South Asians face the anti-immigration backlash

The Indian community of Edison, a town in northern New Jersey, is split over racial boundaries. This article ran in the Newark Star-Ledger the other day, about a protest mounted by the growing Indian community in Edison over an alleged police abuse of an Indian man, and a counter-protest by non-Indians.

The South Asians held signs that had slogans such as “We want justice!” But the tone of the anti-Indian protesters was striking:

“‘How many of you are illegals? You must’ve slid under the border to come here,’ yelled LaVonica Ray, who stood with her friends in the rally for the police department,” read the Ledger article. “‘You’re all cockroaches! Go home!'”

There was another anti-Indian sign that read, “Act like animals, and you will be treated like animals.”

These words could be aimed at Latinos, or African Americans.

Asians, once regarded as the “model minority” because of our willingness to assimiliate, are now concentrating in areas centeered around recent immigrant communities (the same is true not only of Indians in New Jersey, but Vietnamese, Koreans and Cambodians elsewhere, or Hmong in some states) that can easily be isolated … and hated.

It hardly matters whether there was improper police procedure or not. What’s disturbing here isn’t the behavior of the cops, but the citizens. The non-Asian citizens, that is.

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