Are Indians really a challenge?

Your Education is Our World

In a recent speech delivered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States President Barack Obama referred to Indians and Chinese students as a source of stiff competition for American children. He said the U.S. used to be ahead of other countries in producing graduates and doctorates, but it had now fallen behind. The Indians and the Chinese “are now coming at us, and they are coming hard at us,” he said. One might guess that he was hinting at the visible presence of Asian students in American universities. Alternatively, he might have used India and China as popular symbols of economic competitiveness and growth.

This is not the first time Mr. Obama has used the two countries as symbols of a new world order in which America cannot take its hegemony for granted. A speech he delivered soon after his victory at a meeting of Hispanic community leaders made a similar point. In both speeches, he set up the example of Indian and Chinese children for their capacity for hard work, in apparent contrast to American children who supposedly spend more hours watching television and playing video games than they spend studying or doing homework.

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