First Minority Governor in Louisiana Knows How to Play by the Rules

| Tue Oct. 23, 2007 10:22 PM EDT

Bobby Jindal, a "son of Indian immigrants," made history as the first non-white governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction and the first ever Indian American governor. Throughout his campaign, though, Jindal downplayed his ethnicity.

This is common practice among minority politicians, claiming that their ethnicity is not really an issue—that hard work will get you anywhere in America, regardless of race, gender, education, and income— as they tell their parents' immigration story in the same breath. Jindal's victory speech reminded Louisiana citizens that his parents came to this country to pursue the American Dream. He added, "My parents have seen what I have seen, that in America and specifically in Louisiana -- the only barrier to success is your willingness to work hard and play by the rules."

Those rules apparently mean appealing to the conservative, Christian, and white voting base in Louisiana. Jindal supports "intelligent design" over evolution in public school education, is anti-abortion, and is looking to revoke hate crime laws.

While it is hard to deny the significance of Jindal's victory as a non-white in a state known for its contentious racial politics, it is less so considering his views pander to the conservative voting bloc.

—Neha Inamdar

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