Although this happened a few days ago, I couldn't bring myself to write about it. Most immediately, my thoughts and prayers are with Srinivas Kuchibhotla and his family.
But as I think about the rest of us Desis, whether immigrants or American-born, I hope Srinivas's murder is a painful but clear wakeup call as to why we need to stand up against racial bias and anti-Muslim sentiment in this country. Because even if we don't share the same ethnicity or faith as the individuals the murderer thought he was attacking (the murderer thought Kuchibhotla was of Middle Eastern descent and presumably Muslim), at the very least, we can be confused for either.
Beyond that, we have a rich (although not well known) history of standing up against racial bias in this country (specifically against racial bias towards African Americans). We need to reclaim that history and actively mobilize and organize alongside other Americans who are being targeted, attacked, and killed because of who they are, what they look like, or what they believe.
Not only is this fight a moral imperative but if we choose to sit it out, I fear we do so at our own peril.
One of the most powerful things we’re witnessing right now is the momentum of the protest movements post election. Like waves, they seem to crescendo at specific moments and places, dissipate back into the populist sea, only to build back up and take new forms elsewhere. Where the Women’s March brought half a million bodies to the nation’s capital, #deleteUber amassed 200,000 customers to delete the car-sharing app off their phones. Another kind of wave.
I participated in the #deleteUber campaign but I don’t think my reasons were the same as most deleters.
This weekend, tens of thousands of Americans took to the streets in dozens of cities around the country to protest President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees. The president was forced to defend his policy.
“This is not a Muslim ban,” he said in a statement. “This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order.”
Basic common sense tells us that just isn’t true.
Sarah Silverman went off script when she told the Bernie or Bust delegates that they were “being ridiculous” for protesting on the DNC floor. Clinton supporters roared in approval, as Silverman articulated what many of them have been feeling for months. As @joshgad tweeted: “Thank you @SarahKSilverman for saying it like it is. Bernie supporters on the floor should be embarrassed.” A quick scan of social media confirmed this was a common viewpoint of many Democrats. I saw Bernie holdouts referred to as “petulant children,” “#BernieBrats,” and perhaps the most condescending label of all “Bros.”
Have seen some explanatory/justifying FB statuses pop up from invitees about attending the upcoming White House Eid Reception.
To those individuals who feel they need to explain or justify their decision to attend: Don’t. You don’t have to and you shouldn’t feel obliged to. If you got invited and are excited about it, please attend with enthusiasm. We need our communities in these spaces. Attendance does not mean blind support of our country's policies. Attendance is not acquiescence. We are part of this country as much as any other faith community and this symbolic reception is part of our heritage as American Muslims. Know that there will be some who will criticize your decision to attend. Take in the constructive criticism but ignore the rest.