Acknowledging Black History beyond Black History Month:Embracing the term BIPOC

The end of Black History Month doesn't mean that we should stop learning, thinking, and talking about ways to honor and acknowledge Black American history and the remarkable contributions Black people have made to our country. One of ways we can acknowledge the history of Black Americans is to refrain from grouping their histories and lived experience with all other communities of color. When we use the term "People of Color" we fail to acknowledge the oppressive history of systemic racism and discrimination that both Black and Indigenous Americans have experienced. The term BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) is becoming increasingly popular and embraced by many people working towards racial justice and anti-racism. "BIPOC" is an alternative to "People of Color" and it works to acknowledge the unique experiences and history of both Black and Indigenous Americans. Words Matter. Watch this to learn more about this emerging trend in the langu…

The Evolving Language of Diversity and Inclusion: Stop Using the Word "Minority"

The language of diversity and inclusion is ever evolving and changing. This evolution of language can make communicating about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) intimidating. In my years of teaching and training, I have made my fair share of errors in judgement when communicating about various social/culture identity groups. These moments were often times embarrassing and sometimes even painful, but they were inevitable and provided me with valuable lessons that were important in developing my DEI insight and expertise.

Making mistakes when communicating about diversity is inevitable (this is especially true for people who are at the beginning stages of their Diversity and Inclusion journey). It's when we reflect on and learn from these mistakes that we gain increased awareness and are able to develop into culturally responsive and respectful communicators. One of the most important lessons I have learned through my own growing pains as a DEI practitioner is that WORDS MATTER…

Understanding Anti-Blackness in South Asian Communities

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

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

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.

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

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…