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.