Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

January 7, 2012

How many minorities are there in the USA?

Filed under: Data Analysis,Demographics,Minorities — Razib Khan @ 12:56 pm

Prompted by Andrea Mitchell’s complaint that Iowa is not representative of America in racial terms the Audacious Epigone probed an American state’s typicality in terms of racial demographics, using the overall American population as a measure. One of the major issues with judging the typicality of a given state is that there is a great deal of residential segregation in even “diverse” regions. This comes up in our personal choices too. In 2008 ~10 percent of non-Hispanic whites married someone who was not a non-Hispanic white. Obviously more than ~10 percent of the population, particularly in the prime marrying demographic, are non-Hispanic whites, so you’re seeing a fair amount of homogamy. In some ways the homogamy is even more striking for minorities. ~31 percent of Asian Americans in this period married a non-Asian American. But, one has to keep in mind that using the American population as representative over 90 percent of the potential marriage partners are not Asian American!

The quest for a state that “looks like America” is understandable, but the reality of lived life is more complex. And not just in racial terms (e.g., the division in politics between the white suburbs of Maryland vs. Virginia on either side of D.C.). But keeping race in mind, one consistent finding in social science is that Americans actually tend to overestimate the number of minorities. Iowa is actually more typical than we think, despite the fact that it is not typical. In the year 2000 the General Social Survey asked respondents to estimate the number of various groups in the USA. The finding of a tendency to overestimate minorities, and underestimate non-Hispanic whites, was confirmed. But, I decided to break this down by demographic. The results are below in a table.

The first row are real counts from the 2000 Census. All the following rows are average estimates of a set of respondents in the year 2000.

Results White Black Hispanic Asian Jews Δ whites Δ minorities
Real Value 2000 Census 69.1 12.3 12.5 3.6 3.0
Total Sample 59.0 31.3 24.6 17.7 17.7 -10.1 15.1
Whites 59.2 29.8 22.8 16.0 16.5 -9.9 13.4
Black 57.4 38.8 27.4 21.7 23.3 -11.7 19.8
Hispanic 58.2 35.3 38.2 27.5 21.8 -10.9 24.2
Liberal 58.6 30.4 24.7 17.7 17.3 -10.5 14.8
Moderate 58.3 32.9 25.1 18.6 18.3 -10.8 16.1
Conservative 60.2 29.3 23.5 16.5 16.8 -8.9 13.6
Under 35 56.8 32.5 25.0 18.3 16.6 -12.3 15.8
35 to 64 59.7 30.5 24.3 17.1 17.8 -9.4 14.5
Over 65 61.9 31.2 24.3 18.3 20.1 -7.2 15.1
Northeast 58.5 31.3 25.0 18.9 20.4 -10.6 15.6
Midwest 58.2 31.4 23.5 17.5 17.4 -10.9 14.7
South 58.4 33.0 23.3 15.6 16.4 -10.7 14.5
West 61.3 28.7 27.1 20.1 17.6 -7.8 15.8
Men 59.2 27.3 19.5 13.3 13.9 -9.9 10.6
Women 58.8 34.7 28.8 21.5 21.0 -10.3 18.9
No College 58.4 33.4 25.9 19.1 19.1 -10.7 16.7
College 61.5 24.3 20.2 13.2 13.4 -7.6 9.8
Protestant 58.0 32.6 23.1 17.5 17.9 -11.1 14.9
Catholic 60.4 30.8 27.4 19.4 19.6 -8.7 16.4
Jewish 62.5 25.2 23.4 16.1 10.1 -6.6 12.1
No Religion 59.0 29.4 24.4 16.1 16.1 -10.1 13.8
Favor ban interracial marriage 59.3 37.7 27.7 21.0 20.7 -9.8 19.3
Against ban interracial marriage 58.6 30.3 24.4 17.8 17.5 -10.5 14.7

As you can see when you add up the elements on the row margins you get more than 100 percent. Why? Because I’m averaging the responses of individuals, and they aren’t talking to each other and figuring that you can’t get more than 100 percent as a collective whole. Across the demographics there is an average underestimate in absolute values of non-Hispanic whites by 10 percentage points, and an overestimate of minorities (excluding Jews here) of about 15 percentage points. The differences from the real value though were consistent with the relationships of the real values. The correlations were almost around around 0.98, which means that rarely did you come out with a scenario where a demographic estimated 5 percent for blacks, and 25 percent for Hispanics. Rather, there was a consistent overestimate of minorities, and underestimate of whites.

Taking into account both over and under estimations it looks like those with at least college educations do the best (the number of Jews in the sample was rather small, so take it with a grain of salt). But even here there is a skew in numbers. Why does this exist? My own initial hunch is that the national media is very unrepresentative of America. Set in New York or Los Angeles they reflect the demographics of those regions. Or do they? I haven’t watched much TV in a while, but I do recall the amusing reality that Seinfeld and Friends were set in New York, but minorities were very much token characters in the majority-minority city where the protagonists were resident. But, to be fair I think that may be a real reflection of lives lived, where different races and ethnic groups simply socialize with their “own” (in Manhattan the Upper East Side is ~85 percent non-Hispanic white, on an island that is ~50 percent non-Hispanic white, in a city that is ~33 percent non-Hispanic white).

February 7, 2011

Christians in the Punjab, Scheduled Castes & Ambedkar all together

Filed under: History,Identity,India,Islam,Minorities,Pakistan,Politics,Religion — Zachary Latif @ 8:58 am

punjab population; please look at the attached excel sheet (if it doesn’t work you can click on the link just below).

The figures are sourced from Ambedkar’s 1945 work “PAKISTAN OR THE PARTITION OF INDIA”

Graph Explained below:

The graph is from the appendices sections and contains figures just on the eve of Partition. There are some extremely interesting things I want to look at from a Partition perspective, some novel twists but its an ongoing process. I was doing that some 5 years ago but I sort of dropped it but now Brown Pundits give me an incentive to sort of relook them.

Christians + Schedule Caste % of Punjab Population in 1945

Anyway we’ve been discussing “Caste in Pakistan” and I decided to do some research on it. The far right column is what I’ve sorted the data by, it is the joint Christians + Scheduled Caste % of total Punjab population. This % shows a rapid drop off from an East to West gradient and North to South. The East to West is from Haryana and East Punjab to the West Punjab and Seraikistan. Furthermore we notice the highest % to be in the Himachal/Haryana region, which surprises me because Himachal Pradesh tends to be fairly high caste (also the TFR in Himachal Pradesh is lower than replacement).

As a side note it would be interesting to correlate a populations % of High Caste Hindus and total replacement fertility, we’d probably have to add a few more variables, but in states characterized by low communalism, high education and a high Hindu population fertility rates tend to drop. I’d particularly be interested in comparisons between Kerala and West Bengal just because of their communist associations.

Christian % of Joint Christian & Schedule Caste population in 1945

This is extremely interesting as the % of the joint Christian & Schedule Caste as per the total Punjab population begins to drop (basically phase into Western and Southern “Muslim” Punjab) the proportion of the Christians as part of the joint Christian & Schedule Caste population begins to dramatically rise to the extent that it reaches 89% in Gujranwalla.

I’m assuming that the huge bulk of Christian converts are from the Schedule Castes if that is the case we can treat them as two interchangeable population, from a socio-economical and historical identity. Where they differ however is their nominal religious affiliation. Essentially what the data *seems* to be telling us that in predominantly Muslim districts (slightly West to the heart of the Punjab, the Majha zone) the Scheduled Castes seemed much more amenable to conversion to a related but distinct Abrahamic faith. This could also do with the lack of a strong Hindu presence conversions were more acceptable.

What does Scheduled Caste mean only Hindu or Sikh too?

I don’t know if at the time Scheduled Castes were only considered to be Hindu, or if the Scheduled Caste figure included Sikhs (we can safely assume that they didn’t include Muslims because to this day Dalit Muslims are not treated as such).

I want to next tackle the precise dynamics of Partition in the Punjab but which parts exactly?

Personal Note:

Over the past few years my interests vis a vis South Asia has always been the Punjab and more generically Urdu-speaking UP. These two regions are at the heart of modern-day Pakistan (no disrespect to the other constituent provinces) and incidentally reflects my heritage fairly well, grandfather was from East Punjab and grandmother was from the United Provinces (sounds much nicer than Uttar Pradesh frankly).

In the course of my ongoing research found out some interesting things. I had always realised that the Qaqazais were Sikh converts since they were found predominantly in the Hoshiarpur region. It turns out that Afghan-Pathans were specifically settled in that region to pacify it and hence the population. While this was interesting from a personal level (as the origins of the Muslim population of Hindustan always is).

Excellent Punjab links:

This is as much for me as it is for the reader since its good reference material I can look up at a later date for more posts such as this. I always wanted to do an “Industan trilogy” but never got round to it. This time hopefully the Punjab Trilogy (what is it with me and trilogies?) will pan out. Also different interpretations, biases, opinion and knowledge sources are always welcome of course, such things should never be a solitary effort I find.


Punjab map (topographic)


Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province

Imran Ali. The Punjab under Imperialism 1885-1947.

The Indian army and the making of Punjab

A study of the economic effects of the Punjab canal colonies

The Punjab under Colonialism

Dalit Muslims

“The present day Muslim society is divided into four major groups (i) the ashrafs, who trace their origins to foreign lands, (ii) the upper caste Hindus who converted to Islam, (iii) the middle caste converts whose occupations are ritually clean, (iv) the converts from the erstwhile Untouchable castes – Bhangi (scavengers), Mehtar (sweeper), Chamar (tanner), Halalkhor (Dom) and so on”. (p. 192)

On the level of backwardness, the Sachar Committee finds that ‘out of every 100 workers about 11 are Hindu OBCs, three are Muslim-general and only one is Muslim OBC (p. 209)’, whereas the population of OBC Muslims is as much as 75% of the total Muslims’ population.

Most of them continued with their traditional professions as artisans, peasants and labourers, except those which were considered impure or unacceptable in Shariah. Nevertheless, of late, some of these Muslim caste groups got Islamised. They also became organized and given themselves Muslim nomenclatures. They identified and associated themselves with Islamic personalities. For example, the butchers designated themselves as Qureshi; the weavers as Ansari; the tailors as Idrisi; the Bhishtis as Abbasi; the vegetable vendors as Raeen; the barbers as Salmani; the carpenters and blacksmiths as Saifi etc. By joining the fold of Islam they did not get such a boost to their talents and abilities that they could face equal competition with all others.

Source: Reservation For Dalit Muslims

Indian Muslims and the Sarchar Committee Report are two good reads on the State of Indian Muslim affairs.

February 6, 2011

The BJP and Muslims

Filed under: Minorities,Politics — Thorfinn @ 1:54 pm

Tehelka magazine has scooped the 600-page SIT probe into Narendra Modi’s culpability for the 2002 Gujarat riots. They have excerpts of questions asked during a marathon interrogation session as well.

This comes just a few weeks after the new head of the Darul Uloom seminary at Deoband, Vastanvi, issued a statement widely seen as pro-Modi. Though he did not absolve Modi of responsibility for the riots, he did say that, “The issue is almost eight years old now and we should move forward.”

There is an interesting backstory here, linking to the diversity of Indian Muslims. Deoband does not have a great reputation among many circles (“fatwa factory”), as its particular Islamic school of thought is seen as hardline in the context of South Asia. However, it does have an illustrious past, providing an institutional base for the Muslim community after the end of the Mughal Emprire. The school and its network of ulemas opposed British rule and grew in importance after Partition removed a large chunk of the North Indian Muslim intelligentsia.

Vastanvi is a known educator and reformist, who has built up a network of schools educating over 200,000 students. He was brought in to Deoband with the intent of revamping the curriculum, both at the school itself and throughout India via Deoband’s lingering influence.

It’s interesting to see how the person of Narenda Modi has become a polarizing force; both in India overall as well as among Muslims. After Vastanvi’s statement, he was enthusiastically supported by many of the non-UP/cow belt Muslim students at the school; while the old guard remained wary. Sons of Muslim merchants from Gujarat are different from Muslim rural laborers in Bihar.

Also — witness the closeness between members of Gujarat’s Ismaili Bohra community and Modi. Indian Shias in general are much more positively inclined to the BJP than Sunnis; Vajpayee was known for keeping close ties with a number of Shias, relying on their support to win his own constituency in Lucknow. The BJP overall won somewhere between 11-8% of the Muslim vote in the elections in 2004 (two years after the Gujarat riots). This is not large, but the BJP as a whole only won 26% of the votes from all Indians.

Among the various other divisions among Indian Muslims; it looks as if your stance on Modi/the BJP serves as yet another strong marker.

February 5, 2011

The minorities adapt well to India – or should we say Hindustan?

Filed under: Culture,History,Identity,India,Islam,Minorities,Pakistan,South Asia,South Asian — Zachary Latif @ 12:21 pm

Masked Muslim girls scootering about in Urban India


Before I start I know my title and pic are cheeky but a quick observation in Pakistan Muslim girls don’t scooter by themselves (at least not as I can remember) so its interesting to see that even in this aspect these “Masked” girls are still a leap forward from Pakistan. For an Indian Muslim choosing between India and Islam is choosing between a father and a mother. For a Pakistani choosing between Pakistan and Islam, well that’s an absurd question that’d just be schizophrenic!  As Omar notes I may be more attached to “Pakistaniat” than to Baha’ism but we were Baha’i before being Pakistani and the reason I’m so positive on the Islamic world is because we (Baha’is) practise a very liberal and assimilationist variant of Islam. Of course no Baha’i accepts this (unlike the Ahmedis we are very clear on being distinct from the parent religion in every way as Christianity is from Judaism) but even so I’ve seen what the future of Islam could be and while the Baha’i community ain’t perfect (I was ranting about it a couple of posts ago) it does have noble aspirations, which I definitely admire.

The Problem with Indian Muslims

Omar’s just noted a good point “Persian, Indian, Sindhi who happened to carry a Pakistani passport for a while and still roots for the Pakistani cricket team. That’s the goal of this therapy session”. Of course I readily admit that I have a Pak studies hangover (never took it though) and, like all two-nation Paks (particularly pre-00′s and pre-71) feel a proprietary interest in India’s Muslims. Its interesting though in Pakistan Bangladesh is never mentioned, the psychological effect of dealing with that second partition would destroy any remnants of Pakistaniat so it is best forgotten and repressed (I encounter lots of opposition when I try to organise events around that; apparently Bangladesh is not “relevant” to Pakistan’s woes whereas I see it central to our existential crisis). Anyway back to Indian Muslims (by that I mean our North Indian Urdu speaking kin) and they have many issues as a community. First off they control the underworld and Bollywood’s casting couch culture seems to be dominated by Muslim ganglords. Dharavi (Asia’s largest slum in Bombay) seems to have a much higher proportion of Muslim, Orangitown in Karachi has a high proportion of Pathans and Bangladeshis (among my many controversial ideas is giving all Bangladeshis free entry and automatic residence to Pakistan as the Irish had with the United Kingdom though what that would for Karachi’s explosive ethnic politics is anyone’s guess) but anyway back to India’s Muslims.

Last year it was explained to me (though I had guessed) it that India’s Muslim community is deeply polarised (there is another level of polarisation I’ve mentioned below too) in the adherence spectrum. There are the liberal Muslims (Rushdiesque) who make a big hue and cry about how they are “Indian” as opposed to “Muslim. There is then the other side that burrows deep and is deeply normative in Islamic practice and identity. Pakistan, for all its many sins, has a huge middle ground and though there is a growing polarization Pakistan’s have a pretty good sixth sense (another national secret) what constitutes Pakistaniyat and what is too alien (either Indian/Islamic). Despite the immense pleasure we take in discussing our tormented identity and country we have a rough idea of what it is (liberal desi & Islamic rather than Muslim) we just have a hard time explaining and vocalizing it.

Astrology & India

In my absence, rehearsals have restarted for our spring production “Call Me Kafir” (again all-Muslim crew), I noticed Razib’s & Barani’s exchange on astrology.

Plenty of Indian muslims and Christians visit astrologers. I know of several muslim politicians who patronise Hindu astrologers

muslim and christian intellectuals have long had a huge fascination with astrology. despite its pagan associations astrology was a major reason for astronomical research in the early muslim civilization, and was part of the “ancient wisdom” which christians brought back from the levant and from spain. so the attitude of christians and muslims toward astrology is mixed. i think some of it has to do with the association between neo-platonic paganism and astrology in late antiquity, and in south asia astrology’s association with indus.

Razib makes a good point there was this fundamentalist English preacher complaining that the symbol of the “Hand” (the astrologer sign) is in every other mohallah (neighbourhood) in Pakistan and is almost as prevalent (perhaps even more?) as the neighbour mosque. However there is something deeper about the Indian nature of the the “Abrahamic minorities”. I was reading in the Tully’s book “No Full Stops in India” when Doordashan started broadcasting the Hindu epics the most avid viewers were the Christian and Muslim minorities!

Minorities are very “Indian” even the Muzzers

Though I’m not Indian I have extensive familial ties to the Baha’i, Muslim and Zoroastrian communities (and now Hindu ones through extensive intermarriage) and also through London you get a whiff of what’s happening there in India (and yes Pakistanis do have a fascination about it since Bollywood is all-pervasive all the time). The Muslim community of India is divided by the Turanian north (Hindi belt) and the Arab-influence south (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, bits of Maharshtra and of course Kerala). However when we think Indian Muslim (or when Hindutva do anyway), we are thinking of the prototypical Urdu-speaking UPite, whose recent ancestry probably include some mixture foreign (mleecha?) blood. However the vast & overwhelming majority of Indian Muslims are rural (they are more urban than Hindu India however) and are more likely than not converts from the rural areas (though in India every community has a different lineage and heritage, many Brahmin clans claims Kashmiri lineage) and remain very syncretic in their beliefs.

Islamicization is a class phenomenon

As Vali Nasr noted the truly “Islamic” populations are the lower-middle class urbanites, who want to understand their religion (read Arabian interpretation) at a deeper level. The rural folks and the haute elite remain far more liberal in their approach; Muslim elites are incredibly liberal (I was overhearing the other day, and it is common knowledge, that many of the Iranian Mullah’s kids live in Kensington, London and are pretty out there in their clubbing). Omar sums it well in his erm “Indophilic” comment. As a side I think ethnic nationalists (Sindhi, Punjabi) embrace Indophilia as an antidote the Islamophilia of our state govt, however since India has a dual Hindu/Muslim matrix in pretty much every state (Muslims are in every major state at reasonable %s) regionalism perhaps might be less pronounced than in Pakistan. This is where communalism, in a very weird sort of way, strengthens Indian nationhood whereas our religious homogeneity (yes Pakistan is pretty much homogeneous since the Shi’ite component is variously treated as a different school rather than sect unless they’re being targeted during Moharram and random assassinations of Shi’ite Doctors in Karachi) undermines Pakistan because then other divisions (ethnic, regional, class, caste) come into play. Anyway back to Omar’s comment.

another local point: in Punjab we have pretty much domesticated Islam by the 19th century. In a variant called Chujjo, Krishna was even made an official Islamic prophet. Better communications with Saudi Arabia ruined that plot in the 20th century, but its a spiral, we will be back.. I think its worth keeping in mind that centuries ago, most of the world was not in any state close to what is the norm today. While legal codes and state institutions were fairly well developed in, say, Rome or Tang China, even there a good chunk of the population must have been minimally affected by such inventions. For most of our ancestors, religion was polytheistic in practice and law was local and informal. This applied to nominal Muslims as well as nominal Hindus (if they even called themselves that). The cult of one folk, one law, one leader became more widespread with progress… another local point: in Punjab we have pretty much domesticated Islam by the 19th century. In a variant called Chujjo, Krishna was even made an official Islamic prophet. Better communications with Saudi Arabia ruined that plot in the 20th century, but its a spiral, we will be back..

Is there such a thing as Hindu and Hindu Unity

There are schools of thought that treat “Hinduism” as anything non-Abrahamic in the Subcontinent. Two interesting comments here, which may indicate that the Desistanis (Muslim origin Desis?) of this weblog may be seeing grass as greener. Top from Gomps (our resident astrologer?)and bottom comment from Vick.

Mr. Zachary Latif, This is a load of wishful thinking to be honest, no society has the kind of solidarity that you seek. Nor should it, it is better to develop a sense of fair play and meritocracy. First of all no one identifies as Hindu, unlike maybe Jewish. If at all we identify as Punjabis, Gujuratis. And a Tamil Hindu would rather help out a Mallu Muslim before some North Indian. I am greatly surprised that Muslims of all people would lament a lack of solidarity, I’ve always felt you lot were the ones who stuck together the most. I am also a bit slighted by how you excluded India from anything to do with the “Muslim” world. If anything support for the Palestinians, Iranians and the Iraqis has been consistent from India unlike Pakistan.

I think it is laughable to say that Indians have “gotten their act together”. Have you even been to India? Pakistan looks far cleaner and better organized; and pakis look far better fed, clothed and housed than indians. Yes India has dozens of billionaires and pockets of prosperity but the vast mass of hindus live in some of the worst conditions known to man, and no one gives a damn. So much for your claim that hindus help each other…..

February 3, 2011

Caste in Pakistan

Filed under: Culture,Minorities,Society — Thorfinn @ 9:38 pm

Hi all. Complementing my fellow bloggers, I represent the Indian side of things. All four of my grandparents were from Greater Panjab.

But first, let me pile on Salman Taseer bandwagon. The case has been discussed endlessly here, but there is one aspect of the story I haven’t seen picked up anywhere. Consider the situation that led to Asia Bibi being accused of blasphemy:

The court heard she had been working as a farmhand in fields with other women, when she was asked to fetch drinking water.

Some of the other women – all Muslims – refused to drink the water as it had been brought by a Christian and was therefore “unclean”, according to Mrs Bibi’s evidence, sparking a row.

Compare to an account from the autobiography of Omprakash Valmiki:

It was March or April 1965. Narendra Kumar Tyagi was in the classroom. The summer’s heat had made him thirsty. I was sitting in the seat right in front of him. He said to me, “Go, bring me a glass of water from the pitcher.” Two full pitchers, full of cold water, were kept in front of the principal’s office. The moment Narendra Tyagi asked me to get him water, the classroom buzzed with whispers. I got up to go but then came back. I said to him, “Master Sahib, I am not permitted even to touch those pitchers. Please send someone else.”

Master Sahib was surprised. He asked, “Why?”

I replied quietly, “I belong to the Chuhra caste.”

The look on his face registered his shock. He stared unblinkingly at me. I said, “If you still want me to get you water, I will go.”

He came out of his trance. “No … sit down.” And he went to get the water himself.

That is, the treatment of Christians in Pakistan derives not only from Muslim prejudice; but also relates to a lingering caste prejudice, relating to the practice of untouchability. Formally, Islam does not recognize caste distinctions. In reality:

Popular categories with which dalits of Pakistan are identified are not completely alien to Indians. For example, mochi, pather (brick maker) and bhangi (sweeper) are mostly Muslims and considered “lower” castes on the basis of their family occupation, regardless of their religion. There are other titles, such as musalman sheikhs, mussalis (both used for Muslim dalits) and masihi (Christians), which universally refer to specific groups of people, also identified with specific occupation and used to segregate them from the rest as “untouchable” groups…

[A]lmost the entire Christian population of Pakistan are converts from dalit communities and many of them continue to be treated so even today by the dominant communities of the country…

On the contrary, some of the legal provisions such as the law against blasphemy are often used against members of the religious minorities, Christians and Hindus, by the locally dominant individuals in events of conflict.

That seems to be what happened here. Also, see some genetic evidence on this. South Asia in general is dominated by strong social stratification among socially endogenous groups, and Pakistan is no exception.

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