South Asia consists of countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, and many more. There’s a myriad of different cultures and traditions across this region, but, we often see the same social issues throughout each country. A lot of these problems are going ignored, and it’s time we stop and think about the toxicity in our own cultures.
Cultural appropriation is brought up a lot by young South Asians who find it disrespectful. Although cultural appropriation is an important topic that needs to be discussed, many people falsely believe that it is the only problem surrounding the South Asian community.
Not only is that wrong, but it’s completely ignorant to believe that people don’t face any other serious adversities because of our culture.
For example, there is an enormous amount of anti-blackness rooted in our cultures. I guarantee, if you’re South Asian, you have probably heard a relative or friend say something racist against black people. You probably have, too. It’s in our everyday conversations. It’s normalized in our society, and that should be completely unacceptable. How can our people complain about racism, then turn around and say so many horrible things about black people? In a time where black people are standing up for themselves, we need to stand in solidarity with them.
Unfortunately, that’s not all there is. Colorism is extremely prevalent in South Asia; in fact, the worldwide skin whitening industry is expected to be worth $23 billion USD in 2020, and South Asia is a huge contributor for that figure. Dark skinned people are taught from a young age that their skin is unattractive and that they have to lighten their skin, which can cause serious health issues, to be considered pretty.
People from South Asia have been exposed to things like homophobia, misogyny, classism, and so much more since they were children. These ideals that we still hold today create a toxic environment for many people, especially our own.
In many South Asian countries, women are still restricted of certain freedoms, people who are LGBTQ+ live in fear of people finding out their sexuality, and the poor are forgotten or exploited.
We cannot let our community to keep going on like this, It’s 2017, and people are becoming more and more socially aware. So, there is no other time but now to address, confront and try to fix the problems in South Asia that continue to oppress people.