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UNCLE SWAMI by Vijay Prashad


South Asians in America Today

by Vijay Prashad

Pub Date: June 5th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59558-784-8
Publisher: New Press

An update on the residual societal repercussions from 9/11 on the South Asian American population.

Reverberations from 9/11 in the Sikh culture have been fully felt for more than a decade, writes Prashad (South Asian History/Trinity Coll.; Arab Spring, Libyan Winter, 2012, etc.) in this natural extension of his The Karma of Brown Folk. The author begins in the months following 9/11 as South Asian immigrants (and those even remotely resembling them) became the objects of retaliatory violence in the form of hate crimes and abject discrimination. South Asian businessmen were pulled from trans-Atlantic flights, angry street intimidation proliferated, and random detainments by police became as commonplace as the notion of racial profiling--all contributory byproducts of The Patriot Act. Though “the turban has always provoked anxiety,” writes Prashad, once the shock of 9/11 subsided, what remained were concerted efforts to curb misconceptions about South Asian people, which continues to be a challenge amid a debate over an unemployment-hobbled economy and corporate outsourcing to India. Incorporating personal experiences, the author examines Indian migratory ebbs and flows, how and why South Asian American immigrants became “united by fear,” and the chronological timeline of political activism that united them, regardless of affiliation. Prashad’s diatribes on foreign policy and America’s “imperial ambitions” may overwhelm readers seeking a generalized prognosis, but the author also includes such universally digested statements as, “Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.”

An eye-opening, relevant discourse on the unfortunate fallout of an American catastrophe.