American Turban

Nikki Haley and race identification: If being “Asian” is wrong, is it right to write “White”?

Nikki Haley (photo: fitsnews.com)

Nikki Haley (photo: fitsnews.com)

Academic and blogger Amardeep Singh offers his perspective on the issue of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s identification of herself as “White” on a voter registration card despite her South Asian and Sikh origins:

Isn’t it fair that some South Asian Americans with little connection to South Asian culture or language would see themselves (and be seen as) “white” by others in their communities? Isn’t it possible to be of South Asian origin and “white” at the same time?

 Amardeep Singh certainly makes valid points about whether it is unreasonable that an American-born/raised South Asian identifies him- or herself as “White”. 

However, Haley has also expressed pride in her upbringing and background in select settings, so her self-identification is interesting to observe for those of us from a similar background.  But, at the end of the day, how she defines herself is not really a major issue of consequence besides raising the question of her truthfulness as a politician for use as fodder, as Amardeep Singh suggests, by other politicians.

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One comment

  1. Rita Vaz

    I am the only Asian Federal employee in a Federal Agency in Houston and I am mercilessly bullied, mobbed and discriminated against for the last nine years. Informing Management has not helped. There is so much discrimination and violation of my civil rights. People ask me why I don’t leave; is leaving the answer or standing up against the wrong to ensure safety for other Asians in the Federal workforce? Who will stand up with me for Federal Asian employees who are being bullied and mobbed? Who will take a stand for our Civil Rights that are constantly violated? Who will unmute our muted voices?. In 2012 different groups in the Asian community protested the bullying and subsequent death of Danny Chen. Yet advocates for Civil Rights need to reach out and support those who are experiencing bullying in the Federal workplace so that positive change can happen. Unless somebody joins me in this, my actions to stand up against this wrong may prove to be in vain.

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