name.............................................................................................................

Raahima Shoaib
    
Did you ever deal with people looking down on you for associating with your culture?
What’s the main type of ignorance you’ve dealt with?
Did you have an experience with TSA that was a result of racial profiling
How do you react to racist remarks?
Do you have any experiences related to the 9/11 attacks?
How did 9/11 change the way you percieve American society?
What do you think Trump being president-elect say about the atmosphere of this country?
Shayan Farooq
    
Being of South Asian descent living in America, how do you define and express your individual culture? How does this play a part of your overall identity?
I think it plays an enormous role in my overall identity — I've always seen myself as Pakistani first and American second, despite being born and raised in the U.S. However, this says more about identity politics within the States than it does myself; my overall identity has been informed by my heritage and art (as opposed to being driven or defined by).
South Asians (Riz Ahmed, Hassan Minhaj, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari) have started making appearances in American pop culture, movies and tv shows, does this benefit it us as a whole? Are there any repercussions of this?
I'm a strong advocate for increased representation of all minority groups in American pop culture and media, but only when that presence is positive. While "positive" and "negative" presence is subjective, a clear example is the token South/East Asian kid that's generally a "computer nerd" (as we see on several children's programming, and in the first couple of seasons of The Big Bang Theory). Propagating stereotypes is not an effective way to push representation in pop culture, so that's the closest I can say to "harmful."
We live in a time where a large group of people have been very critical of our skin tone, but very accepting of our cultural aesthetic; does this play a part in your personal identity as an American Desi, how?
It does, only in the sense that it pushes me further away from White America and makes me less inclined to identify as American. This is likely one of the reasons that I identify more as Pakistani than as American, despite being born and raised in California.
How did attacks effect your identity in America? Did they cause you to hide your roots?
I don't remember ever actively trying to hide it, but I was a lot more embarrassed of it for a while. I wouldn't want to go anywhere in public (even the sidewalk) in shalwar kameez, I never really let on that I spoke Urdu, etc. I don't think I would call it "hiding," it was more of trying to suppress it whenever I felt it was coming on "too strong."
What do you think the future of the South Asian identity is in America? (Keeping in mind that the president-elect is Trump).
Stronger than ever. We're a pretty powerful group, and we're never going to let a human dumpster like Trump suppress our presence.
Ashwin Vaswani
    
What is your personal definition of the term "American Desi"?
How was it living in India and the US, how did that effect your identity?
What do you think the future of the South Asian identity is in the US?
What are the main differences in American culture and South Asian Culture that you've come across?
Samar Saif
    
We live in a time where a large group of people have been very critical of our skin tone, but very accepting of our cultural aesthetic; does this play a part in your personal identity as an American Desi, how?
Its honestly so irritating to me when people don't recognize the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation because people who have not faced the discrimination and racism associated with being a South Asian do not understand how insulting it is to wear parts of traditional culture that gets mocked when people from that culture wear it. As an American Desi I try to educate people and I wear aspects of my culture with pride and try and help people who face discrimination and hate
How did attacks affect your identity in America? Did they cause you to hide your roots?
Originally, I did not embrace my heritage but as I have grown older and adopted my own self schema I have learned to embrace it regardless of hate.
What is your personal definition on the term "American Desi"?
Someone who is born in America but of South Asian descent.
Shahbano Nawaz
    
Being of South Asian descent living in America, how do you define and express your individual culture? How does this play a part of your overall identity?
How is the presence of Desis in media helping the western view of Desi culture.
South Asians (Riz Ahmed, Hassan Minhaj, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari) have started making appearances in American pop culture, movies and tv shows, does this benefit it us as a whole? Are there any repercussions of this?
Do you have any experiences related to the 9/11 attacks?
Ali Reza
    
What is your personal definition on the term "American Desi"?
Someone ethnically South Asian growing up in the US and acclimating in any part to what is considered American culture, from music, clothes, vernacular, or behavior.
South Asians (Riz Ahmed, Hassan Minhaj, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari) have started making appearances in American pop culture, movies and tv shows, does this benefit it us as a whole? Are there any repercussions of this?
It has only benefitted - For a long time, desis seem to ask for representation instead of participating in discussions ourselves, especially in regards to being a part of entertainment and media. We finally have individuals who aren't just dedicated, but are talented and bring a voice to a wider spectrum.
What are the main differences in American culture and South Asian Culture that you've come across?
American culture doesn't seem to have roots, and traditions seem to evolve every generation. Things that seem conservative in the 90's no longer seem problematic. South Asians are insistent on "keeping the tradition" but don't evolve - both the wonderful parts of our identity - the language, the family structure, the religion, the community gathering, the food, the arts - and the obsolete parts of our identity - gender roles, career expectations, inclusivity, classism - are retained with equal weight. Almost as if we cannot hold one without the other.
Did you have an experience with TSA that was a direct result of racial profiling?
Yes, I was on the no fly list because of my name.
Racial slurs are a huge part of immigrant culture, what are ones you've been called?
Sand N*****
Terrorist
Al Qaeda
Paki
Shit Skin
Pakistani Werewolf
Chemical Ali
9/11 has had a large impact on people who belong to several different communities within American and around the world and still has a huge impact on how muslims are perceived in society and the media. Do you have any experiences related to the 9/11 attacks?
Tension within my high school. I wrote an article that got printed in the school newspaper about how I didn't feel like a person anymore, just a target. It was circulated outside my school, but my social life had no impact. I was already a shy kid, and it only made me feel more like an outcast to see people call me names. When I was 17, I broke down crying once in the locker room before a hockey game as my team was teasing me, and ended up punching one of my teammates in the face. He accepted that he deserved it.
Aliya Amir
    
Do you choose to wear any identifiers of your culture, besides the color of your skin? Has this ever been a main point of racist remarks towards you? (examples: hijab, bindi, topi?) Has this ever made you consider taking off this identifier?
I have worn the hijab since I was five years old, out of choice. I have faced numerous instances of racism, including dirty looks, verbal abuse, and differential treatment. Recently, I have considered removing my hijab, especially after the Chapel Hill shootings and after Trump's election - however, I have not because it is relatively safe where I attend school.
South Asians (Riz Ahmed, Hassan Minhaj, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari) have started making appearances in American pop culture, movies and tv shows, does this benefit it us as a whole? Are there any repercussions of this?
I honestly haven't felt any impact from celebrities like Mindy Kaling, who aren't Muslim but are South Asian. However, seeing the success of Zayn Malik and seeing Riz Ahmed in Rogue One and other Muslims in the media have definitely made an impact on me, especially when these celebrities aren't typecast as terrorists. It's a great benefit to us to have representation in the media. As it allows us to point to people who can represent us and it allows our youth to find role models who are Muslim too.
We live in an time where a large group of people have been very critical of our skin tone, but very accepting of our cultural aesthetic; does this play a part in your personal identity as an Americn Desi, how?
I'm relatively light skinned so I definitely don't feel the effects of this as much as my darker skinned counterparts. But it definitely feels like they want all of the culture without the people - they want to strip us of our food, our jewelry, our customs but they don't want US.
Did you have an experience with TSA that was a direct result of racial profiling?
Literally every time I fly between the Bay Area and SoCal, I'm pulled aside "randomly" to be searched extra.
Did you ever feel the need to assimilate into American culture to fit in, what led to that?
As a child, I definitely felt that. I felt as though my language was ugly and embarrassing and my parents' accents were embarrassing - I would hide this from my friends, not calling my sister 'baji' in front of friends and not speaking Urdu at all - which led to me not retaining the language, something I definitely regret.
Rafat Aabasi
   
How was your transition into American society?
What do you think the future of the South Asian identity is in America?
Did you have an experience with TSA that was a direct result of racial profiling?
What are you thoughts on the claim of "post-race" and where do you think that leaves us a society?
Manaeha Rao
    
We live in an time where a large group of people have been very critical of our skin tone, but very accepting of our cultural aesthetic; does this play a part in your personal identity as an American Desi, how?
I find it confusing and weird how people take our traditions and warp them for themselves, but when it comes to accepting us as a whole it's ridiculous. You can't pick and choose things to "learn" from a culture. You can't persecute a race for the color of their skin and continue to steal everything from them.
Did you ever alienate yourself from your culture? Why?
There were times I wanted to alienate myself because no one at school was like me, and I felt uncomfortable being different. My skin was a different color, I looked different, I had different experiences than the people at school.
What do you think the president-elect being Trump says about the atmosphere of this country? What do we as South Asians have to do now for ourselves and other minorities? What does it entail for kids that will grow up in this generation?
All minorities should come together and unite because we are gonna need each other to survive in this country that we built. Sadly I think kids will have a much harder time facing lots of personal racism.
Anisah Ullah
    
Did you ever feel the need to assimilate into American culture to fit in?
Do you choose to wear any identifiers of your culture, besides the color of your skin? Has this ever been a main point of racist remarks towards you?
You moved to Bangladesh when you were younger, how did you adjust to life there?
Sahir Khan
    
Do you choose to wear any identifiers of your culture, besides the color of your skin?
I wear a necklace with the a locket embossed with Sai Baba of Shirdi, and I wear a Kara which is an iron bracelet worn by Sikh's. Normally I keep my necklace hidden cause I don't want to be flashing gold around but back in my first high school if people saw my locket, and I explained that it was an indian thing, I could expect "turban head!" or "paki" something along those lines to be exclaimed soon after.
Did you have an experience with TSA that was a result of racial profiling?
When I was 8-10 years old my name was red flagged as a bomb threat because of 9/11.
What do you think the future of the South Asian identity is in the US?
I imagine the pendulum continuing to swing to the positive.
Yousuf Syed
    
What are the main differences in American culture and South Asian Culture that you have come across?
Have you ever been attacked because of your race? What was the nature of the attack?
Most South Asians rely heavily on their community in the US, how would you describe your community?
Being involved in film, what are your thoughts of the portrayal of South Asians in entertainment?
Aayat Syed
    
What do you think are the most accepted parts of South Asian diaspora and what are the least?
I think that because of internalized racism, it's really easy for immigrants and second gen/etc. South Asians to conform to their expected "roles". It's difficult to be a brown person who wants to break from those molds and go and do something radically different, like be an author, artist, etc. versus being a doctor, lawyer, etc.
What are the main differences in American culture and South Asian Culture that you have come across?
There are a lot more of suppressing emotions in South Asian culture. It's still taboo to be someone, especially a woman, who embraces their sexuality, or to have some sort of mental illness (especially with depression) in South Asian culture. It's also a much more success-based culture, where your entire reputation is dependent on grades or jobs. That said, the South Asian culture to me seems more unified than American culture, because there's a commonality to all of it. Along with that, with racism being more prominent, everyone is connected in an even tighter way, as we all fight through the bigotry together.
Did you ever feel the need to assimilate into American culture to fit in?
I feel like I have to assimilate to American culture to prove to people that Desi people are more than their stereotype and can be "normal" too. It's not like this was even a new revelation either, but I remember doing things like washing my hands and scrubbing them super hard in order to get my mehndi off faster if someone told me it looks like poop. I remember taking things like kabob and naan to school but cracking my lunch box barely open to eat it just so it wouldn't get all smelly and people would make jokes about how someone farted or something. someone could excuse all of that for things that happened in my childhood and that "times are different now."
Did you ever alienate yourself from your culture? Why?
It's kind of embarrassing to admit, but I was really scared of being desi in elementary and middle school. It wasn't any one specific remark that made me decide "okay, from today, i'm going to be completely American," but rather a build up of racist comments. Just having kids saying mildly racist things in passing, even if it wasn't to me, made me super self conscious in elementary and middle school about my identity. I never really learned to fully embrace my culture until about freshmen/sophomore year of high school, which is way later than I would'v liked it to be. most of that newfound acceptance was thanks to the sudden surge of representation of Desis, too.
Empowered desi girls on instagram, empowered Desi men and women on TV, seeing other POC being proud of their own cultures, all of that led me to re-embracing my culture and identity.
Sabrina Farooq
    
Do you think South Asians are making our culture more engrained within American society?
What do you think the future of the South Asian identity is in America?
We live in an time where a large group of people have been very critical of our skin tone, but very accepting of our cultural aesthetic; does this play a part in your personal identity as an american desi, how?
Being of South Asian descent living in America, how do you define and express your individual culture? How does this play a part of your overall identity?
Did people have prejudice remarks about your identity towards you?
Yumna Khan
    
Did you ever alienate yourself from your culture? Why?
South Asians (Riz Ahmed, Hassan Minhaj, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari) have started making appearances in American pop culture, movies and tv shows, does this benefit it us as a whole? Are there any repercussions of this?
Do you have any experiences related to the 9/11 attacks?
What were some incidents where you were talked down on based on your look?
In your opinion will our culture and identity ever start to integrate within the country, or will we always be the "other."
Stedman Halliday
    
How did interacting with your South Asian heritage influence you?
What are the main differences in American culture and South Asian Culture that you've come across?
Afnan Ahmed
    
How would you describe your emotions when you were interviewing to become a US citizen?
Do you remember 9/11?
What do you think are the most accepted parts of South Asian diaspora and what are the least?
How do you deal with racist remarks?
Shaurjya Banerjee
    
Did you have an experience with TSA that was a direct result of racial profiling?
We live in an time where a large group of people have been very critical of our skin tone, but very accepting of our cultural aesthetic; what are your thoughts on that?
In your opinion will our culture and identity ever start to integrate within the country, or will we always be the "other."
It's said we live in a "post-race" society, when clearly Islamophobia is at an all time high, and race is a major part of discussion today. What are you thoughts on the claim of "post-race" and where do you think that leaves us a society?
Sana Khan
    
What do you think are the most accepted parts of South Asian diaspora and what are the least?
Immigrant culture a lot of the time is built up by family and a families sacrifice to leave a life behind and start again in a new country. How does your relationship with your family influence your personal identity?
Being of South Asian descent living in America, how do you define and express your individual culture?
Nabila Hussain
    
What is your personal definition on the term "American Desi"?
The term "American Desi" is a step toward inclusiveness of South Asian peoples as opposed to "Asian American." I think the term stems from a need for Desis to find a place in American society, and do it without compromising the culture important to us. It is upsetting that the term "Desi" is marred with a dotted red line (on word, etc.), emphasizing to us that we are not accepted in mainstream American culture just yet.
South Asians (Riz Ahmed, Hassan Minhaj, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari) have started making appearances in American pop culture, movies and tv shows, does this benefit it us as a whole? Are there any repercussions of this?
Seeing people with my skin and features as beautiful in mainstream media helps with body image for many of us South Asians. Brown is beautiful. We can be seen as successful, not just as doctors or cab drivers as an extra in television. Brown can be funny (as Hasan is in The Daily Show).
Did you ever feel the need to assimilate into American culture to fit in?
The burden lies in conformity for a lot of us. Our food is too flavorful, our spices too smelly, our clothes too bold, our music too loud to fit into American culture. There is a pressure sometimes to tone it all down to fit into the little white square encased in black on paper - the square left for "Indian" under ethnicity. But I am more than that box. I do not fit into the box I've been left to conform to. It's just a matter of other people realizing that I am just as American as the average blond-haired, blue-eyed American-flag bearing man.
What do you think are the most accepted parts of South Asian diaspora and what are the least?
See, the thing about accepting South Asian elements into mainstream Western society is that it's contingent on cherry-picking the elements to be "cool." South Asian culture will never wholly be accepted, only elements of it will be used to create American society.
Saurav Jammalamadugu
    
What is your personal definition on the term "American Desi"?
About to enter the field of professional acting, how do the Desis in media shape your future endeavors?
What were some incidents where you were talked down on based on the way you look?
How do you balance your South Asian culture and American culture?
Did you ever feel the need to assimilate into American culture to fit in?
Have you ever been physically or verbally attacked because of your race? What was the nature of the attack?
Asad Yazdani
    
Most South Asians rely heavily on their community in the US, how would you describe your community?
Although it's been growing a lot lately, I've always considered it to be a really close-knit community. We don't really have any connection to other Desi communities in LA because we're so far out of the way. And more than just Desis in general, we don't really interact with any non-Muslim Desis in my community (of which there are actually a lot). But I like how we all grew up together and still hang out and can rely on each other to be able to connect back to our roots.
Being of South Asian descent living in America, how do you define and express your individual culture? How does this play a part of your overall identity?
I will honestly go out of my way to try and speak Urdu when I see people who seem Desi (even if they end up not being Desi). But I do get really involved with all the music and media of South Asia and I try to learn as much history about all of South Asia as I can. As a result, I feel more connection to South Asian stuff than most people I know do.
What do you think are the most accepted parts of South Asian diaspora and what are the least?
Honestly I feel like other than the food, everything else is always scrutinized when seen on South Asians rather than when someone who's white does it; desi clothes, religious symbols and rituals, etc.
It's said we live in a "post-race" society, when clearly Islamophobia is at an all time high, and race is a major part of discussion today. What are you thoughts on the claim of "post-race" and where do you think that leaves us a society?
It's definitely not a "post-race" society. People who consider themselves to be "colorblind" aren't helping at all, they're simply ignoring the issue and acting like years of racism that led to a difference in terms of privilege and other advantages/disadvantages in society never existed and aren't there anymore, even though they're still very prevalent in society.
Mohammad Farooq
    
What is your personal definition on the term "American Desi"?
How would you define your individual culture?
We live in an time where a large group of people have been very critical of our skin tone, but very accepting of our cultural aesthetic; does this play a part in your personal identity as an American Desi, how?
Did you ever feel the need to assimilate into American culture to fit in?
What do you think the future of the South Asian identity is in America?
Noor Euceph
    
What were you main challenges and hurdles of being an immigrant?
Realizing that I am an immigrant. At eight years old, it's very hard to conceptualize and grasp the entire process of immigration. I don't think I even really understood what "America" really was for a while. So, to realize that I was different from everyone else, without having changed at all personally, was a strange experience. Also, transitioning from being pretty wealthy to starting from scratch in poverty was very difficult. Both my parents had to go back to school to have their degrees translate to the same level in the states (i.e. my mom was completing her Ph.d in Pakistan but had to get her Master's again in the US), were working, and my mom was pregnant, so we were on our own to figure out the school system, and then take care of our baby brother when our parents were away studying/working when we were just kids ourselves.
What do you think are the most accepted parts of South Asian diaspora and what are the least?
I think Hindu Indians have it much easier in the US considering the political Hindu fundamentalist concerted effort to make Westerners associate Indian culture with genial/harmless elements of the culture such as yoga, Holi, Bollywood dancing, spirituality, colors, etc. For Muslim South Asians, it is very difficult to appear as congenial/harmless considering the political state of the world. Other than that, to be honest, I don't think most Americans even know enough about Pakistani culture for me to categorize what they accept or don't accept. They are generally pretty ignorant about Pakistan.
We live in an time where a large group of people have been very critical of our skin tone, but very accepting of our cultural aesthetic; does this play a part in your personal identity as an American Desi, how?
I get annoyed when people appropriate my culture without knowing anything about it. Other than that, I just try to keep in mind that this is a specific moment in time/history we are living in and that I need to play my role with my specific identity to stay on the right side of history and help others become more tolerant of my identity by example. For example, I want to achieve at a high level and show American society that Pakistanis are actually very capable and intelligent people, not anything else.
What do you think the future of the South Asian identity is in America
Globalization is inevitable. It has always existed, and is only going to exponentially increase in the future as the world gets more and more connected through technology. I think South Asians are going to deal with the backlash they are suffering from and work even harder to be represented in all facets of society.
Javeria Ali
    
What nationality/ethnicity(s) do you identify with?
What are the main differences in American culture and South Asian Culture that you have come across?
Have you ever been physically or verbally attacked because of your race? When and where did this happen?
Did you have an experience with TSA that was a result of racial profiling?
What are you thoughts on the claim of "post-race" and where do you think that leaves us a society?
Asma Furtniturewala
    
What is the future of South Asian Identity?
Did you have an experience with TSA that was a direct result of racial profiling?
What are certain stereotypes you’ve been held to?
Do you choose to wear any identifiers of your culture, besides the color of your skin? Has this ever been a main point of racist remarks towards you?
Lucky Vemuri
    
Most South Asians rely heavily on their community in the US, how would you describe your community?
South Asians (Riz Ahmed, Hassan Minhaj, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari) have started making appearances in American pop culture, movies and tv shows, does this benefit it us as a whole? Are there any repercussions of this?
Immigrant culture a lot of the time is built up by family and a families sacrifice to leave a life behind and start again in a new country. How does your relationship with your family influence your personal identity?
What do you think the future of the South Asian identity is in America?
Salahuddin Temueri
    
What do you think are the most accepted parts of South Asian diaspora and what are the least?
Americans are very much intrigued by the cultural aesthetic South Asians bring. The wedding styles, fashion, and even food appeals to a variety of people. The Western world does not accept the patriarchal design of the culture. Many people believe that women are forced into marriages, men can have multiple wives at will, and honor killings only exist on the women’s side. While these things do happen, a lot of this happens because of manipulation of the culture.
Have you ever been physically or verbally attacked because of your race? What was the nature of the attack? When and where did this happen?
I was working at Sunglass Hut in 2015. I do not remember what day it happened but I do remember it leading up my spring break. This elderly white man comes into our store and immediately ignores my hello and asks another sales associate to help him across the room. I brushed it off, thought maybe he didn't hear me but when I joined in on their conversation just to provide more spark into the conversation, he took offense to that and said, "you people are so annoying," and he turned around and I heard him mumble 'terrorist'. I was in utter shock, I did not know what to say, how to react, what to do, and so on. Looking back I should have defended myself but I am just glad I didn't do anything to aggravate the situation.
Being of South Asian descent living in America, how do you define and express your individual culture? How does this play a part of your overall identity?
Interesting question for me. I always struggled trying to find my 'inner Desi.' It was not until after High School that I really began to fall in love with the South Asian culture. With that said, I express my love for the culture through dancing, the music, movies, and jokes that come with the culture. I am not afraid to express what I like and when is an 'appropriate' time to show it. It's me and I love every part of it.
It's said we live in a "post-race" society, when clearly Islamophobia is at an all time high, and race is a major part of discussion today. What are you thoughts on the claim of "post-race" and where do you think that leaves us a society?
BULLSHIT. There will never be such thing as a "post-race" society as sad as it is to say. People will continually judge off their own perception and discriminate. A POST RACE SOCIETY WILL COME TO BE ONCE MINORITIES ARE GIVEN THE SAME PRIVILEGE THAT WHITE PEOPLE HAVE.
Racial slurs are a huge part of immigrant culture, what are ones you've been called?
Terrorist, Camel Jockey, Sand N*****, Camel boy, Osama Bin Laden, Durka Durka, Turban, A-Rab, Stupid Paki.