After Kamala Harris was elected America’s first Black, Indian American, and female vice president, South Asians largely reacted with enthusiasm. A September poll found that 72 percent of Indian Americans were going to vote for the Biden-Harris ticket (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). But when the vice president-elect takes office in a few weeks, how are South Asian American communities going to grapple with their legacies of anti-Blackness alongside their celebration of this historical milestone? How will we make sure that we reject model minority tropes and also center her Black identity?
The US is the top military spender on the planet. What’s more, it spends more on its military than the next ten countries–China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, the UK, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil–combined. The gargantuan military budget sponsors 800 American overseas military bases spread across more than 70 countries (Politico). In 2016, U.S. Special Operations Forces deployed to an astounding 138 countries. Given that there are only 195 countries on Earth, this means more than 70% were visited by American commandos (Forbes).
Despite the strong evidence, the GOP has continued to rail against these protests by proposing legislation to prevent citizens from utilizing their constitutional right to protest. In the 2021 legislative session, 81 anti-protest bills have been introduced in 34 states – twice as many as previous years. Often veiled as “anti-riot” bills, these statements exacerbate the hateful rhetoric that demonstrations against police brutality and violence are an act of violence in themselves (NYT).
According to the ACLU, 11% of U.S. citizens – or more than 21 million Americans – do not have government-issued photo identification (ACLU). Much of the conversation around the need for IDs revolves around voting, driven by the rise of legislation that states across the country are implementing that include stricter identification requirements (NPR). Marginalized groups, including those disabled, the elderly population, and people of color, are less likely to have identification than the general population, which means their voices are minimized in elections. But beyond that, the identification gap causes many issues for people across the country, particularly during COVID-19.
Israeli settlers are trying to evict Palestinian families from homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. “Since 1967,” says Amnesty International, “it has been the policy of successive Israeli governments to promote the creation and expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” (Amnesty International).
But race is a social construct, and social constructs have social histories. Our The first place generating criticism is in financial commitments. Companies in the U.S. pledged a collective $50 billion to various racial initiatives (Financial Times), an unprecedented response to social issues (Washington Post). But, research indicates that only $250 million has actually been spent or committed to a specific initiative (Financial Times). William Cunningham, the chief executive of Creative Investment Research, who published the study, notes that until those funds are actually spent, there’s no reason they couldn’t be retracted or allocated to another initiative. Another survey found that tech companies that made commitments have 20% fewer Black employees on average than those that didn’t (Bloomberg), adding more skepticism to some organizations’ intentions.
The U.S. positions itself as a just country with a superior legal system where people are always considered innocent until proven guilty and always granted the right to a trial before a jury of their peers. Except this isn’t true at all. Despite the promise of the Sixth Amendment, we do not have an effective right to trial because today, the overwhelming majority of cases will never see a judge.
Simply put, there is no place for antisemitism in anti-racist work. Antisemitism is antithetical to collective liberation, and it is real. Yet, the accusation that the left is as inherently antisemitic as the right is false: antisemitism in the right, specifically in white supremacist groups, is deadly, systemically legitimized, and funded (JFREJ).