This Op-Ed is a collaboration between Shivani Dubey and Fatima Rizwan.
America has erupted in a massive uproar since the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. People have been out protesting all over the country in hundreds and thousands — even through a global pandemic. Since then, the rest of the world has joined them in their outrage. Protests have been carried out in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, New Zealand, and many other places across the globe. And if people couldn’t join these protests, they are relentlessly campaigning on social media, signing and sharing petitions, donating to organizations or relief funds, and educating themselves and others over the issue.
While that happens, I have noticed many people who do not live in America seem to be calling out others who have been posting about the Black Lives Movement on social media. As the entire world seems to mourn yet another great loss in their own way, I particularly want to focus on how a significant amount of South Asians are perceiving the murder of George Floyd.
The SOUTH ASIAN INDIFFERENCE to the black lives matter movement is APPALLING. How DARE you succumb to the white man’s agenda when THEY have DESTROYED YOUR HOMELAND TOO. WHEN THEY HAVE STRIPPED YOU AND YOUR ANCESTORS OF YOUR HUMANITY TOO. Unbelievable.
— Rania (@rrizvvi) May 30, 2020
The most evident form of privilege is seen when a political or social issue fuels a fire in the nation and yet some live in a bubble that is unaffected by the flames. Privilege is not the problem until it turns into arrogance.
The popular narrative that should spark concern is from South Asians truly believing they are not responsible to speak up about George Floyd or Black Lives Matter simply because other atrocities in their countries need more attention. The logic behind this debate is that if it doesn’t concern our country, it can be of no help to Black people and the movement.
The individuals that have normalized black culture appropriation and the constant use of the n-word find it difficult to speak up for their lives. This hypocrisy is truly ironic but is dangerous in more ways than one.
Yes, living in a different country ignites a feeling of helplessness however it is not an excuse to hide from a global citizen’s responsibility. Calling out individuals speaking up about racism lights up another fire. It is vital for South Asians to understand that playing our role means to identify our racist traditions that exist from the way we talk to the products we use and openly reject them. This is not a national issue, it is a global issue.
And the reason why we are so focused on America right now is that it needs our immediate attention. The issue currently plaguing America isn’t just pertaining to the United States. Racism is a global problem. Whether you live in America, the UK, China, or in India– racism is everywhere. So if the issues in America are highlighted, the issues across the globe will be highlighted too.