Rahul Dubey, a longtime resident of Washington D.C., didn’t anticipate having such an eventful night when he stepped out for a stroll.
As he made his way back home, he noticed protestors from the Black Lives Matter movement gathering close by and stopped to chat with them. Suddenly, he heard shouts, screams, and “pops” and the crowd in front of his home panicked. He flung open his door as a flood of protestors gathered in panic outside his home. He ushered them inside. Chaos ensued. His home was then pelted by tear gas for over an hour. Dubey sheltered approximately 80 protestors throughout the night until the police finally dispersed. Dubey expressed his perspective on the dramatic situation:
“I wish [my son] was [here] because he could see these amazing souls that are in my house are safe and they had every right to be doing what they were doing, and the police didn’t have a right to just beat them down on the street.
My family is from India. I’m a first generation here, and God, man, do we love America. My dad came over here at age 19 with eight dollars in his pocket. His daughter rose to the top ranks of corporate America, and his son is one of the top innovators in the world in healthcare. I love this f** country, and I love it because of what’s going on in my house right now.”
Rahul is being hailed as a hero. He could even be seen as a role model in the South Asian community.
Now more than ever, non-Black people are making a conscious effort to become allies in the nation’s struggle with racism and the Black Lives Matter movement. South Asians, in particular, are recognizing their privileges and difficult relationships with racism in their own communities.
Various resources are appearing to help facilitate conversation and reflection. Although it is important to participate in protests, donate to funds benefitting activists, nonprofit organizations, and individuals in need during this time, It is more difficult to do the invisible work of talking to our families and friends.
South Asia’s anti-Black history is rooted in colonialism and casteism, and colorism is an unfortunate byproduct:
“In the case of caste, although caste and race are distinct social categories, there are overlaps between casteist and racists mindsets. Caste has served to divide South Asian society into units of “graded inequality.” People belonging to a particular caste can belong to various ethnic and racial groups across South Asia. However, the tendency to racialize caste is a long-standing reality. Oppressed caste and indigenous people are framed as darker, whereas the ruling castes are classified as light-skinned, as well as racially and spiritually “pure”.
Through such perceptions, there is an active othering of caste-oppressed people to ‘darkness/Blackness/impurity’ and in turn, Black people are ultimately subjected to those binaries as well. By examining caste privilege, South Asians can interrogate one of the crucial underlying justifications for anti-Blackness and find new language to raise the consciousness of our communities.”
So what are the most important actions our community can take? First, important discussions are necessary about how anti-Black racism manifests in our communities. Then we can discuss why and how to move forward to challenge those beliefs.
We are beginning a series of action items to support the Black Lives Matter movement and combat racism in our communities. The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013, as a response to the murder of Trayvon Martin. The perpetrator was acquitted, and this outcome sparked protest and fervor throughout the U.S. It is not the sole responsibility, Wear Your Voice Magazine points out, of Black people to protest. Instead, we must all be aware of how we benefit from and can perpetuate racism.
Please feel free to check out our social media channels to learn about our progress and follow along. You can also take a look at this post from South Asians 4 Black Lives for suggestions.
Here at Posana we stand in enthusiastic support and add our voice to empower and support Black lives.