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 supremacy and White nationalism is very much alive and well. We are living in a country in which people of color (both immigrants and Black/Indigenous Americans) are seen as a threat to traditional and existing power structures. We need to break down the barriers and build bridges across communities of color so that we can be a more unified and United States of America. Part of doing that is to examine our own anti-black biases, and realize that racist thoughts and ideas are an inevitable part of living in a racially stratified society. In many ways, we are subconsciously socialized to be anti-Black and it is time to unlearn these biases. If you are at the beginning of your anti-racist journey, I can imagine that facing your own racial biases and racist thoughts is uncomfortable. But, it is when we are willing to sit in our discomfort and explore those uncomfortable feelings that we experience increased self awareness and personal growth which can be very useful to building bridges with people different from ourselves and strengthening interracial relationships.

Angela Davis once said “in a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.” As South Asians who are also subject to racism, it’s important that we don’t perpetuate anti-Black racism. We should help to eradicate it and we can begin to do that by examining own racial biases and anti-Black sentiments so that we begin to help disrupt anti-blackness in our own families and communities.

If you want to learn more about some of the ways in which anti-Blackness shows up in South Asian communities, watch the video below. Share it with someone in your own South Asian community, and join in on this much needed conversation.


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