An Oppressive-Antiquated-Social-Stratification

South Asia’s Caste System and its Effects on India’s Rape Crisis

“Rape is a weapon to silence the assertions of the community. A way to teach us a lesson. To show us, including our men, that they are helpless and cannot protect their own women” Asha Kowtal,  Dalit activist.


What is the relationship between sexual violence and caste-based violence? What role does the caste system play in India’s rape crisis? How does it put the peace and security of India at risk?

One of India’s most culturally visible and historically prevalent notions of culture is the caste system. The caste system is an ancient Hindu system of social hierarchy, which separates India’s population into layers and categories. Although at one point the caste system had a meaningful purpose in ancient India, allowing for order and balance within society, the caste system became highly institutionalized during the colonization of India, utilized by the British Raj as a way to divide and conquer the people of India. Still today, the caste system continues to be an oppressive and antiquated means of control in which the upper caste of India exploit for wealth and power. The South Asian caste system is one of the causes of India’s rape crisis, which threatens the peace and security of Dalit’s, women, and thus India at large.

Jati is the Hindu word for caste. There are thousands of different jati in India, all of which differ by religion. At the top of the jati pyramid are Brahmin’s who were typically the priests of India. Second down on the pyramid are the Kshastrias, who were the warriors and fighters. Third down on the pyramid are the Vaishyas who were typically the merchant class. These three castes are the twice born groups, which means they are able to participate in high caste rituals and ceremonies. The final category on the pyramid is the Sudras, who were the peasants and commoners. It is important to understand these four castes, and the role that they play in society, because there is a caste group that does not make it onto the pyramid, one that is so heavily discriminated against that they are eliminated from the entirety of the chart. These groups of people are called Dalits, which literally means, “to be smashed” (Zook, Lecture 8.) The former name for Dalits is “untouchables” as they were considered to be “so unclean that someone from a higher caste could not touch them.” Mohandas Gandhi gave Dalits the name Harijan, which meant “children of god.” Dalits did not favor this name as it snubs them, continues to be disempowering, and labels Dalits as inferior to the rest of society. Dalits were isolated from the rest of India. They participate in dehumanizing jobs such as cleaning up human waste. “Caste historically determined where you lived, what you did, whom you married, even what you ate. In many villages, those rules are still in place, decades after caste discrimination was banned” (Fontanella- Khan). 

In the 1930s and 40s there was an activist by the name of B.R. Ambedkar who used his education and power to liberate Dalits in India. Ambedkar himself was a Dalit and grew up in a princely state who was impressed by the untouchable liberation. There was a program though the state that sent Dalits to the United States to study. Ambedkar was one of these Dalit scholars, who attended Columbia for Economics and the London School of Economics for Law. On Ambedkar’s return from the west he was commissioned to write India’s constitution. In this document he made sure to make caste discrimination illegal. However, law and social practice differ greatly. Ambedkar became an advocate for the separate status of Dalits and wanted to create reservations for Dalit citizens. Gandhi, on the other hand, was not in favor of these reservations and believed that the Caste system must be kept in tact, regardless of the discriminatory status of Dalits. Gandhi declares a hunger strike against Ambedkar in 1932 and a few months later Ambedkar gave in. Ambedkar knew that if Gandhi died of this hunger strike, Dalits would be killed around India (Zook, Lecture 8).

Today, although caste based discrimination is illegal, violence against Dalits is still prevalent throughout India. The city-state where this is most prevalent is Bihar in the North-East of India. Bihar is the capital of village “justice” where if a Dalit receives a scholarship for university, the village justice system will order rape of the daughter or the murder of the son. If a Dalit student were to make it to University, they would most likely face discrimination. On January 17, 2016, a Dalit PhD student named Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad Central University killed himself due to extreme caste based discrimination. “One newspaper said the sequence of events leading to Mr. Vemula's death shows how he was steadily isolated by campus authorities and his appeals went largely unheard.

The university stopped paying his monthly stipend of 25,000 rupees ($369; £258) allegedly because he raised issues under the campus's Dalit-led students union” (Biswas). Vemula along with four other Dalit students were accused of attacking a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad a student wing of the Hindu nationalist BJP. However, many reports said that there was no conclusive evidence of the assault:

“Mr. Vemula's is not an exceptional story of caste discrimination on India's campuses. One report said eight Dalit students had taken their lives "unable to cope" with caste politics at Hyderabad University in the past decade. Between 2007 and 2011 alone, 18 Dalit students ended their lives in some of India's premier educational institutes, according to another estimate” (Biswas).

 In fact, many Dalit students are targeted within University institutions. Because direct abuse of Dalit students is prohibited, there were “vile abuses written on the doors and walls of hostel rooms where Dalit students lived” (Biswas). Many times professors discriminate against Dalit students, asking them their caste background, and unfairly grading their exams. “More than 90% of the students said they were routinely humiliated by examiners in practical and oral examinations” (Biswas). Upper caste students target Dalits and tribes-people because of the affirmative action set to create space for Dalits in university. “So the students are shamed and mocked at as "quota students", and their abilities mocked. In absence of effective student support groups or university structures, warning meltdown signals among suffering students are ignored” (Biswas).

            Some of these suffering students and individuals are not just harassed within the institutionalized setting but are discriminated against based on their gender. India has a major rape crisis, which was sparked in 2012 due to the death of Joyti Singh. Her death triggered nation wide protests across the subcontinent (Zook, Lecture 8). The role of caste in India’s rape crisis reinforces sexual violence as caste based violence, instilling insecurity and vulnerability to Dalit people, and thus the peace and security of India as a whole. “Dalit [women] have been routinely raped by the landowning upper castes […] An analysis of Uttar Pradesh’s crime statistics for 2007 by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties showed that 90 percent of rape victims in 2007 were Dalit women” (Fontanella-Khan). A common saying amongst upper caste men is “You have not really experienced the land until you have experienced the Dalit women” which perpetuates this idea of the exploitation of low-caste women, to be used and disposed by upper-caste men. Although upper-caste men are almost never held accountable for raping a Dalit woman, the defense case for many rapists is that “They would never touch a lower-caste woman for fear of being ‘polluted’” (Fontanella-Khan). In a 1995 case, gang rape of a Dalit woman was dismissed by a judge who claimed that: an upper-caste man could not have defiled himself by raping a lower-caste woman (Fontanella-Khan). Although this excuse is unacceptable, rapists are getting away with committing sexual assault solely due to heavily institutionalized, caste based discrimination, engrained into the minds of India’s judicial system. 

There are several solutions that researchers and experts have suggested to work to end India’s rape crisis. However, India will not be able to end the rape crisis without addressing how it is integrated within caste-based violence first. The world only becomes outraged when ghastly photos are released of the abuse. “Katra Saadatganj hangings attracted attention was that grisly photographs of the dangling bodies were published in Indian newspapers and circulated on social media [while] Dalit activists that this was disrespectful” (Fontanella-Khan).

There needs to be more visibility when it comes to Dalit women. In Shahnaz Khalil Khan’s research paper on Kashmiri women activists, she challenges the notion that Kashmiri women are passive victims: Cythia Enloe observed that “Women need to be made visible in order to understand how and why international power takes the forms it does” (Khalil Khan, 336). When we observe the rape crisis of Dalit women in India, we must recognize the immense complexity of the issue. “The utilization of feminist analysis enables us to receive ‘violence as a continuum-from domestic violence (in an near the home) to military violence (patrolling the external boundaries against enemies) and state violence (patrolling against traitors within)’” (Khalil Khan). Although there are few direct solutions when it comes to India’s rape crisis, by identifying the links between sexual violence cases targeting low caste women, we can understand how and why the crisis goes well unrecognized. By providing Dalit women with a speaking platform, and empowering India with the knowledge of caste based violence and equality, there will soon be an end to this system of oppression and violence.

Works Cited

Biswas, Soutik. "Why Are India's Dalit Students Taking Their Lives? - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 20 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

Fontanella-Khan, Amana. "India’s Feudal Rapists." The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 June 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

Khan Khalil, Shahnaz, “Discerning women’s discursive frame in CyberKashmir,” Contemporary South Asia 23/2 (2015):334=351.

Zook, Darren. "Cultural Forms of Power in India." PACS 135. UC Berkeley, Berkeley. 11 Feb. 2016. Lecture.






Caught in the Crossfire

Sri Lanka: War Crimes and Genocide

“It’s being dead. It’s still being alive. 

It’s No Frills finally has Dilmah
It’s buying four packages to take home in your carry-on because you live in the Bay Area now.
It’s the Scar and the new Goa.

It’s enormous fights on the internet on every page that purports to be about Sri Lanka from a multicultural perspective

It’s being on a raft that takes you from Jaffna to Malaysia to Christmas Island, Australia to immigration jail in Australia, then somehow you bust out
then to Fruitvale because someone on the raft Googlemapped it and it looked pretty

how we have always known how to pilot
small boats in big water

It’s fake Buddhist temples constructed by the government in Jaffna
It’s going home and seeing bullet holes in your grandmother’s empty house
It’s lighting 23 candles in her window
one for everyone who’s died since you and everyone
have not been able to return.
It’s going home to Jaffna if you’re young, Tamil and male and not automatically being snatched by either army. Maybe. For a moment.
It’s white vans.

It’s creepy child molesting uncle,
drunkass uncle at the wedding singing baila with sexually inappropriate lyrics It’s all your aunties wanting to change the subject

It’s an empty, broken heart hoping that the tears/the rivers/ the ocean/ all that wet
will fertilize the seeds
hidden/deep/ in darkness
still to be born

It’s wanting to talk about something else It’s still being alive.”

(what it’s like to be sri lankan in 2012 for those of you who aren’t, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna­Samarasinha) 


Question: Why does the United Nations need to address the war crimes that took place during the Sri Lankan civil war?

By understanding the historical framework of the Sri Lankan government, as well as the UN’s presence in Sri Lanka and the extensive documentation of war crimes, the United Nations should recognize that the supposed civil war in Sri Lanka was rather an act of ethnic cleansing and genocide of Tamil civilians.

The historical framework of Sri Lanka and its government plays an important role in understanding the Sri Lankan civil war, as it is vast and diverse in terms of race, landscape, language, and religion. The majority ethnic groups in Sri Lanka are the Sinhalese who comprise 74% of Sri Lanka’s population and inhabit the South, Central and Western parts of the country. The minority ethnic group is the Tamils who inhabit the Northern and Eastern portions of the Island. The ancient history of Sri Lanka is vast, as Sri Lanka was a major trade center as the thoroughfare of the Maritime Silk Road. There were five major kingdoms of Sri Lanka who became one of the most pivotal, technologically advanced civilizations of its time.

The ancient history of the beautiful island came to an end during the three colonial control of the island. The first European nation to land on the shores of Sri Lanka were the Portuguese in 1505 who gained control of the island and used it as a port. The Dutch, whose time in Sri Lanka was short, were not able to gain control of portions of the Island. Both the Portuguese and the Dutch were interested in the spice trade as well as spreading Christianity. The third European country to colonize Sri Lanka were the British, who were able to establish a central government in the capital city Colombo by 1833. During this period, the first formations of divide and conquer were established as the British were said to have given special treatment to the Tamil population. “British colonialism was invariably a cause as many Sinhalese felt that the Tamil were given preferential treatment by the British invaders as part of the “divide and conquer” strategy in Sri Lanka”[i] It must be understood that the two ethnic communities were disengaged doctrinally, first by religious differences and perpetuated by differences in language.

When Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, the Donoghmore Commission, a British establishment that once worked to draft a new constitution to satisfy the needs of white plantation owners as well as the islanders, endowed suffrage to all Sri Lankan citizens.[ii] Upon leaving, however, the British failed to universalize the two ethnic groups, and resulted in creating more conflict, discrimination, and representative discrepancy. The newly established government of Sri Lanka was found, and allowed for the Sinhalese population to take advantage of their majority status and strength in numbers:
“This change made it of paramount importance that the Tamils be united to ensure that their liberties would not be infringed upon. A new cohesiveness was founded in the Tamil population as it became quickly apparent that the Sinhalese would be unwilling to recognize their basic rights. A group consciousness was formed through Tamil national conferences, associations and a growing professional class.”[iii]

The newly established Sinhalese government realized that they were freed from colonial law and now had unlimited power. Tamils had an advantage of proficiency in English, which was once restricted from the Sinhalese during colonial rule. As a result came the Sinhalese Only Bill, which made Sinhalese the official language of the country. This bill was one of the first discriminatory actions taken by the Sinhalese Sri Lankan Government, along with programs to destruct and displaced Tamil people. These newfound regulations prefaced societal racism of “letting loose the Sinhalese mobs in Sinhalese dominated areas on previously disarmed Tamils. In addition, the army was also dispatched to the Tamil dominated areas with full license to conduct themselves as they please – to kill, rape and pillage” (Jegapragasan.) The discriminatory actions taken by the Sri Lankan government were very much so aligned with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. As a way of nationalizing the majority population the Khmer Rouge found a common enemy. As Donald W. Beachler writes in Arguing about Cambodia: Genocide and Political Interest, “The Khmer Rouge recipe for a return to greatness was predicated on the liquidation of all elements... tainted by such foreign, colonial or imperial legacies.” The Sri Lankan government used their hatred of colonialism and British favoritism towards Tamils as a way to justify the hatred and discrimination of Tamil people. Aside from blatant legal racism against Tamils, Sri Lanka became a socialist government in order to “resist the depredations of First World capitalism by finding a way to cut themselves off from the world economy (Beachler.)

Although there were several community leaders, such as S.J.V. Chelvanaykam who attempted to work within the parliamentary structure, the Tamil population grew to mistrust corrupt leaders. Chelvanaykam, himself, abandoned the fifty­fifty representation of Tamils and Sinhalese, and decided to join the majority Sinhalese party. Tamil youth began to fully mistrust the government and decided to take matters into their own hands. By militarizing and creating their own hospitals, banks, television stations and political parties, the illegitimate formation of their own sovereign state. Balasingham describes the situation of the Tamil youth as:

“Plunged into the despair of unemployed existence, frustrated without the possibility of higher education, angered by the imposition of an alien language, the Tamil youth realized that the redemption to their plight lay in revolutionary politics, a politics that should pave the way for a radical and fundamental transformation of their miserable conditions of existence. The only alternative left to the Tamils under the conditions of mounting nation oppression, the youth rightly perceived, was none other than a revolutionary armed struggle for the total independence of their nations.” [iv]

The creation of the Liberation Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) posed an immediate threat to the Sinhalese government. It wasn’t until 2008 that the Sri Lankan government designed a massive offensive to finally defeat the LTTE. The government began by plotting an attack on Kilinochchi, the capital town first claimed and established by the LTTE in 1990 for Tamil civilians to live. In an interview for Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields Benjamin Dix, the Former UN staffer at Kilinochchi, said “There were a number of air raids every day, quite often at night”[v] The Sri Lankan government wanted to instill fear within the international communities present in Sri Lanka, so that they would have reason to leave the island. The Sri Lankan government told the United Nations they could no longer guarantee their safety. They must leave Kilinochchi and the Tiger held areas. The UN official spokesperson in Sri Lanka, Gordon Vice, stated “The government regarded the UN as impediments to their conquest of the Tamil Tigers. By removing those organizations there were no longer international witnesses to what was coming.” The United Nations presence and subsequent absence in Sri Lanka is crucial in understanding the ethnic cleansing of Tamil people during the Sri Lankan civil war.

With the international eye at bay, the Sri Lankan government was free to attack the Tamil Tigers and relocate Tamil civilians whenever and wherever they pleased. In January 2009, the Government moved into the Northern Tamil held areas and launched major attacks on Kilinochchi, managing to capture the LTTE capitol. A major trend in ethnic warfare is relocation of resettlement of the ethnic minority. Moving hundreds of thousands of bodies isn’t an easy task; this was the case in Sri Lanka. “These were civilians who were driven from their homes by government. [A government] who seemed to view all Tamil civilians as indistinguishable from the fighters of the Tamil Tigers. The Tigers too showed little respect for civilians who were increasingly prepared to use them as pawns and human shields in this battle till the end” ( Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields. ) The Sri Lankan government was on a plot to relocate 80% of Tamil civilians by the end of 2009. In his 180 day plan to relocate Tamil civilians, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa partnered with the Government of India to relocate 280,000 Tamil civilians to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps against their will. As noted in the Forced Migration review’s account of Sri Lanka, “It is estimated that there are over 600,000 IDPs in Sri Lanka, of whom 270,000 have been displaced in the recent military campaign between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Northern Province.”[vi] The Sri Lankan government restricted aid from any international organizations who “have pleaded for relief workers to have better access to the tightly controlled camps ­ which the government calls "welfare villages", but which the Tamil Tigers deem "concentration camps"”[vii]

Recognition of natural disasters in Sri Lanka that directly hit the Internally Displaced Persons camps is a critical in the United Nations recognition that the civil war in Sri Lanka was a genocide of Tamil civilians. I n 2004, a major Tsunami hit the South and Eastern coasts of Sri Lanka. One and a half million people were displaced from their homes, and for the hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians captive in IDP camps, life became exponentially more difficult. “In the East, and after the Indian Ocean tsunami, many families were left with no documented assurance that they would receive a house, or be able to remain on land for which they had no official documentation” (Wassel, 7.) In understanding the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka, it is also important to look at natural disasters in other countries that were largely affected by the humanitarian aid system and were subsequently unable to understand the legal framework of human rights. In Haiti, where 25% of the entire population was displaced, countries around the world poured immense humanitarian aid relief. However, although there were aid services provided to hundred of thousands of Haitian people, “the result of the more limited version of the rights­based approach is that opportunities for participation may exist within self­contained spaces, but the wider right of participation in response and recovery is neglected or inaccessible to those most affected by the disaster.”[viii] In Sri Lanka, while aid workers were supporting the victims of the Tsunami, the national disaster organizations intentionally ignored the concentration camps and the intergovernmental conflicts with the LTTE. “A humanitarian response that does not engage with legal framework of human rights may not properly define relationships between rights­holders and duty­bearer, may bypass the state, and may not fully enhance the ability of disaster­affected persons to benefit from two of the fundamental principles of human rights” (Klasing, 355.)

The outstanding factor of the war in Sri Lanka that should sway the decision of the United Nations, are the hundreds of cell phone videos taken by Tamil civilians and Sri Lankan governmental soldiers of the horrific war crimes that took place. Unlike prior genocides, which used the stories, interviews, and written accounts of war crimes to gain international recognition of the atrocities, the video footage in Sri Lanka provides the United Nations with legitimate accounts of government forces mass murdering civilians, government bombing of hospitals, and the rape of Tamil women. “The standard practice with the Red Cross, throughout the world, in battlefield situations like this, is that they provide the coordinates of medical faculties, which is protected under international humanitarian law, to the opposing party so that both can avoid attacking these spaces.”[v] An hour after the Red Cross worker visited the hospital facilities in the Tamil refugee camps, a shell bomb directly hit the hospital ward. There were approximately 65 attacks on Tamil hospitals thereafter. Civilians were literally pushed to the edge of the water as the LTTE shot at the ground to prevent civilians from escaping. 130,000 Tamil civilians were trapped in the “No Fire Zone” which continued to get smaller as the government moved in. In the final days of the war, the government claimed that government forces rescued Tamil civilians in the “No Fire Zone”. “The United Nations panel has now concluded that 40,000 people have died in the final weeks of the war. Others say the total was much greater.”[v] However, even after the end of the war on May 16, 2009, and after the loss of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran as he was escaping a “No Fire Zone” on May 18, 2009, war crimes continued to take place. Video footage has also been released of Sri Lankan soldiers handcuffing, blindfolding, and executing LTTE prisoners of war. The Sri Lankan government denounces these videos as “fake.” The most horrendous video documentation is of Isaipriya, a famous LTTE television presenter, who was raped, murdered, and mocked by soldiers. As elaborated upon by Daniela Nadj on how gender and ethnicity are intertwined in sexual violence, she concludes that, “Gender as well as ethnic identity combine to seemingly deny [...] women any sense of agency or choice in their interactions with [...] soldiers,”[ix] this is exactly the case with Tamil women during and after the war in Sri Lanka.

“Genocide is ignored, rationalized, or excused, as people ­whether consciously or unconsciously­ see only what conforms to their ideological predispositions. The history of the Holocaust is repeated with examples of indifference to the victims due to political interest. One might have hoped after that experience for a new, world moral standard that would make genocide intolerable irrespective of strategic and rhetorical interests. Unfortunately, such a standard [has not been met]”[x] Understanding the history of Sri Lanka, its regal past and plight through colonialism, as well as the UN stance and inaction in Sri Lanka is consequential in understanding the war in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the documentation of war crimes, ranging from rape to the mass murdering of civilians, is ample proof that the civil war in Sri Lanka was an act of ethnic cleansing and genocide of Tamil civilians. 

[i] "Pre-Colonial Sri Lanka." Untitled Document. Mt.Holyoke, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.

[iii] J. Russell, Communal Politics Under the Donoughmore Constitution, Tisara Prakasakayo, Colombo 1982

[iii] Jegapragasan, Mithulan. "The Division of Sri Lankan Nationalism and Its Economic Consequences." Thesis. 2004. Print.

[iv] Balasingham, A.S. Liberation Tigers and Tamil Eelam Freedom Struggle Madras,              1983.

[v] Sri Lanka's Killing Fields. Dir. Callum Macrae. Perf. Jon Snow. Channel 4, 2011. Youtube. 30 Mar. 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2015.

[vi] Wassel, Todd. "Human Rights Violations in Sri Lanka." Race & Class 26.1 (1984): 111-29. Forced Migration Review. University of Oxford- Refugee Studies Center. Web. 12 Dec. 2015.

[vii] "Sri Lanka Vows to Resettle Tamils." BBC News. N.p., 21 May 2009. Web. 12 Dec. 2015.

[viii] Amanda M. Klasing, P. Scott Moses, and Margaret L. Satterthwaite, “Measuring the Way Forward in Haiti: Grounding Disaster Relief in the Legal Framework of Human Rights,” Health and Human Rights 13/1 (2011), 15-35 [reader]

[ix] Sergey Y. Marochkin and Galina A. Nelaeva, “Rape and Sexual Violence as Torture and Genocide in the Decisions of International Tribunals: Transjudicial Networks and the Development of International Criminal Law,” Human Rights Review 15/3 (2014), 473-488  [reader]

[x] Donald W. Beachler, “Arguing about Cambodia: Genocide and Political Interest,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 23/2 (Fall 2009), 214-238 [reader]



(for concerned friends & family. I have a new roommate, and she is amazing)  

What is it that makes us whole? What is it that makes us human- humane? For me, the art of cooking is the most fulfilling- filling human experience. There are several dishes that I have mastered, however, Sri Lankan cooking has helped me not only stay alive and healthy as I live alone in a studio apartment, away from my mothers wholesome hands; but it has been a spiritually healing experience, allowing me to connect with my heritage, culture, and ancestors.

“Make sure to fully brown your onions and garlic before you add the curry powder” they tell me as I add two heaping spoonfuls of Jaffna curry powder, “Ayooo! Do you want to burn his poor mouth? Be more careful with the portions of spice!” You must cut the onions very thin, small so that they can dissolve in the curry, in the mouth of your lover…”


However patriarchal my ancestors seem to be; however overbearing, unnecessary, and antiquated they act, I take in every line of advice they give me. There is something that they know, that I don’t… I listen, as if my life depended on in.

“The way to his heart is through his stomach, you must care about each grain of rice, every ounce of powder, count the mustard seeds one by one.” “Fill his stomach with love, he will fall in love with your accuracy, you will fall in love with the way he consumes each morsel of laddu.”

I finish conversing with my ancestors, turn off the stove, and head upstairs to my bed. I fall asleep, dreaming of the meal I will share tonight with my lover. Suddenly, my roommate and her boyfriend barge into our apartment…

“Ew” he said, as he took a spoonful of beef curry from the pot, “Its way to hot, way over spiced, too salty, too much- going on”

She responds, “Yeah, and she always talks about how hers is better than her mothers…”

“Oh yeah, well its nasty…”

Little did they know, I was upstairs, and I heard every word, which stung more than a paper cut dipped into a bowl of lemon juice- or rather, eating curry with your hands after a long day at the paper factory… I wanted to scream, take the whole bowl of curry and pour it over their pale, ignorant faces. If my curry was so over-spiced, then why did their people come to my land to steal the very spices they offended?

“Measure rice with your thumb and forefinger. Make sure to add a tablespoon of butter, so that the grains are coated in a delectably salty oily texture.” “As you stir the cumin and onions, pay attention to the way the oil burns. Carefully add the curry leaves, take in the scent as they sizzle in the pan. Add the whole dried chilies. Smell, smell the way it makes you feel.” “This food will cure your illness. The turmeric can be put upon your head, your scalp, your skin, put in your food, will help your memory, your love.”

I listen to my ancestors, as if they are the only entity keeping me alive. As soon as the gas clicks on my stove, my heart calls out to them, and they respond with little words of wisdom and love. They offer me what was washed away, into the Laccadive sea, as the colonizers stole all we had to give. Now, the colonizers laugh. They laugh when we embrace what was once ours. They laugh and mock, and then they turn around and attempt to make the New York Times easy 15 minute chicken tikka masala.

The irony of cooking, the passion I share with my ancestors, is a gift. Not to be played with, not to be mocked, but only to be cherished.



A Hierarchy of Human Rights

Indigenous Peoples Right to Identity



The land is sacred;

 it belongs to the countless numbers who are dead,

the few who are living,

and the multitudes of those yet to be born.

 Penan. Sarawak. Malaysia


In understanding identity rights, it is important to grasp the idea of “land ownership,” and how that translates to minority and indigenous communities. The concept of having a “right to land” or “ownership of the earth” was unheard of in most native and indigenous communities. To put the burden of fighting for something that is not inherently “ours” is inconceivable. The idea of  “ownership of land” is a colonial/Western idea. One must also understand that human rights did not exist when Western colonists were stealing land from indigenous peoples. We now live in a world where the descendants of colonizers are redistributing segments of land back to indigenous communities; while at the same time, other minority groups (many times displaced people) immigrate to these once indigenous inhabited continents. Most of the time these minority communities are forced to relocate because their own native country was inhabited by similar colonial powers. Ultimately, there should be a hierarchy in human rights. By understanding that colonialism caused injustice against indigenous communities, that indigenous groups were excluded from the human rights world, and that conflict took place between displaced minority groups and indigenous groups, one can grasp the complexity of identity rights. Although there should be a hierarchy of human rights, in certain cases indigenous rights have been taken too far, where historical injustices are no longer relevant and often result in a concern for the human rights of children.

In conceptualizing the importance of a hierarchy in human rights, one must first grasp the idea that colonialism caused injustice against indigenous communities around the world. In order to colonize countries, Western superpowers fractured communities using tactics of exploitation and limitless abuse. We have seen the result of this exploitation “in countries like the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, where indigenous people have become [numerical] minorities especially in the exercise of political power” (He, 172.) As many indigenous communities have become minorities, there has been an increase in solidifying what it means to have indigenous rights and gain control of “cultural, political, and land rights” (He, 173.) By universalizing indigenous rights, indigenous people hope “for such rights to provide powerful weapons against all forms of political domination exercised by former colonisers” (He, 173.) Although internationalizing indigenous people has been an important tactic in gaining indigenous rights as, “indigenous people are often seen as a minority who suffered injustice and oppression in the past and are still disadvantaged in the present,” there is currently no definition of a “minority or an indigenous people for the applicability of international human rights” (He, 174.) Colonizers utilized hegemony to divide and conquer, and in turn hegemony became a tool used by dominant groups when colonizers left. This is the situation in Malaysia as “colonial practice is invoked to defend this hegemony, that is, this hegemony is, in part, an inheritance from British colonial assumptions that they help Malaysia is administrative trusteeship for the Malays who were treated as indigenous and were to be given preferences over the Chinese and Indians” (He, 182.) Much of the hegemonies that manifested in the colonial era have created a legacy of public racism and discrimination against Indigenous groups. These social attitudes have swayed politicians away from finding justice for Indigenous communities. “Populations often benefit from the suppression of minorities and even support hash policies towards them. Under pressure to secure votes some political actors in liberal states do not date challenge such prejudice” (He, 185.) We have seen a cyclical trend where, “social attitudes held by a majority towards minorities are crucial in shaping a state’s policy toward minorities” (He, 185.) In essence, the colonial mindset of the majority has much to do with an idea that “Indigenous peoples [threaten] the majority identity though being seen as ‘backward’, ‘violent’, [and] ‘superstitious.’” All of these insecurities are linked back to the idea that colonization created patterns of discriminatory inter-group relations.

Another way of understanding the importance of a hierarchy in human rights is to grasp the history of ignorance towards indigenous rights, “and to explore how the exclusion and invisibility of indigenous peoples have been constant throughout [the formation of human rights]” (Isa, 191.) Indigenous rights were not mentioned in major international covenants. “Neither the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) nor the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) contain a singer mention of the rights of indigenous people, even though both refer expressly to the rights of peoples to self-determination” (Isa, 194.) The juxtaposition of self-determination and indigenous rights is one of the many ironies regarding the blatant ignoring of indigenous communities. As indigenous rights were ignored from the “major international instruments of human rights protection,” indigenous people were also placed under the category of minorities. Sometimes, however, as Baogang He stated in The Contested Politics of Asian Responses to Indigenous Rights, “indigenous people are not the minority […] such as the Malays in Malaysia.”  It is understood that indigenous rights were completely excluded from human rights until the 1980s. Rights for indigenous people did not come about until there was a universal understanding of what it meant to be indigenous:

“When the growing visibility of indigenous peoples meant that more account was taken to them, and this led to a gradual questioning of one of the main tenets of human rights- their universality” (Isa, 196.)

As indigenous rights were recognized, social attitudes became obsessed with the clash between these indigenous communities and Western colonial practice.

            Another way of understanding the importance of a hierarchy in human rights is by comprehending the clash between indigenous and minority rights and how these rights have divided oppressed communities of color. In is important to know that minority rights are “non discrimination rights, that include people into mainstream culture” (Zook, 10/22/15,) whereas indigenous rights are “the idea of preservation, designed to separate and exclude people to ‘protect their culture’” (Zook, 10/22/15.) Indigenous rights and minority rights clash on one basic level: preservation vs. assimilation. Both of these notions are assumptive, as minorities have much culture to preserve and don’t always desire white (Western) normative, as well as indigenous communities who may not want to be isolated from other cultures. This “clash of cultures” was documented in Fiji between the indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians who were brought from India to Fiji by the British to work in indentured servitude. The current conflict between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians was ultimately caused by colonialism. When the British left Fiji, they left social and political unrest. In 1990, Fiji’s new constitution states that indigenous rights trumped minority rights. These intentional racial hierarchies could not have been conceptualized without the divisive nature of colonialism. When in 1999, Mahendra Chaudhry, an Indo-Fijian man was elected as prime minister of Fiji, there was uproar within the indigenous Fijian community. As a result of the minority group elected into political power, a Fijian coop held parliament hostage. After released, Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry fled to India, where he was named a hero for his courage and only escaladed the confusion of Fijian identity.

Although there is an inherent need for a hierarchy of human rights when it comes to indigenous communities, there must be boundary conditions in place to prevent the dangers of misrepresentation. Indigenous and minority rights are complicated and are not always in favor of finding justice for the oppressed groups. In many cases indigenous rights clash with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC,) specifically focusing on the rights of indigenous minors. CRC works calls for diversity in cultural identity of all children, in respect “for his or her own cultural identity, language and values” (Isa, 195.) However, in Article 30, it acknowledges that indigenous children have individual rights, “a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right […] to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practice his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language. (Isa, 196.) These rights of protection come into play when discussing how indigenous culture potentially values the abuse of children.

The rights of indigenous children are explored in Brazil, where many indigenous groups practiced infanticide. Some groups kill twins, labeling them “unnatural,” others determine which twin is “good” and which is “evil”; only the “good twin can live. Nearly all-indigenous communities in Brazil kill infants with any recognizable disability (Zook, 10/22/15.) The Brazilian government addressed this horrendous eugenicist practice by labeling infanticide as murder, but also categorizing indigenous groups are not criminally liable because they are “incapable of understand the illicit nature of their acts” unless they are “acculturate Indians” who are certainly criminally liable (Brazil’s Penal Code, Art 26.) This example proves that there must be parameters around the extent of hierarchy for indigenous rights; however, the Brazilians penal code for indigenous communities that deems them as inferior, subhuman, and savage, only promote exploitation towards these groups and foster the public’s social-dehumanization towards indigenous people. 

Historically, the world of human rights has excluded, misinterpreted, and suppressed the rights of indigenous people. Fundamentally, there should be a hierarchy of human rights where we open “the doors to an inclusive universality in which, thought sincere and open intercultural dialogue, it is possible to determine the minimum requirements for a transcultural conception of dignity” (Isa, 196.) Today we have the means and understanding to move towards a more diverse perception of human dignity.

Works Cited

1.     Baogang He, “The Contested Politics of Asian Responses to Indigenous Rights,” International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 18 (2011), 461-478 [reader]

2.     Felipe Gómez Isa, “Cultural Diversity, Legal Pluralism, and Human Rights from an Indigenous Perspective: The Approach by the Colombian Constitutional Court and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” Human Rights Quarterly 36/4 (2014), 722-755 [reader]

3.      Zook, Darren C. "The Rights of Identity: Brazil" PACS 126. University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California. 22 Oct. 2015. Lecture.

4.     Zook, Darren C. "The Rights of Identity: Fiji" PACS 126. University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California. 22 Oct. 2015. Lecture.


The “Oppression Olympics” and Other Post Colonial Behavior

Anti-Blackness in the South Asian community {created by colonization}

“There is no Hierarchy of Oppressions”

                                                           Audre Lorde


“When you rinse brown across a blue ocean

Does it get lighter or darker?

Your choice …

In 1964 the civil rights act banned discrimination against racial minorities

Footnote: when you throw a piece of paper in a pool of blood – who wins?...

In 1965 the immigration act instituted a system that gave preferential treatment to immigrants with skills

Footnote: bring in brown to keep Black down…

When I cry about Diaspora and missing my homeland

Even though my people chose to come here for more power

Did not mention the countless bodies we stepped on when we arrived

Just to get close enough to kneel

For a white man – dick or…

degree is there a difference —

Carry both on your tongue…” [1]

                          - Alok Vaid-Menon South Asian Activist and Poet


Today, Anti-Blackness within the Indian community is a topic little touched by society. As African students are being beaten to death on the streets of India - while no recognition is given to their lives - one questions the morale of Indian people. How was this anti-Black mindset created in India: can we blame the white man for the intentional separation of people of color to divide and conquer, or do we look at the institutionalized racism within the cultural deep structure of India’s caste system?

On December 3, 2012 five Indian men kidnapped a young Rwandese student of Delhi University. It is suspected that the student was stalked by a gang of racists from the same school. They followed him as he walked home, and beat him to death. They later dumped his body into a nearby river and left his body there to rot. Although details are still murky, sources say that the crime was initially concealed, even from the Rwandan High Commission. This incident was not accounted for, the men were not punished, and the story was not publicized.

Another Anti-Black murder was of Imran Mtui, a young Tanzanian IT student, was beheaded and left at a railway. The attackers were quoted saying that they wanted to “punish the Black.” [2] Mtui was buried headless, his murderers walked free, and his parents were left devastated looking for answers. Although the police claimed that Muti died from a train accident, the family’s spokesperson, Abubakari Ibrahim said otherwise: ''We refuse to believe that the findings are true because under normal circumstances accident could not chop off [his] head and leave all other parts of the body intact. Our own sources told us that he was slaughtered'' [3]

The racist and bigot actions of Indian people lead to the questioning of the creation of Anti-Blackness in India. By taking a deeper look into the colonization of India, one can reveal the internal division of the subcontinent based on skin color and caste. Although pre-colonial India accounted for more than 33% of the world’s GDP, significantly more that all European countries combined, there is still a notion that the British brought wealth, an sophistication to an otherwise forgotten and savage land. As stated by Henry Mayer Hyndman, 20th Century British politician, "Many hundreds of years before the coming of the English, the nations of India had been a collection of wealthy and highly civilized people, possessed of great language with an elaborate code of laws and social regulations, with exquisite artistic taste in architecture and decoration, producing conceptions which have greatly influenced the development of the most progressive races of the West." When the British infiltrated India, they removed the communal school system run by the Gurus for the community’s children. “The guru taught everything the child wanted to learn, from Sanskrit to the Holy Scriptures and from Mathematics to Metaphysics. The student stayed as long as he or she wished or until the guru felt that he had taught everything he could teach. All learning was closely linked to nature and to life, and not confined to memorizing some information.”[4] Colonizers replaced the village schools with Western curriculum such as the "sciences" and "mathematics (in quotations for the sciences and mathematics were already being taught in the guru schools);" in turn students lost connection to their communities. Colony schools did not encourage students to learn the humanities, stripping indigenous people of their ability to articulate the oppression that they faced.

Along with the education system, British administrators created ethnic security maps [5] within all of their colonies including India, Nyasaland in central-southern Africa, the Gold Coast in West Africa, Tanzania and Kenya in East Africa. These maps defined the “characteristics, considered relevant for internal security and order, of the different ethnic communities within the colonial territory. The notion of martial race denoted the ethnic groups believed to produce reliable and efficient soldiers, largely based on official British reports of the natives' presumed military capacities” (Mathieu, 1994.) Through the British East India Company, many Indians were hired for police positions in East Africa. This created an indirect ruling over Africa, using Indian people as pawns. By employing Northern Indians in higher courts within Africa, and keeping Africans separated from their own governance, the British East Indian Company was able to remain in control pinning brown and Black people against each other. This also created the idea of a spectrum of raciality. With Blackness on one end of the spectrum and whiteness on the other, Indians had to navigate where they stood, and stand in between the two. Indians were pressured into aspiring to whiteness. We saw this as early as the Aryan infiltration in Northern India, while understanding that if they didn’t assimilate into whiteness they would be Black, which was implicitly a “less desirable” attribute.

 The undesirability of Blackness was not present before the Aryan presence in India. Looking at ancient texts and religion, a deeper insight is given into the context in which Blackness was glorified in the subcontinent pre-Euro colonialism. We can see this in the ancient texts of Vaishnavism, or worship of Lord Krishna. Krishna who was the god of creation and was depicted as blue representing his dark skin. Krishna was Tamil, indigenous to India, and a descendant of ancient Black Africans who migrated and brought civilization to the Indian sub-continent thousands of years ago. Krishna was referred to as the perfect man, although he is a divine being, and women surrender to him. Krishna itself means “All Attractive: A person is attractive if he possesses unlimited beauty, knowledge, strength, fame, riches or renunciation[6].”  Having the most important god represented with dark skin, reveals that the idea of whiteness as superior was not present prior to European influences on the subcontinent.

Along with the infiltration of white supremacy, British colonization brought the institution of the caste system as a form of divide and conquer. In 1901, H.H. Risley commissioned an Indian Census using caste as a primary category. The British used this census to argue the importance of caste, which soon became an important method of classification. In Risley’s words, “The principle of Indian caste is to be sought in the antipathy of the higher race for the lower, of the fair-skinned Aryan for the Black Dravidian.” Fair skin color and race became a basis for caste difference. Religious differences were seen as supportive of the entire system. “The census was then used to determine where caste groups mobilized, to support the use of segregated land and quotas for various non-Brahmin peoples and to control electoral representation, appointments to government jobs as well as entry to educational institutions” (Dirks, 2004).[7]  Colonialism created the methodology that paralleled intellect and color, which in turn created the inferiority around color. By shunning Blackness within the Indian community and dividing light and dark skinned people, there became a cultural difference that transcended from Eurocentric ideas.

The British institutionalized the Caste System, including its roots in Hinduism. Prior to the British ruling in India, colonizers such as William Jones and Edward Moor created systematic means of oppression by controlling religion and connecting caste with economic standing and color. Colonial social structures created a bureaucracy of Hinduism as a competitor to Christianity.[8] The use of religion and caste was used by the British to maintain control of India, to divide and rule independent groups using skin color as a means of determining social ranking.

My belief is that the institutionalized racism taught though colonization has carried though generations, and is now engrained into the 21st century South Asian youth. As a first generation South Asian, whose mother was born and raised in a British colony in Tanzania and father who was raised in a British colony in (Tamil) Sri Lanka, I have even faced colorism between both sides of my family. My father, a Dravidian man, was discriminated against when my mother told her family that she wanted to marry him. They wondered why she would want to marry a dark skinned man. This dichotomy is seen in many South Asian families that live in the United States, and this colorism is seen towards Black people in the form of racism: “the only thing worse than a dark skinned Indian, is a Black person.” This is displayed in the novel, Desi’s in the House: Indian American Culture in NYC:

Lower-middle class as well as upper-middle-class youth […] who had dated African American men and struggled with parental disapproval expressed perhaps the most emotional critique of the anti-Black prejudices of immigrant parents […] [parents would tell their children] “You can’t bring a kallu [darkie] home.” [9] 

This anti-Black prejudice of South Asian immigrants was created by post-colonialism and reinforced by the Black/white spectrum of American racial formation. This is also reinforced by “historical scapegoat of African Americans by new immigrants.” Household racism has become ingrained into Indian society, both in India and in first and second-generation Indian families. Negative comments around having Black friends, to Black’s laziness opposed to Indian’s willingness to “work hard” only perpetuates the idea of the “Model Minority.” Bernadette Lim of the Harvard Crimson articulates the problematic implication of the Model Minority writing:

“Many believe that the model minority label allows me to ride on the coattails of my ethnicity, giving me a “one-up boost” ahead of others. Yet to me, the model minority myth has done nothing but strip me of my humanity […] Believing that Asian Americans are the model minority diverts attention from past and existing discrimination. The stereotype renders racial inequity for Asian Americans invisible and unimportant.”[10]

 The basis of this idea only perpetuated anti-Blackness within the South Asian community, when families actually began to believe they were superior to black people yet always inferior to white people.  Comments such as, “If we did it, if we escaped our war torn colonized lands, why can’t the Blacks do the same?” are an attempt of comparing struggle, an extremely problematic habit. This frame of mind is called the Myth of Meritocracy, or the Horatio Alger myth. Alger’s novels follow the plot line of “rags to riches” or “pulling ones self up by the bootstraps” The author celebrated capitalist markets and insisted that in the United States, any poor boy with patience and an unwavering commitment to hard work can become a dazzling success.[11] This argument aligns with Mitt Romney’s claim of working for everything he owns, that he did not inherent a penny from his (CEO) father, that he built himself up from his first bottom level job at a consulting firm. That being said, what we call the immigrant struggle, or even the so-called American Dream is simply different than the Black struggle in America. In the Black Girl Dangerous article Especially in the Wake of Ferguson, It’s Time to Destroy Anti-Blackness in the Sikh Community, writer, Mai Bhago, articulates the household racism she faced within her family during the recent Ferguson protests. Bhago writes:

[My family] countered with a variety of racist and anti-Black statements, ranging from describing Black bodies as violent, to conservative racist statements claiming that the Black community should be “satisfied” with the rights that it had. I couldn’t comprehend it. My (mostly immigrant) family had firsthand experience with police brutality and racism in India and in the U.S., as did my uncles, my extended family, and in fact, almost ALL of my community, so why the inability to comprehend the intersection of our struggles?[12]

This same idea is transcends into many other South Asian families. Instead of seeing Black people as brother and sisters, we South Asian’s alienate ourselves, just as white supremacy has taught us to do. For that, colonization lives on, in our actions and behavior.

Despite empirical evidence, South Asians tend to disregard their own discrimination. The first discrimination South Asians faced in America dates back to the 1913 Alien Land Law, which prohibited aliens from buying or owning land in the State of California. This law was discriminatory and followed the anti-Asian, Yellow peril sentiment as well as the anti-foreigner exotification of South Asians.[13] There was then the Immigration Act of 1917, which named all immigrants from Asia to be either a prostitute, if female, or a beggar, if male. The law itself states that there is restricted immigration of:

'Undesirables’ from other countries, including idiots, imbeciles, epileptics, alcoholics, poor, criminals, beggars, any person suffering attacks of insanity, those with tuberculosis, and those who have any form of dangerous contagious disease, aliens who have a physical disability that will restrict them from earning a living in the United States..., polygamists and anarchists, those who were against the organized government or those who advocated the unlawful destruction of property and those who advocated the unlawful assault of killing of any officer. Prostitutes and anyone involved in or with prostitution were also barred from entering the United States. [14]

Therefore, the US only took those who were educated. Preferably in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math. Remember, these are the same subjects they British colony schools taught. This is what I call Brain Slaves, or as Alok Vaid-Menon put it “close enough to kneel for a white man’s dick or degree, is there a difference?” Transcending into modern, more visible racism, post 9/11 South Asians (along with Muslims and Arabs) faced tremendous discrimination. This includes numerous accounts of police brutality, civilian attacks, and micro-aggressions.

“Media images stereotyping, dark skinned, bearded males with Arabic-sounding names as representing the primary threat to the national security of the United States contribute to racial, national origin, and religious harassment in the workplace. Government selective counter-terrorism practices and policies have institutionalized a policy of discrimination against persons perceived to be Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, or South Asian on the basis of their name, race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin.”[15]

One must remember, however, that Anti-Black racism in America is structurally and lawfully different than other forms of racism in America. Because of the extreme discrimination of Black people in America starting from the Middle Passage and slavery to the current situation with Mike Brown and Eric Garner, anti-Black racism takes precedence. [16]

From the Aryan influence over the subcontinent of India, to the institutionalism of religion, to separation of indigenous peoples based on caste and color, colonization and white supremacy created what we now know as anti-Blackness in America within the South Asian community. As Mai Bhago explained, South Asian parents are busy comparing struggles without siding with Blackness against white supremacy. As she watches her father playing the “Oppression Olympics” instead of forging “our struggles collectively and be willing to make huge sacrifices for each other in the name of genuine solidarity.” She realized that he was actually resentful of the preconceived passivity of his people, that South Asians strived for assimilation, while “Black American’s [were able] to mobilize collectively around injustice, accurately name the violence committed against them, set up memorials, establish organizations, and write and publish accounts of their own history [which] is truly phenomenal” (Bhago, 2014.) 

In order for the South Asian community to move forward we must find solidarity and peace with our black brothers and sisters. We must recognize that the regime of white supremacy is not for our benefit, that is continues to exploit our people. As a community we must remember our oppression, our enslavement, and understand that this same torture[17] is happening to our people today. Instead of dividing ourselves into categories based on skin color, economics, region, and caste, we must unite as a people; so that someday we wont have to define ourselves on a spectrum of race, always in comparison to white supremacy.


[1] "Bring in Brown to Keep Black down." RETURN THE GAYZE. Alok Vaid-Menon, 11 Feb. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

[2] Kilambi, Sputnik. "Anti-African Racism in India." Web log post. Black Agenda Report. N.p., 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

[3] "Black Student Beheaded in India." Black Student Beheaded in India. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

[4] Kumar, Dr. V. Sasi. "The Education System in India - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation." The Education System in India - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation. N.p., 12 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

[5] Deflem, Mathieu. 1994. “Law Enforcement in British Colonial Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Imperial Policing in Nyasaland, the Gold Coast, and Kenya.” Police Studies 17(1):45-68.


[6] The Color of Krishna and Allah Quoted from vedic scriptures and Al-Quran; Krishna possesses beautiful dark color;

[7] Malik, Savita. The Domination of Fair Skin: Skin Whitening, Indian Women and Public Health. San Francisco State University Department of Health Education, 14 May 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

[8] Heath, Ben. "The Impact of European Colonialism on the Indian Caste System." EInternational Relations. Swansea University, 26 Nov. 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

[9] Maira, Sunaina. Desis In The House: Indian American Youth Culture In Nyc. N.p.: Temple UP, n.d. Print.

[10] Lim, Bernadette N. "I Am Not a Model Minority | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson." I Am Not a Model Minority | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson. The Harvard Crimson, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

[11] Saracheck, B. 1978. American Entrepreneurs and the Horatio Alger Myth. Cambridge, United Kingdome. Cambridge University Press.

[12] Bhano, Mai. "Especially in the Wake of Ferguson, It's Time to Destroy Anti-Blackness in the Sikh Community -." Black Girl Dangerous. N.p., 3 Dec. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

[13] "Webb-Haney Alien Land Law." Webb-Haney Alien Land Law. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

[14] United States. Cong. H.R. 10384; Pub.L. 301; 39 Stat. 874. 1917 Immigration Act (An Act to Regulate the Immigration of Aliens To, and the Residence of Aliens In, the United States). 64th Cong., II sess. Cong Res. 27-29. N.p.: Davis Tucker and Jessi Creller, n.d. Print.

[15] Aziz, Sahar F. Addressing Discrimination against Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians: Testimony before the Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionSocial Science Research Network. Texas A&M School of Law, 18 July 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2014.

[16] Tran, Kim. "Anti-black Racism." Ethnic Studies 41AC Discussion. University of California Berkeley, Berkeley. 4 Dec. 2014. Lecture.

[17] "How the CIA Tortured Its Detainees." The Guardian. N.p., 9 Dec. 2014. Web.