Washington, Jan 24: Lashing out at Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for recently stating that he is American and not 'Indian American', an influential US lawmaker, who is highly regarded among Indian Americans, has said that Jindal has an "identity crisis".
"To some degree it looks like Jindal has some kind of an identity crisis. That is too bad for him," Congressman Joe Crowley, told PTI when asked about the recent statement by Jindal wherein he distanced himself from being called as Indian American preferring to be just an 'American'.
"My parents came in search of the American Dream, and they caught it. To them, America was not so much a place, it was an idea. My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans. Not Indian-Americans, simply Americans," Jindal said in a speech in London this week.
"I am from New York. I am very proud of my Irish roots. Be it Irish-American or an American Irish, there is no question that I am an American first. Maybe it is unfortunate that he feels that to overly demonstrate the fact that he is an American. I do not apologise where my ancestors came from, I let it shine, I applaud it," Crowley said.
A lawmaker from New York, Crowley is one of the founding members of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans and its former co-chair, which is now held by Indian American Congressman Ami Bera.
Twice elected from California, Bera is the third ever and only Indian American in the current Congress. "I do not think that Ami Bera has same level of anxiety in terms of identity. It is reflective of the politics that he is involved in. In the Democratic Party, we welcome all ranks of people, races and religious denomination," Crowley said as he slammed Jindal for his remarks.
Crowley: I am from New York. I am very proud of my Irish roots
Bera too in an interview to PTI said he did not agree with the views of Jindal.
"I do not have any problem (being identified as Indian American). You heard me say that all the time," Bera said. "I always talk about the story of my parents talk about something that I am proud of. And then we are proud of the opportunity that America offers," he said.
"I do not shy away from my story. There is no problem being an Indian American. Because, that is the tapestry of the United States. Its generations of people coming together to weave this great melting pot - the United States different culture, different ancestries.
We are all Americans, but we all bring those values as well the Irish, the Italians and now the Indian Americans," Bera said.
In his London speech and subsequently in several media interviews this week, Jindal said if his parents wanted to be Indians, they would have stayed in India.
"I do not believe in hyphenated Americans. This view gets me into some trouble with the media back home (US). They like to refer to Indian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African- Americans, Italian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and all the rest.
To be clear I am not suggesting for one second that people should be shy or embarrassed about their ethnic heritage," Jindal had said.