South Asians for Black Lives is a program of Malikah started by a collective of South Asian women in California. The program is aimed at calling in our South Asian community to dismantle anti-Blackness, build antiracist coalitions and to inspire folks to join the abolitionist movement. We are learning as a collective to do this through a transformative justice and healing approach. Moreover, we ground ourselves in a BIPOC feminist ethics.
2020 Election Coverage: The Flaws of Electoral Politics
As we approach the presidential election, there is a lot of discussion about the importance of voting and the need to head to the polls. These urges make sense because there is a lot at stake in this election and it’s important that we continue to be civically engaged. However, we need to remember that our political landscape has never been simple nor has it ever been tailored to the needs of marginalized groups. As someone who has centered her activism work on voter education and has mobilized young folks to head to the polls, there is a sense of uneasiness that I have in saying that voting will not fix all of our problems. Nevertheless, this statement is true as voting for someone like Joe Biden will not end police brutality or climate change. While I am not saying that we should not head to the polls, I am imploring that privileged white folks stop harassing BIPOC communities if they choose not to vote in this election.
I was always confused by the mantra “Settle for Biden.” I always questioned why we were being forced to be complacent with an unfavorable candidate in every single election. Perhaps this mantra helps white liberals sleep better at night or keep their conscience clear. This is a sign of privilege and BIPOC communities shouldn’t have to settle for Biden. Some would argue Biden seems to be the best choice in this situation and that there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. While I agree with the latter, our elections have never provided a candidate that is truly representative of the needs of marginalized groups and that’s where the cracks of our democracy lie. We are the ones who will suffer the consequences of either presidency. Therefore, white liberals are not in a position to tell BIPOC to vote. If folks don’t want to compromise their beliefs, that’s completely fine because we have suffered enough at the hands of politicians who have targeted our communities for decades. Especially in elections where we are given the choice between two candidates who have a record of hurting BIPOC communities, we should not be forced to participate in this type of system. It is our communities that are consistently told to settle for the candidate that is the lesser of two evil. We were told in 2016 to do this and we are now being told to do the same thing.
The point of Get Out the Vote (GOTV) Campaigns have always been to mobilize people to register and participate in elections. However, these campaigns fail to inform the general public of the next steps. The big question is: What exactly do we do after the election? This is where these movements fall short. Constantly telling people to vote without any follow-up actions is quite meaningless. Responding to concerns by telling them to head to the polls is also not an honest conversation nor is it a conversation that is productive. Voting will not solve all of our problems and it never will. Voting should not be the backbone of our movements as the political power lies within our community members. Radical change is only made possible when we are out on the streets protesting for change and finding ways to uplift our community members.
While this article may seem like a deviation from the conventional conversations that we have about this election and a strong discouragement from voting, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are able to and choose to participate, I think that you should head to the polls. We most certainly do not need an impulsive, racist, misogynistic, transphobic, xenophobic, and ableist leader for another four years. But, I will not stand for the notion that voting is the end all be all. There is still so much work that needs to be done after election day regardless of who is in the Oval Office. Whether you are heading to the polls or choose to stay at home, I respect that. But, I hope to see you continue to do the work that goes beyond voting. See you on the streets with a mask on of course!
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.
You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!
We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.