Sipping on the Indian Haterade: Hindu American Whiteness and Support for Trump

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Unlike other communities of color in the United States, it has not been so easy for South Asian Americans to organize and act as one.  The very complexity of South Asia and the myriad of internal politics make mobilization a difficult issue.   Even during my time in Atlanta conducting ethnographic research on the South Asian American sporting community, organizations like South Asians for Unity struggled to collectively engage the heterogeneous ethnic, class, and religious South Asian American community in Atlanta.  Sikh American elders and I (a Christian Tamil) shared a sentiment of feeling minimally included in the discussions about peace on the subcontinent.

Thus, even the coming together as South Asian Americans during these precarious times is difficult.  Similarly, in her work on Asian Americans, Linda Vo, in Mobilizing Asian America (Temple University Press, 2004), illuminates the struggle with organizing the multiple nationalities, ethnicities, languages, and histories of migration into one political voice.  Taking Vo’s important work and extending it to understand South Asian American life in the U.S. proves informative and allows us to make sense of contemporary events, such as the Hindu support of Donald Trump.  While South Asian America is not singular nor uniform nor tied politically to a single bloc, I argue here that the small segments who support Trump, particularly Hindu fundamentalists and nationalists, seek wages from that relationship that will not secure rights for the rest of South Asian America, especially Muslim Americans.

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Author: Colin Powell School

"Social Thought with a Public Purpose" The Colin Powell School houses the activities in the Social Sciences at the City College of New York, connecting education and research to critical public concerns. Rooted in the Harlem community, the school is global in its diversity, outlook, and reach.

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