Friday, February 27, 2004

Gazette | First Person: Essays (Mar | Apr 04)

Assimilation, Panjabi MC, and South Asian Social Status

Check out my friend and Satya Circle colleague Dawinder Sidhu's recent publication in the University of Pennsylvania's Alumni Magazine, The Gazette. Dawinder wrote this article a while back, but it still has relevance.

Here is an excerpt from the article discussing how movies like Bend It Like Beckham, and Monsoon Wedding, as well as artists like Panjabi MC have influenced life for South Asian Americans in the U.S.:

"Aside from providing bhangra aficionados with greater access to the music of their choice and moviegoers with authentic representations of South Asian life, these recent South Asian elements in American popular culture may have a profound impact on the ways in which South Asians are viewed and treated in this nation. More specifically, they represent a tremendous opportunity for South Asians to not only become properly assimilated in these United States, but to obviate the driving force behind the wave of post-9/11 hate crimes, namely ignorance.

Those interested in the welfare of the South Asians in America know all too well—through personal experience, anecdotal evidence, e-mail action alerts, and news stories—the severe backlash that South Asians, particularly Sikhs, have endured following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Four days later, Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed; his gunman explained he did it because Sodhi was “dark-skinned, bearded, and wore a turban.” In the five months following 9/11, the FBI investigated more than 400 hate crimes."

Incidentally, I finally got a copy of Navdeep's (of Mutiny) album Yaathra, which is available for purchase on his website. It is a wicked album, and a couple of tracks on the album do a great job at explaining the disillusionment, the chaos, the sadness, and the frustration that many brown-skinned (I was going to write South Asian-Americans, but it wasn't just South Asians who were treated poorly) people felt as a result of September 11 and its aftermath.


Post a Comment

<< Home