How to Include Anti-South Asian Racism Training in Your Diversity and Inclusion Training


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As anti-racism conversations become more and more common in the workplace, we at Fearless Futures have found that companies often don’t know how to talk about or disrupt the unique experiences of racism for South Asian folks, particularly leaving it out of their equity and inclusion training. To unpack the day-to-day realities of oppression South Asian people face, we must understand how the overlap of racism, colonialism, and Islamophobia creates particular negative outcomes at scale. You can read our latest Learning of the Month “The Origins of anti-South Asian Racism and its Resistance” here for a deep dive into unpacking and disrupting racism against the South Asian community.

The racism South Asian communities face today in the UK and US, amongst other countries, is directly connected to the colonialism of South Asian countries. Colonial ideas and policies used to subordinate, demonize, and invisibilize colonized South Asian communities shape the mechanisms and narratives that lead to racist outcomes for South Asian diaspora communities today.

Once you have read the full piece, perhaps you can circulate it among your colleagues to discuss where to start building your anti-South Asian racism work:

  • Read Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi Tharoor and Islamophobia and Securitization by Tania Saeed.
  • Follow South Asian Activists Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Alok V Menon, Seema Hari, and Rana Ayyub.
  • Engage with the plurality of South Asian voices and experiences, not just those that benefit from other systems of power.
  • Visibilise the oppression faced by South Asian communities — even where they are being framed as ‘successful’ and ‘the model minorities’ — talk about it and create space and forums for the stories and experiences of your South Asian colleagues to be authentically surfaced.
  • Be vigilant to the demonization of South Asian colleagues. Think about how your language could inform feelings of exclusion or activate past violence.
  • Interrogate workplace policies that could systematically disadvantage South Asian colleagues and employees and redesign for equity.
  • Investigate where employees might be appropriating South Asian culture through events, logos, or dress.
  • When talking about change-making, include the history of South Asian resistance.
  • Make connections for solidarity with other racism but also acknowledge the particularities of each.
  • Reflect upon which South Asian voices you hear/trust and which you don’t.
  • Consider where South Asian folks are in your leadership/teams and how you can make them feel safe.
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