Why I Will No Longer Support MIA's Music

Why I Will No Longer Support MIA's Music

An open letter to MIA on her anti-Black comments.
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Dear MIA,

To be honest, I was extremely disappointed when I read your comments about the Black Lives Matter movement in America. Before this entire fiasco, I felt akin to you. My parents are from Tamil Nadu, and as a South Indian, it was wonderful seeing you on stage. Now, I feel betrayed. As a recap, you said the following: “It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter. It’s not a new thing to me — it’s what Lauryn Hill was saying in the 1990s, or Public Enemy in the 1980s. Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters? That’s a more interesting question. And you cannot ask it on a song that’s on Apple, you cannot ask it on an American TV programme, you cannot create that tag on Twitter, Michelle Obama is not going to hump you back.” As a South Asian woman to another South Asian woman, what were you thinking? You’re supposed to have solidarity with the black community not belittle their movement because it doesn’t actively include you. Why should it? Black Lives Matter is about asserting the worth and value of black lives in a country (and a world) that perpetuates untold violence against black bodies. So tell me again, why should it include South Asian or Middle-Eastern people?

Your comments were disrespectful and more importantly, anti-Black. First of all, “Black Lives Matter” includes Muslims in case you conveniently forgot that black Muslims exist. Second of all, you publicly condemned an incredible movement that has been rightfully fighting for justice that is long overdue. Why is black power so threatening to you? Seeing black activists organize entire protests should inspire you. Police brutality should enrage you. The deaths of innocent black men and women and their children should bring tears to your eyes, empathy to your heart, and commitment behind your solidarity. Instead simply seeing protestors on your television screen and hearing about the movement from social media has led you to the downright embarrassing conclusion that black people don’t care about us. Forgive me, but do you realize how incredibly entitled you sound? Black people do not owe us their activism. The South Asian community is rife with anti-Blackness and additionally, it is not their job to lead our movements.

Where is your love? Where is your respect? Might I mention that you are a hip-hop artist? The irony is outstanding. You make money off of appropriating black culture and then you turn around and diss a movement that is literally about fighting for the right to live. I’ll tell you what’s “a more interesting question,” MIA. Why are you so angry at black people? If you’re angry at white supremacists then take it out on white supremacists who are denying you visibility and representation. When you attack the visibility the Black Lives Matter movement has gotten you assert that the black community is undeserving of their visibility. Just so we’re clear, visibility does not equate to justice. Your comments are nothing more than a rehashed form of anti-Blackness that you framed in a way you hoped would make you sound detached and merely critical. Unfortunately, your anti-Blackness is showing. If this is what you call solidarity then the rest of us South Asian activists don’t want your “help.” You don’t like the Black Lives Matter movement? Great, stay as far away from it as you can. We don’t need or want your presence.

People like you are the reason why the black community justifiably avoids interactions with South Asians. Instead of addressing anti-Blackness within the South Asian community, you wholeheartedly embraced it. Muslim lives do matter, and so do the lives of Syrian refugees. No one is contesting that. Black activists aren’t taking to the streets because they want conversations about islamophobia and xenophobia to stop. They’re not protesting news coverage about Syrian refugees the way you are protesting the coverage of their movement. Why can’t conversations about islamophobia and Syrian refugees occur alongside conversations about anti-Blackness? They intersect for God’s sake! The Black Lives Matter movement has publicly stood in solidarity with other people of color all over the world before and continues to do so. Can you say the same for yourself?

I was a fan of yours before you started spewing all this anti-Black rhetoric. The truth is, you do make incredible music that speaks to the struggles Syrian refugees face given your own refugee history. So why don’t you create a movement and help champion their cause without co-opting the Black Lives Matter movement or stepping on it? Don’t expect other groups to do the work for you when they have their own problems to deal with. If you want to talk about Syrian refugees then talk about them. Be in charge of your own actions. Frankly, you owe the Black Lives Matter movement and the black community at large an apology.

Sincerely,

An Ex-Fan

Cover Image Credit: 100FlavoursUK

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

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Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

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And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

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America, There Is No Excuse For The Number Of Crimes Against Women In This Country

This is uncalled for.

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I feel like every time I turn around, there is at least one new story in the news of a woman going about her daily business and getting kidnapped, raped or murdered (or all three). I can tell you for a fact that this wasn't something that was happening nearly as much 50 years ago. Of course, maybe that's because women were expected to stay inside and take care of the house so maybe there wasn't the opportunity, to begin with. But what do I know? Anyway, we can see there's a definite problem here, but what is the solution? Well, I'm glad you asked.

I think the start comes from a simple place: changing the view of women from object to human being. Society has come pretty far, but we haven't come nearly far enough. So often women are still objectified and made to seem like a trophy to have. We need to start by teaching our children (men and women alike) that women are not objects and should not be treated as such. You like a girl and want to take her on a date? Fine, ask her in a polite and respectful way and if she says no, you accept that choice.

"Ah, but Abby, what about the women who don't dress and act like they want respect?"

Well, first of all, how a woman dresses is none of your business. Yeah maybe it's not the most weather appropriate, but you don't get to decide what another person's clothing choices mean. I would also like to add that doing the right thing does not start with someone else acting in a way that you deem right and basing your actions off of this. Being a respectful individual means just being a respectful individual no matter what circumstances you are put in. You are in charge of your actions and your actions only. Please act accordingly.

"Well, it's actually all of the immigrants and foreigners that are committing these crimes against women."

Okay, well let's just take a look at the incidences of sexual assault alone in the US:

  • One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives
  • In 8 out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person that assaulted her
  • Nearly 1 in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner in some form

*Disclaimer—Sexual violence against men is also a problem that doesn't get a lot of light. I realize it is an issue, but for the sake of time, I'm not going to go into all of the details in this article.

If every 1 in 5 of our women is getting raped, it can't all be just the immigrants. As far as just regular crime goes, a study done by the Cato Institute using data from 2016 found that illegal immigrants are 47% less likely to be incarcerated than natives. Another study published in the journal "Criminology" stated that "Increased concentrations of undocumented immigrants are associated with statistically significant decreases in violent crime." So yeah, maybe illegal immigrants are committing a crime while they're here, but it seems that the more dangerous culprit are the individuals grown from our own soil.

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