Text Review: The White Tiger

The novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga tells the story of the Indian social class system and how Indian society affects the choices one makes. The book takes place during an interesting time as India is one of the fastest growing economies and the novel excellently captures the demographics of a society where the people and infrastructure are rapidly changing. The White Tiger is an exciting read that includes many surprising events which distinguish the plot from existing stereotypes about Indian society.

The story is told from the perspective of a cab driver, Balram, who finds himself working for an Indian-American couple and gets a taste of what life abroad is like. Balram comes to learn that the husband is extremely corrupt and has a number of side deals with several of India’s top politicians. Balram sees his opportunity to leave his former life behind and find success for himself. The novel follows his journey as he starts a taxi company called White Tiger Drivers.

After reading Interpreter of the Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, I was instantly reminded of this novel. Even though the plot points differ, the context of both the stories are very similar: they both feature an Indian-American couple and an Indian taxi driver and part of the stories are dedicated to illustrating the differences between the two cultures. Both texts also illustrate the concept of ‘othering’. In Interpreter of the Maladies, the taxi driver, Mr.Kapasi’s view tends to be overshadowed by the couple he is working for seemingly because of his social status. Similarly, in The White Tiger, Balram’s point of view is undermined by the people he works for. The novel also extends this to include all people of India’s working class as a group that is overshadowed by the rest of society and the novel aims to reclaim their voice.

Systemic Injustice in the Healthcare System.

In 1935, the Social Security Act was passed. It included age, and unemployment benefits as well as disability insurance for Americans. However, this act excluded those who worked in farms or as domestic help, pertaining to the jobs held by mostly to people of color. Lawmakers argue that the decision to exclude farmers and domestic help was fueled by the racial prejudice of that period. Because of this, African Americans, in particular, were denied access to healthcare while the system catered primarily to White Americans. Today, implicit bias still exists within practicing doctors and medical institutions which shows itself in medical statistics.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, racial minority groups, particularly African Americans have suffered disproportional death rates compared to the majority. According to Southern University, African Americans are faced with increased risk in diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, all increasing the severity of Covid-19. Because African Americans and other minority groups are less insured, they are, “Less likely to seek any healthcare in the first place because it is outright unaffordable. That rationing of care can spell death for those suffering silently from COVID-19” (3). Through the pandemic, we can see that racial disparities in other sectors have compounded along with the disparities in healthcare which are shown in the death rates of ethnic minorities.

Today, Black Americans are twice as likely to die from preventable illnesses than White Americans. Medical News Today states that implicit racial bias can lead professionals to misdiagnosis patients, neglect proper pain management, and skip crucial medical examinations. This continued pattern of practice has resulted in a lower life expectancy for Black Americans compared to other racial minorities. The reason why this is an example of systemic injustice is that the healthcare system of the 1930’s still affects the healthcare system today with African Americans as a whole, receiving poorer healthcare compared to other Americans due to implicit biases still at play. In the end, the healthcare system today will continue to enforce the disparity if the discrimination in medical institutions is not addressed.


sources: Racism in healthcare: Statistics and examples (medicalnewstoday.com)

Scholarly Perspectives on COVID-19, Part 4: Social Inequalities Writ Large • Southwestern University

Why Racial Disparities in Healthcare Make COVID-19’s Impact Worse for Minorities | Johnson & Johnson – YouTube

Week 10 Context Presentation: Asian-American children in the Foster Care System.

In The Leavers by Lisa Ko, Deming Guo is the son of Polly who immigrated from China. Growing up in New York City, Deming faces the challenges that many children of immigrants face: feeling ostracized by peers in school, overcoming a language barrier, and assimilating to American classrooms. After being adopted by a White couple, Deming now Daniel Wilkinson, struggles to adjust to his new life and family. He has trouble communicating with his adoptive parents and he is treated poorly by the students and principal at his school, in addition to being the only Asian child in their community. His adoptive parents also are concerned that they do not know how to communicate with him, and this makes them initially question their choice to adopt Daniel. In the book Daniel, thinks of himself as an alien because his environment makes him feel distant from his fellow peers, illustrating the lack of diversity and lack of awareness in his community.

Daniels’s experience is shared by many Asian-American children in the foster care system. Even though the percentage of Asian foster children is lower compared to other demographics, there are still not enough Asian-American foster families to take in children. Since the majority of Asian-American kids in the foster system are children of immigrants, placing them in non-Asian foster homes can be traumatic and cause them to feel like an outcast in their own home, due to language and cultural differences. In order to prevent the potential harmful outcomes that come from a traumatic foster care experience, it is necessary that children are placed in homes where they are understood and can feel apart of the family. For Asian-American children in the foster care system, this means taking efforts to increase the number of Asian-American foster families in the system.


Ko, Lisa. The Leavers. Chapel Hill, 2017.

Luhar, Monica. “Nonprofits Search for Asian-American Foster Parents to Fill Culture, Language Needs.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 24 July 2017, www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/nonprofits-search-asian-american-foster-parents-fill-culture-language-needs-n785036.