Tuesday, October 21, 2008

South Asians Concerned with Xenophobic Discourse

With just two weeks until Election Day, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is continuing to monitor the impact of elections on the South Asian community and providing educational resources. Below, you will find information to combat xenophobic rhetoric in political discourse, and rights of voters on Election Day. We also encourage you to visit our Elections '08 webpage for translated factsheets and voter engagement resources.

Eliminating Xenophobic Rhetoric in Political Discourse

In the run-up to Election Day on November 4th, there has unfortunately been a spate of xenophobic comments made in the political sphere and on the campaign trail. SAALT has been monitoring such remarks against the South Asian, Muslim and Sikh Americans as well as against candidates from these communities running for office.

In fact, SAALT's report on xenophobic political discourse has documented over 50 such incidents since 2001. The impact of such rhetoric is far-reaching and sends the message that certain communities cannot be trusted, perpetuating stereotypes that can lead to bias and discrimination, and hampering the civic and political participation of immigrants and communities of color.

Members of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations have sent letters to both Senator McCain's and Senator Obama's presidential campaigns to raise awareness about this issue and express our concerns about how such rhetoric impacts the South Asian community. We encourage elected officials and political figures to promote an environment that welcomes the inclusion of diverse experiences and perspectives.

SAALT also invites community members to notify us of incidents as they occur and to raise attention around these issues. For tips and ideas on how you too can take action, check out our toolkit  on how to respond to xenophobic rhetoric in political discourse.

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