Disrespecting Diwali: A Look at Our Cultural Hypocrisy

A child lights candles during Diwali, or the "Festival of Lights".
A child lights candles during Diwali, or the “Festival of Lights”.

By Guest Contributor: Sridhar Karra

When I was a college student, I attended my university’s annual Diwali program, organized by a Hindu student organization on campus. In a university with a large number of Hindu students, turnout at this yearly event is substantial and attendance stretches far beyond the Hindu population. Students who are not Hindu or Indian enthusiastically attend in droves, with some professors in the Sociology department even urging their students to attend in order to understand and appreciate the Hindu festival.

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‘Quantico’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 9, “Guilty”

QUANTICO - "Guilty" (Photo Credit: ABC/Phillippe Bosse)
QUANTICO – “Guilty” (Photo Credit: ABC/Phillippe Bosse)

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)

Lakshmi’s recaps for “Quantico” episodes 1-7 can be found here and for episode 8 onward here, including her recap of the show’s most recent episode. Her recaps appear on Reappropriate every Monday morning! As with reading any recaps, please be wary of spoilers.

And… we’re back! We don’t know about you, but we were super antsy last Sunday without any ‘Quantico’ to look forward to. Fortunately for fans of television’s most confusing drama, Quantico didn’t lose a beat and dove right back into the action.

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‘Quantico’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 8, “Over”

QUANTICO - "Over" (Photo credit: ABC/Phillipe Bosse)
QUANTICO – “Over” (Photo credit: ABC/Phillipe Bosse)

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)

Lakshmi’s recaps for “Quantico” episodes 1-7 can be found here. Future recaps will appear on Reappropriate every Monday morning! As with reading any recaps, please be wary of spoilers.

“In light of recent world events, the following drama contains particularly impactful subject matter.”

Those words flashed across the screen in the opening moments of this week’s episode of ‘Quantico,’ a show that can be triggering at the best of times and becomes even more so in light of Friday’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. After all, it would be hard to fault anyone for skipping a show built around solving the mystery of who decided to blow up New York’s Grand Central Terminal after watching a weekend’s worth of news updates from France.

(It also should be noted that while CBS decided to temporarily pull new episodes of ‘Supergirl’ and ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ because this week’s episodes had themes that closely resembled the events in Paris. Both ‘Quantico’ and ‘Homeland,’ two shows in which terrorism is a central theme, decided to stick with their original broadcast schedules.)

But back to our world of ridiculously attractive fictional FBI recruits. When we last left Quantico-land, Alex was struggling to lead Agent Ryan Booth to safety after he was shot while escaping a Queens row house-turned-terrorist cell. Sunday’s episode begins with a shot of an FBI control center buzzing with activity as they try to track Alex Parrish down.

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Unprotected by Assimilation: Lessons from the Case of Duy Ngo

Police officers arrive to the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Police officers arrive to the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo)

By Guest Contributor: Bao Phi

When I began reading that a White House petition had collected 100,000 signatures — many of them reportedly Chinese names — in defense of Peter Liang, a cop who shot and killed an unarmed Black man during a patrol of a housing project in New York, I was perplexed.  At a time when the horrible abuse and killing of nonwhite bodies, predominantly Black, was making the news every week, why were so many Asian people defending an officer who wrongfully killed a Black man?  And where were these 100,000 people during the wrongful death lawsuit by the family of slain Hmong teenager Fong Lee, killed by a white officer (awarded a Medal of Valor for the killing) with a history of abuse against Black and Hmong people?

But I took a step back, and read about some of the Chinese people who were in support of Liang.  Some of them felt he was scapegoated.  Some claimed the Liang case was about political maneuvering.  Some said they were tired of being pushed around.   What was going on here?  How was the information on this case being broadcast in non-English media?  It’s hard to get more than 100,000 Asians in America to sign onto anything — who got them to sign on to support this officer?

To some, it all may seem cut and dried.  Asians are just being selfish and anti-Black again, only coming out of their wannabe white lifestyles to support one of their own.  But then what about the cases where Asians have been the victims of police violence that don’t draw anywhere near the same zeitgeist?  How do those instances of racist violence against Asians, statistically not as frequent but still racist, fit into our understanding of state sanctioned violence against Asian bodies?

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Guest-Post: Racially Related | #NotYourMascot #Solidarity #AAPI #Native #NDN

This is a guest post by writer Jennie Stockle (@IndigeniusIdeas, Indigenius Ideas) as part of this week’s series of posts written in solidarity with #NotYourMascot. Jennie Stockle has been passionately fighting to change the Washington R*dskins team name through multiple online campaigns.

Racially Related

I often talk with my children about different aspects of life, without bringing up being Native American, as they grow into adults. Honestly, it had been a while since I asked them about what being Cherokee is like outside our home. What their views on identity has meant to them? Have I helped them navigate the confusing Native American waters?

A deep coversation is what followed that I want to share bits of with you. I hope after reading this you can have similar conversations with others. Being able to vocalize how we feel about our place in the world is an important topic. It can give a sense of validation and understanding between people, be it a parent to child or friend to friend.

My daughter told me that once she had watched Peter Pan without me there. “I guess you were at work or something. I don’t remember,”she said. It left her confused. She didn’t talk to me about it. She just didn’t know what to make of it. After all, none of the “Indians” in the movie resemble us. “The pickaninnies” don’t resemble the Natives we meet at pow-wows or stomp dances either.  The “singing Indian’s music” doesn’t sound like the Cherokee children’s music I play for my kids in the car. Being so immature, she was unable to describe what she felt. So, she didn’t say anything to us.

Of course, I felt bad for not having prevented her watching those clips. I felt guilty that I had no idea at all about it happening. I asked her if she felt I had let her down? “No, mom. I am not confused about being Cherokee. You should see some of the Native American kids at school. Sometimes they make “Indian” jokes just to fit in. When they act like that, I just walk away.”I understood what she meant. Sometimes, when your a kid, it’s easier to leave a conversation. It shouldn’t be up to kids to explain that embracing Native American stereotypes for the amusement of non-Natives isn’t healthy for a person’s mentality. Plus, confronting a Native child in front of the peers she/he is trying to impress can embarrass a Native kid with self-esteem issues to begin with.

“Mom, do you remember when I came home with a coloring page of Pilgrims I had to do in class,” my other daughter chimed in. “I told the teacher it was a lie. She made me color it anyways,” she said.

Continue reading at Indigenius Ideas

Act Now! Please take a minute to sign this petition demanding Dan Snyder change the name and mascot of the Washington R*dskins created by 18millionrising (@18millionrising) and check out the “central hub” post for our Week of Solidarity with #NotYourMascot for more writing to share and retweet, as well as other activism ideas.