posture, and those remarkable details of clothing and jewelry and hair.