Lesson 3: South Asian Americans and Politics

This lesson should aim to:

  1. Discuss and analyze the involvement of South Asians in government. In particular look at how Indian-Americans have become governors or senators, how have they used their background to become successful in politics.
  2. Read about the political activism of South Asian Americans throughout history.
  3. Understand how Islamophobia has impacted South Asians. Discuss how Islamophobia does not only impact Muslim desis.

Reading: Uncle Swami by Vijay Prashad

Interestingly, two out of the three Indian-American governors represent the Republican party (Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley). Analyze how both of these governors have used their South Asian backgrounds to help them succeed in politics.

Discuss the involvement of South Asians in direct action particularly in racial and religious issues:Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

  • In response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, especially after events in Ferguson, MO, South Asian activists nationwide began organizing #SouthAsiansforBlackLives. Notable demonstrations were seen in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.
  • #DalitWomenFight does their North American Tour. The Dalit Women Fight was a movement began by lower caste women in India to protest caste- based sexual violence and state violence. The goal of their North American tour was to “break the silence on caste apartheid and caste rape while also standing shoulder to shoulder with other women breaking the silence on state violence all across the U.S.”
  • Urvashi Said, a prominent Indian American LGBT activist and lawyer, becomes the Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
  • Manavi is the first South Asian focused domestic violence organization in the United States based in New Jersey. Similar organizations begin to emerge in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, and New York. This causes a stir in the South Asian community over concerns of the nature of violence, roles of women, and acculturation.

Using this resource (http://saalt.org/policy-change/post-9-11-backlash/) discuss the impact of Islamophobia on the South Asian population in America. Does it only impact Muslims? Why or why not? Discuss:

  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports receiving 488 complaints of post-9/11- related employment discrimination.
  • FBI reports that after 9/11, reports of violence against Muslims rose by 1600%. Nineteen people are murdered in hate violence related to 9/11.

Assignment: Research a protest or action staged or led by South Asians. What was the background of this protest? What was its impacts?

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