9.3 Modern Indian languages are not scholarly9.4 Obsession with negative interpretations of Hindu heritage
10.0 Concluding Remarks: ‘Yes, I am Pompous
We all generalize about people, about groups, about ideologies and so on in our lives. But whenthis generalization is judgmental, when it is not based on the complete set of evidence availableto us and when we are unwilling to consider new or contrary data to revise our judgment, thisgeneralization becomes a stereotype
. A stereotype is a highly exaggerated negative view of thereality. It is especially resorted to by people who are quick to condemn people different fromthemselves, or in other words, by people who are themselves intolerant. Prejudice
is rarelyexpressed explicitly. It is more often demonstrated through creation of stereotypes, through thecreation of a hated or a disliked ‘other’, through an
excessive and obsessive focus on the negatives of this ‘other’, through half-truths, repeated and deliberate misrepresentation
and soon. Ethnocentrism
is a form of prejudice involving the belief that one’s own group’s values,practices or behavior are the best whereas those of the ‘other’ groups are inferior. Racism
isanother dangerous variety of prejudice involving the belief that a perceived ‘racial difference issufficient to value one person less than another’.The reader should keep these definitions in mind constantly, while reading the text below, and judge for himself whether the activities and conduct of Professor Witzel could be termed amanifestation of prejudice in its various varieties.It is unfortunate that Dr. Witzel, a tenured professor at the Harvard University, publicly engagesin highly reprehensible activities. Below is a brief account of his statements appearing oninternet forums and in print with a few illustrative examples each
but many more can be given
.Except for one example, we have not quoted his damning prolific posts left in secretive lists of Indologists not open to public, nor have we quoted his emails sent to individuals or to groups
.After all, Professor Witzel is entitled to the privacy of his personal views, no matter howobnoxious these views are.
2.0 Statements stereotyping Indian Americans
2.1: Indian Americans are ‘lost’ and ‘abandoned’:
Practically every month, Professor Witzel publishes a statement (in print or on the internet) thatdenigrates and stereotypes Indian Americans. We are a hard-working and law-abiding
Joel M. Charon. 2001.
Ten Questions, A Sociological Perspective
. Wadsworth Thompson Learning: Belmont(California), pp. 247-265
The following study gives a nultifaceted view on prejudice and discrimination –Gordon W. Allport. 1954.
The Nature of Prejudice
. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.: New York
Claire M. Renzetti ad Daniel Curran, ‘Living Sociology’, Allyn and Bacon, Needham Heights (MA, USA): 1998,p. 287
Konrad Phillip Kottak, “
”, McGraw-Hill, Inc. : 1994, p. 79
For example, in an email message sent to a group of 8 people in September 1999, Witzel remarked that “ManyIndians still cannot read their texts critically…..But Indian women are better than men”.We have also completely ignored the scary information about him that comes from grapevines in variousuniversities in the United States.