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As hate crimes against South Asians continue to rise, we need to dispel stereotypes and wear our voices.

By Rachna Shah On Sept. 4, 1907, a mob of around 400 white men attacked the homes of South Asian Indians in Bellingham, Washington. They threw them into the streets, beat them, and drove them out of town. Similar riots happened in Vancouver, in California, and elsewhere in the state of Washington during the rest of the decade. It was only a century later that the horror of these events was recognized by Bellingham’s government. Yet while race riots and Asian exclusion efforts are a part of American and Asian history, they are largely ignored in textbooks and the media. India is associated with the caste system and third-world diseases. In film and on television, South Asian Indians are portrayed as extremes rather than as spectrums — as either too willing to assimilate or not willing to assimilate. In moving forward, the coverage of South Asia must be more accurate and comprehensive. Mainstream media not only mirrors, but shapes our culture. It produces and reinforces stereotypes of certain cultural groups. Having one’s history and experiences recognized and appreciated in mainstream media allows young South Asians to embrace their culture, not be ashamed of it. South Asians have long been portrayed as separate and different than white people. They have heavy accents, eat spicy foods, and are generally nerds or geeks, until the very recent past, according to Dr. Bhoomi Thakore, Assistant Professor and Director of the Sociology Program at Elmhurst College. “Today, actors such as Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, Kal Penn, and Priyanka Chopra are players in a larger Hollywood elite circle that inform the ability to move ahead in that industry,” Dr. Thakore explains. “For example, Kaling originally started as a writer for “The Office”, and essentially wrote her character for the show. Over the years, Kaling’s character existed as someone who just happened to be Indian, who was ‘just like everyone else.’”
Related: NO THANK YOU, APU — DON’T COME AGAIN.

Democrats are rejecting the idea that the party must disproportionately yield to the whims of the white working class.

In what was largely considered a referendum on the Trump presidency, Tuesday's election swept a robust cohort of liberal and diverse elect officials into office. In Topeka, Kansas, Michelle De La Isla, a Hispanic woman, won the mayor’s race. In Charlotte, North Carolina, Vi Lyles became the city’s first Black mayor. In Minneapolis, Andrea Jenkins, a Black transgender activist, was elected to City Council. Ravi Bhalla, a Sikh man, was elected mayor in Hoboken, New Jersey. And from coast to coast, Latina, Vietnamese, and female candidates won elections. This week's victories energized progressives and members of the Resistance, the burgeoning liberal coalition that emerged in the wake of Trump's election. “I think those of us who care about the rights of human beings needed this victory,” said Lizz Winstead, cofounder of the reproductive rights organization Lady Parts Justice. “The gravy was so many women, women of color, and trans women won that it gives us hope that we are laying the foundation for the America that we all want to see.”   Beyond electrifying the Democratic party's base, Tuesday's victories shown, senior party leaders that diverse coalitions can win campaigns — an idea thought to be precarious following Hillary Clinton's loss. After the 2016 presidential election with Trump taking the White House, many Democratic strategists thought the Democratic party needed to move further right to accommodate white working-class voters. In an August 2017 Atlantic article titled “What’s Wrong With the Democrats?”, political journalist Franklin Foer argued, “if the party cares about winning, it needs to learn how to appeal to the white working class.” Many liberal advocates were concerned that, these calls to return to the white working-class would mean sacrificing the civil protections of minority groups to win elections. However, after Tuesday's electoral success, many Democrats are rejecting the idea that the party must disproportionately yield to the whims of the white working class.
Related: HOW MALCOLM X PREPARED US FOR A TRUMP PRESIDENCY

Allies shouldn’t need a reason to be allies; they should be cognizant of the injustices rampant in the world and want to change the world for the better.

By Sarah Khan Recently, Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh was heckled by a white woman while he was conducting a meet-and-greet in Brampton, Ontario. Singh, who is Sikh, faced against a woman who has since been identified and tied to local white supremacist groups in Toronto; he endured her ignorant claims that he was going to bring about sharia law--an Islamic ideology, very much different from Sikhism--to which Singh responded with impressive patience and compassion. Claiming that he and the attendees didn’t want to be “intimidated by hate” and that no one wanted “hatred to ruin a positive event,” Singh began calming talking over the woman with phrases like “We welcome you. We love you. We support you” and  “We believe in your rights.” Putting aside the problematic idea of welcoming or supporting yet alone loving someone who believes in a racial hierarchy, Singh’s level-headed handling of his heckler is being touted as the ideal way to deal with those with whom you disagree. It goes back to the fact that people don’t seem to realise that anti-Islamic or racist or sexist beliefs are not just something with which to disagree. A difference of opinion is over something that doesn’t negatively affect the lives of millions of people and doesn’t continue to uphold a system of oppression for pretty much anyone who isn’t a rich, white cis male. Whether apple or pumpkin pie is better is a difference of opinion; believing that every brown person is Muslim and thus an misogynistic fanatic or terrorist is a human rights issue. Pumpkin pie will be okay if people hate it — people of color will not.
Related: NO, YOU CAN’T BE FRIENDS WITH A WHITE SUPREMACIST AND NOT BE ONE YOURSELF.

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