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Reading Together, Reading ApartIdentity, Belonging, and South Asian American Community$
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Tamara Bhalla

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040481

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040481.001.0001

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There’s a Whole Other Class

There’s a Whole Other Class

Model Minorities, Privileged Subjects, and the Question of Caste

Chapter:
(p.54) 2 There’s a Whole Other Class
Source:
Reading Together, Reading Apart
Author(s):

Tamara Bhalla

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252040481.003.0003

This chapter analyzes how discussions of class and its more tacit effects in NetSAP book club meetings reveal the ambivalent effects of economic privilege among members as they construct a sense of South Asian American identity in the group. On one hand, NetSAP participants challenge the representative dominance of economically affluent South Asians in the United States. On the other hand, the members' shared privilege makes them both nostalgic and uncomfortable when they broach issues of economic inequality that reveal the persistent effects of class privilege in the book club. In conversations about the book club and within the meetings themselves, readers reflect on the terms of their own privilege particularly through an engagement with ethnically authenticating discourses—such as the model minority paradigm and caste consciousness.

Keywords:   NetSAP book club, South Asian American identity, NetSAP participants, economic inequality, class privilege, model minority paradigm, caste consciousness

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