History Repeating Itself: Xenophobia in Political Discourse

With merely one week until Election Day, it seems like candidate stump speeches, pundit commentary, and the volley of talking points from all sides are everywhere you turn. And if you’re anything like me, you’re transfixed to cable news and media analysis about what’s been happening on the campaign trail.

Here at SAALT, we’ve been keeping a special eye on what’s being said in this highly-charged political atmosphere particularly as it relates to the South Asian community. In recent years, we’ve unfortunately witnessed a spate of xenophobic comments being made against our community within political discourse. Such rhetoric has emerged in various forms, including challenging the loyalty of those who are or perceived to be Muslim. Sadly, this hearkens back to the sentiments and actions that led to bias and discrimination against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, and Arab communities in the aftermath of 9/11 and raise concerns about the overall environment leading up to election. We encourage the community to remain vigilant about such rhetoric.

Be sure to check out SAALT’s three-part toolkit on xenophobia in political discourse, which includes comments made by political figures against the South Asian community, remarks made against South Asian candidates for political office, and tips on how community members can respond to such rhetoric, which have been featured by UC Davis Law Professor Bill O. Hing over at ImmigrationProfBlog.