from Philosophy & College Life:
Said Jessex: ‘One last thing, Rum. When I read Arun’hati Roy’s God of Small Things, the chase after the working-class boy who got caught in bed with a middle-class housewife reminded me in a way of the chases in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Was that on purpose?’.
Ramesh answered: ‘Of course it was. Caste-system, slave-state, caste-prejudice, race-prejudice;–– all the same’.
Joshua added: ‘I dunno; it reminded me more of Joseph in Egypt, with the middle-class wife as Mut-em-emet (Zuleikha) and the working boy as Osarsiph’.
Said Jessex: ‘So, could we say all slave-owning nations have the same untrue fear of slaves making up to free women?’.
Said Rachel: ‘I don’t see how not. The Arabian Nights’ frame-story begins with that fear, and in the Nights themselves you have the story of the Young King of the Black Isles, with the same sort of background. Then again, kings and emperors from Turkey to Indonesia always had eunuchs or amazons to guard the harem, and so on, so forth’.
Jessex asked: ‘But Rum, is it still that way?’.
Ramesh answered: ‘Sometimes. On the other hand, here I am. Why d’you think my whole family were exchange-students in the U.S.? Because we’re all of high caste and there are too many high-caste applicants to the best universities in India, so they had to send us abroad to make room for the up-and-coming from lower castes’.
Said Jessex: ‘So, affirmative action really does displace the former elites? Are the supremacists over here right, after all?’.
Ramesh answered: ‘Of course they were. But listen, Jess! If affirmative action works over here, and there come to be too many Anglo-American applicants to all the best colleges, so they have to send you abroad to make room for Afro-Americans and Latin-Americans and Asian-Americans like yours truly, where d’you think you’ll go?’.
Said Jessex: ‘Europe, I guess? Or Australia?’.
Ramesh answered: ‘And that’ll be good for Europe and Australia, when it happens’.