Of Free Speech And Arranged Marriages

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The place I showed up in America was Kentucky, of all places. At that point I could not have told you the cultural differences between Kentucky and California. Within a year I was up to speed. Experiencing racist demonization can do that to you.

In Kentucky I found massive consternation about the idea of arranged marriages. There were people who thought it was flat out wrong. There were those who accepted it as a cultural difference. The idea made me uncomfortable even before I came to America, but it did not take me long to realize marriages in America are not that not arranged either. Like Time magazine once said, you might fall in love with the stranger you spotted across the room, but it is society that decides what room you were in. That part was fixed. It was arranged. Only a narrow band of people cross the racial, cultural lines in matters of romance. That is not in the individual domain, that is in the collective domain.

That is not a defense of arranged marriages. I hope the practice fades away over time. More and more people pick their own mates. And I hope interracial marriages end up the norm not the exception in America.

And so you have this free speech debate in India. Like Fred Wilson would say, I am a free speech bigot. Some people in power in India are saying free speech is okay as long as you don't disrespect Sonia Gandhi. I don't buy that. But I do happen to respect Sonia Gandhi.
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