Anti-blackness in South Asian Communities
Updated: Oct 28, 2020
We hosted an event on June 11 that was nothing short of powerful. Inspirational South Asian people, intergenerational and inter-regional, came together to unravel complex feelings within the context of anti-blackness in our own families and communities. There is such a strong desire to learn how to bring the change from within that can lead to real support for black people as proper allies, but the challenge is doing so without divisiveness or demeaning long-held beliefs.
There are a lot of conflicting ideas in the black and brown dynamic, and it's hard to explore them in the general public. The difficulty comes from being a part of these groups and in relationships with people from these communities, who we have to help shift their own perspectives. It's challenging, but when that happens, we can as a community be there in solidarity with the black communities around us. The truth still remains, when the people take to the streets over George Floyd and the countless other black murders at the hands of police, NBPoC might be triggered thinking about their own experiences with racism but we need to dig deeper still. To identify the systemic issues behind these events we must see ourselves as pawns, as complicit, and as perpetrators of anti blackness to do the brave work of dismantling the system.
“Black friends saying: Where are you lot? How are you showing up for us?”
We spoke about our individual efforts to bring attention to anti-black racism in our communities. These were diverse and difficult stories but still hopeful. Many of us can remember experiencing colourism within our communities, as early brushes with anti-blackness. Some are using their position and voice to leave organizations better than when they joined, to teach colleagues to do better and leave lasting legacies of positive change at the end of a career. Some, who are working in the race relations space and are academically equipped with organizational support to improve the lives of minorities, can still struggle with confronting anti-blackness in personal relationships. Their strength to fight oppression on all fronts is brilliant and not without personal costs. Some are exhausted, and still manage to find the energy to get back at the very next day.
The recent events have really touched me, but all that is happening is that communicating with others is disheartening when the message doesn’t sink in. I’d like to have the language to help move forward with these people in our lives.