Lunch With a Bigot: The Writer in the World
Amitava Kumar is Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar College. He is the author of
On Being Brown in America
This chapter is a meditation on the meaning of being brown in America. It focuses on the unusual ease with which “dark-skinned males” were assumed to be the culprits behind the Boston Marathon bombings. The easy attribution of blame is a part of a long history of suspicion—and the essay takes up for examination a famous short-story by W. Somerset Maugham from the 1920s and also the 1917 Immigration Act in the United States (also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act).