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Understanding Anti-Blackness in South Asian Communities

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The idea that you, your family, or your community is racist or “anti-black” isn’t an easy idea for all of us South Asians to swallow. Trust me- I know. 

Since the video that Shereene from upsidedownsmilie show and I collaborated on about anti-blackness was shared on social media, I have heard an earful from South Asian friends, family, and IG followers. In some of those conversations, it was clear the person was offended and demonstrated resistance and fragility, but in other conversations- people disclosed examples of how anti-blackness had shown up in their South Asian lived experiences. In part II if our Anti-Blackness series, you can hear about some these shared experiences of Anti-Blackness. In the video below, we share stories and reflections that help to illustrate the covert and discreet ways that anti-Black bias exists in South Asian lives. 

Allyship between communities of color is more important than it’s ever been in my lifetime. We are living in a society in which White supr…

Disrupting Anti-Blackness in South Asian Communities

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Anti-Blackness (the covert and overt systemic and interpersonal racism against Black people) has negatively impacted that health, wealth, and safety of Black Americans in this country since the early 1600’s. Unfortunately, anti-Blackness continues to persist in today's increasingly diverse society.
This form of racism is so deeply woven into the fabric of the United States, that it is largely subconscious for many Americans. Although it was White European settlers who were the originators of anti-Black racism in this country, they are not the only perpetuators of it today. Anti-Black sentiments are both consciously and subconsciously held by Americans across racial and ethnic groups. As someone who engages in anti-racism work, I find that many people hold the faulty notion that racism and racial biases are only perpetuated by White people, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Racism is a system and it is very much alive and well in communities of color throughout this count…

End of Semester Reflections: Sometimes You Have to Fail To Succeed

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As I end another semester with gratitude and a full heart, I can’t help but think about the fact that I almost left my teaching career to work full time as a communication consultant for a corporate company. The President of this company promised me a great career and future after meeting me only once. I was extremely flattered by his excitement, in fact I was so flattered that I overlooked the fact that he didn't know much about me beyond the fact that I was an adjunct who taught mostly public speaking classes. Looking back, it is clear that I was seen as the potential diversity hire that they were desperate for.

At the time, I was a young 26 year old who was hungry for success, and was excited for the $$$ that I would make working for a consulting firm. Even though I loved teaching, I was ready to walk away from the adjunct life I was living and excited to travel the world training employees on public speaking and leadership skills. I worked two days a week for about two months…

Indian Women: We are Phenomenal, Too.

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Contrary to societal stereotypes, Indian women are a heterogeneous identity group and we are much more than dutiful, intelligent, submissive, and exotic...

We are entrepreneurs, scientists, medical professionals, business executives, lawyers, politicians, engineers, teachers, psychologists, AND we are stay at home moms, make up artists, estheticians, chefs, actors, musicians, comedians, bartenders, and college drop outs. ⠀⠀

We are Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jewish, Buddhist, AND we are Atheist.

We are immigrants who speak English with a thick Indian accent AND we are American born native English speakers who don’t know how to speak the native language of our parents.

We are straight AND we are lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning.

We have the deepest hues of dark brown skin AND the lightest hues of milky fair skin.

We are traditional, conservative, and conform to cultural norms AND we break all the rules and move to the beat of our own drum.

We get arranged …

Disrupting Colorism in South Asian American Communities

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These three women are dark and lovely and they are proof that you don't have to have light skin to be absolutely beautiful. Thanks to skin color discrimination that has a long standing history in South Asian communities, images like this that depict dark skinned females in a positive way are extremely rare to come by.
Colorism (the prejudice and discrimination towards dark skin that tends to happen within racial or ethnic groups) has recently been widely challenged and criticized thanks to the power of social media. Campaigns such as #unfairandlovely have helped to de-stigmatize and normalize dark skin and empower our dark skinned brothers and sisters.  I am deeply committed to  disrupting colorism and in the video below I touch on the history of colorism in India and how this toxic skin color bias has managed to survive and thrive within South Asian American communities. I also explore how Black American history is tied into why colorism has been reinforced here in the U.S. whic…

Reflections on Race

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The topic of race can cause us to feel uncomfortable, defensive, or even resistant. This is largely due to the uncomfortable truths about the history of racism and systemic racial inequalities of our country. Some of us would rather tip toe around the topic rather than discuss it. Others claim that they don't see race or that talking about it is damaging to intercultural relationships, working only to divide us. And then, you have those who believe that we are a post-race society, arguing that racial "issues" are a thing of the past. I've even had a few people tell me that they don't believe in the concept of race. 

 As an anti-racist educator, I am committed to helping others get the past the uncomfortabilities of communicating about race. In order to do so, it is important for all of us to invest in exploring the concept of race and examine how race impacts the lived experiences of ourselves and others. One of the ways I help my students to realize the importan…