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About Immigrants in America – an Interview

Posted on the 20 June 2017 by Cheekymeeky

Scott Haas is the author of Those Immigrants!, a book on prominent Indian-Americans published in May 2016 by Fingerprint! Publishing.

In this book, he attempts to talk about the immigrant experience in America. In this book, Haas interviews 30 people from different domains and tries to extract their stories.

Here is an excerpt from one such profile of immigrant Raj Chetty and Harvard economist.

About immigrants in America – an interview

Raj Chetty's corner office in the Littauer Building on the campus of Harvard University has in it one wall that is lined with books and two enormous windows facing in the direction of Harvard Square and the Cambridge Common. When we meet there, I'm nearly overwhelmed in advance by his reputation. He was the recipient of a 'Genius Grant' from the MacArthur Foundation and is one of the youngest people in the history of Harvard to have a tenured professorship. Raj is only thirty-six years old, and his future is extremely bright.

His work appears on the front pages of The New York Times. He has been asked to consult with President Obama and Presidential aspirants Hilary Clinton and Jeb Bush. His research on economic disparities and the public sector possesses deep originality. In 2008, The Economist listed him as one of the top eight economists in the world. And in 2015, Raj was awarded the Padma Shri,
for distinguished service in any field, by the Government of India.

The rest of the profile continues with an in-depth interview of Raj Chetty and his history. Raj's story of moving to the United States with his parents as a boy is fascinating. The interview goes back and forth while Raj talks about the Gandhian-era India he left and the economic opportunities in the US that he is now embracing. What's really wonderful to read about is how his background defines how he thinks about economy and growth.

For example, he recently did a study on how where a person grows up has enormous consequences on how much he or she will earn as an adult.

As he talks about the role of geography in predicting income growth in the U.S., I think about India. Would Raj's models of research apply there as well?
"Yes," he says, "it's not country specific. You have some of the best schools in Asia. Going to them creates opportunity.

He also talks very amusingly about cultural differences between India and the United States.

"I was entering the fourth grade," he says wistfully, "and one thing I remember is this: In Indian schools, the students stand as a sign of respect when the teacher comes in the room. So when I stood up in that American classroom, the other kids made a lot of fun of me."

Then there were the kids who teased him about his accent back then as a new arrival.

But who has the last laugh?

About immigrants in America – an interview

You can also buy a copy of this book from Amazon.

About the Author

Scott Haas recently completed, "Those Immigrants!," a book on prominent Indian-Americans published in May, 2016 by Fingerprint! Publishing.

He is also the author of Back of the House, a book about the psychology of being a chef and working in restaurants (Berkley/Penguin). He wrote: Hearing Voices (Dutton) and Are We There Yet? (Plume); he is the co-author of The Da Silvano Cookbook (Bloomsbury).

He won a James Beard award for hosting nationally on air for public radio.

His work appears in a host of publications, including Saveur, The Boston Globe, Wine Enthusiast, Travel + Leisure (North America and Southeast Asia), Robb Report, Islands, Sewasdee, and Gastronomica. He writes a lot about Japan.

He has a doctorate in clinical psychology and maintains an active consultative practice emphasizing diagnostic work in psychiatric hospitals and urban communities of color.


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