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A MagazinePrashad begins by tracing the evolution of an American strain of Orientalism in the early 19th century. He demonstrates how this method of cultural reification was transmitted through popular culture, such as brown-face shows in circuses that toured the country. This Orientalism, according to Prashad, finds its way into the modern day with 'sly babas and Godmen' like Deepak Chopra who exploit its East/spiritual-West/material dichotomy for their own personal profit. He then shifts gears, addressing a range of topics including immigration policies, the difficulties of building 'authentic cultural lives' in America, the often Hindu-nationalist, political underpinnings of nonpolitical cultural organizations in the immigrant community, and finally, the sources of and possible solutions to South Asian anti-black racism. The Karma of Brown Folk is fascinating reading because of the very 'experiential' knowledge that the author explicitly wishes to submit to more 'theoretical' bases of understanding. He is a keen eye-witness of South Asian American (desi) life in America, especially when interpolating snatches of conversation or reporting events. He has a genius for selecting the precise detail that makes observations spring to life. For example, Ralph Waldo Emerson's pet name for his wife was 'Mine Asia,' and Dizzy Gillespie sometimes wore a turban to pose as South Asian in order to escape the restrictions of American apartheid.
— (A. Magazine: Inside Asian America)