An American Tapestry

[The following article was published as a Community Voices op-ed in the Bakersfield Californian on June 16, 2021]

Life, beyond sustainability, is a continuous quest seeking purpose, enlightenment, meaning and salvation.

Contradictions abound.

Rushing to judge others while being blissfully unaware of personal responsibility is not an uncommon occurrence.

It can be a chore to practice equitability in human affairs.

Prejudice is universal among humans. Extirpate it we can’t. Manage it we must.

Only blindness can make us colorblind.

This world is not a monochromatic experiment. It’s a chaos of colors. Colors that lend diversity and festivity. Colors that divide and bridge. Prejudice is an ultimate versatile emotion, a true chameleon. It piggybacks on color, culture, nationalism, reason, region, religion and God forbid, politics.

What distinguishes the United States of America is its virtues, which far outweigh its flaws. The pursuit continues but progress is everywhere to see. It’s the most benevolent empire the world has witnessed in human history. Amplified shrillness in the voices of fragile and wilting seem to be in a rush to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

There is a reason America has a strong pull for the driven across the world. Traditionally, it has taken the world’s finest and encouraged them to express their best in the bounty of freedom. In the process, the U.S. has thrived and made the world a better place.

Growing up in India, I was exposed to many of the same prejudices. We all realize life is nuanced and complicated. The U.S. is the crucible that nurtures the upward trajectory of humanity as it struggles to accommodate conflicting data points that seek disparate resolutions. Linear deductions can be questioned, but the essence remains unchallenged.

Closer to home, Central Cardiology in Bakersfield was founded by Americans of Sri Lankan and Japanese descent. It was soon joined by Dr. Peter Nalos, whose dad was a renowned engineer at Boeing. Dr. Bill Nyitray of East European descent joined in 1988. A year later. Dr. Peter Fung of Chinese descent joined the group. I was fortunate to join the group in 1992 and have been forever grateful.

Our group has since expanded a lot and is now a microcosm of the community and country we serve. It’s an uncommon privilege to have some of the world’s best work in harmony to achieve the goal of a healthy Kern County.

Physician scarcity is becoming a significant bottleneck in sufficiency of healthcare delivery. In the U.S., there are roughly 30,000 seats in medical schools. Simple math suggests less than one in a thousand high school graduates opts for medical school. More on that some other day.

Base prejudices do occupy the minds of a few deviants.

People across nations and ethnicities, who have embraced notion Americana, tend not to bring ideologies of places they are escaping. They emigrate to America to assimilate and become American. The people of Chinese descent in the U.S. played no part in the Wuhan Lab Leak theory. Their adoption of the USA is a declaration of their fidelity to the chosen land.

The shame belongs to Xi.

To cast slurs on east Asians based on superficial appearances is guilt by association, a manifest folly.

To shoot Sikhs at religious places is illiteracy and bigotry, a manifest folly.

To equate U.S. and Talibans by congresswoman, on the other hand, is a considered and manifest mischief. A refugee who was welcomed by the land of opportunity is busy poking in the eye of the host. As she simultaneously doubles down on antisemitism. Serial offenders should have serious consequences.

Color of skin should be no sin. Born white can’t be a crime. To relitigate the past through the prism of present is retributive and regressive.

Some four decades ago when I went to medical school, chapters on the utility of leeches in therapeutics were long deleted. I am in no position to cast aspersions on the practice of medicine in the 18th century. There is an evolution in human affairs. The focus has to be on creating an equitable present and better tomorrow.

To call a spade a spade should not be a contrived grievances-driven charade.

It will ill behoove me to insult the generosity of a country that accepted me as a citizen, allowed me to thrive and threw no systemic racism at me.

American tapestry is a work of art. It’s pockmarked. It’s uplifting. It’s liberating. It’s a work in progress. A weave runs through it.

Lets do our bit to make it a masterpiece.

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