Mr President ‘Bannon’ got it wrong

    Indian-American community
    Indian-American community

    What is jarring about this sentiment is how unusual this reaction is for most Indo Americans. Most of us have incredibly positive experience of this country – from our higher education here to success in our careers to the upbringing of our children.

    We had to work harder but this country has been amazingly good to us – thanks to opportunities here and its openness to foreign talent, a large number of Indians became far more successful than they could have ever become anywhere else.

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    Some of them achieved success at a global scale proving that Indians can compete and win no matter how tough or competitive the industry is. They inspired a whole generation of Indians worldwide to believe in themselves. With the success of Indo Americans came respect and admiration for them in this society. Indo Americans cannot be appreciative enough of the hospitality of this country and the opportunity it offered to to prove to the world that they are second to none.

    That is why this statement is jarring. It does not seem representative of our typical experience here in this country.

    Silicon Valley is as close to a meritocracy as you can get anywhere in the world. It does not care about the color of your skin, your accent, country of origin or your sexual orientation. It does not even care whether you are a nice person or not. Heck, it made an anti social person like Steve Jobs into an icon. All that it cares about is whether you add value – in product development, sales, marketing, or leading a team. It rewards hard work, innovation and risk taking.

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    Indians have done a better job of it than most other ethnic groups. That is why Indians are disproportionately represented in management and leadership roles than any other minority.

    It is as much a tribute to the culture of Silicon Valley as it is to the Indo American community.

    Silicon Valley’s success as an engine of wealth and job creation is admired the world over. No wonder every region in the world aspires to become Silicon this or Silicon that. The world including America will do a lot better in terms of prosperity and job creation if more of it became like Silicon Valley – open to talent no matter where it came from.

    (The author is the President of TIE, US and is a leading Indian American from Silicon Valley. The views expressed are personal)