Like many other communities, South Asians have long experienced xenophobic rhetoric, bias and violence. Many of those who first immigrated to the United States were subjected to anti-immigrant rhetoric and driven out of towns where they settled. After 1965, South Asians often experienced bias in the workplace including the glass ceiling and discrimination against those who had accents. South Asian working class immigrants who moved to urban areas also faced targeting and alienation in the 1980s. For example, during this time, a hate group called the Dotbusters committed numerous acts of hate, such as assault and vandalism, against Indian immigrants in Jersey City, New Jersey. Two of these assaults were so violent that one victim did not survive and another suffered serious brain damage.
Since September 11th, South Asian, Sikh, Muslim, and Arab Americans have been the targets of numerous hate crimes, as well as employment discrimination, bullying, harassment, and profiling. In addition, places of worship have been vandalized and attacked, including the tragic shooting of the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and the numerous alleged hate crimes in the Muslim community that followed.
In addition, around the country, xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment has increasingly permeated the media and political sphere. For decades, African Americans and Latinos were subjected to this rhetoric, but more recently, South Asian, Sikh, Muslim, and Arab Americans have increasingly become the targets. These verbal attacks include xenophobic rhetoric aimed at South Asian political candidates as well as a more general portrayal of our community as dangerous through statements by government officials and the media.
As part of our mission to ensure that South Asians are able to freely and equally participate in American life, SAALT educates the community, media, and policymakers when hate crimes occur and xenophobic rhetoric arises. Working with ally organizations in the Arab, Muslim and Sikh communities as well as across lines of race and religion, SAALT urges the Administration to create a national task force to address hate crimes, Department of Justice to investigate individual hate crimes and calls for the enforcement of strong hate crimes legislation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus, and Arabs specifically. SAALT also releases factsheets and “know your rights” materials, and monitors incidents of xenophobic rhetoric in political discourse.
View this clip from SAALT’s award-winning documentary “Raising Our Voices – South Asian Americans Address Hate.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can host a screening.
SAALT RESOURCES ON HATE CRIMES AND XENOPHOBIA
- Huffington Post: Safe Communities Start With Each of Us by Deepa Iyer (January 2013)
- SAALT Supports New Curriculum for Teachers and Educators on Bullying and Xenophobia (2013)
- SAALT Reccomendations for Enhanced Reporting and Collection of Hate Crimes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (December 2012)
- NJ.com: Wisconsin Sikh Temple Shooting Recall New Jersey’s Dotbusters by Deepa Iyer (September 2012)
- SAALT Statement of the Record for the Senate Hate Crime Hearing (September 2012)
- Hate Crimes: A Quick Information Sheet for South Asians (September 2012)
- SAALT Letter Regarding U.S. Senate Candidate Pete Hoekstra’s Anti-Chinese Ad Website (February 2012)
- SAALT Letter Regarding Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich’s Comments on Muslim Candidates (January 2012)
- SAALT’s Letter Regarding Tenessee State Representative Rick Womick’s Comments Regarding Muslims in the Military (November 2011)
- SAALT Letter Regarding Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich’s Comments on Muslim Candidates (November 2011)
- Joint Resolution from Congressmen John Conyers, Hansen Clarke, and Andre Carson on Countering Rhetoric and Violence Against Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian American Communities (2011)
- Discrimination Undeterred: Xenophobic Rhetoric, Profiling, and Discrimination Affecting South Asian, Muslim, and Sikh Communities in the United States – Article in Satyam: The Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Journal on South Asian and the Law (2011)
- From Macacas to Turban Toppers: The Rise in Xenophobic and Racist Rhetoric in American Political Discourse (October 2010)
- List of Anti-Park51 Statements Made by Elected Officials and Political Candidates (September 2010)
- Letter to Americans for Job Security regarding Xenophobic Outsourcing Ad (May 2010)
- SAALT Statement on Passage of Hate Crimes Bill (2009)
- American Backlash: Terrorist Bring War Home in More Ways Than One Report on hate crimes and bias incidents against the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian community following 9/11 (2001)
- FAQ about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009)
- Civil Rights Transition Paper (December 2008)
- Addressing and Responding to Bias to Outsourcing Factsheet
- Hate Crimes: Community Wide Impact Factsheet
- Council on American Islamic Relations
- Japanese Americans Citizens League
- Organization of Chinese Americans
- Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
- Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
- Sikh Coalition
- Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)
- UNITED SIKHS