I watched two social justice movies recently: Pink, which deals with Indian rape culture, and Article 15, which has a similar theme with the added layer of caste discrimination. Both of them were extremely well-taken, and I immediately recommended them to my friends.

But while watching each movie, I noticed one detail which made me pause. In many respects these films are groundbreaking – they venture into territory mainstream Bollywood is loathe to touch. And yet, both lean into one particular trope – one they share with masala movies like Chennai Express: the vilest characters are dark-skinned.

I’ve touched upon…

On white feminism and racist tropes:

My family loves a good mystery show. All four of us are constantly on the lookout for a solid murder mystery to binge-watch on weekend evenings – so when we discovered Miss Scarlet and the Duke on Amazon Prime this evening, we were thrilled. The titular lady is the daughter of a private detective in Victorian London, with aspirations to become an investigator in her own right despite the raging misogyny surrounding her.

I loved the introduction. I enjoyed watching Eliza Scarlet display her deductive reasoning skills and knowledge of chemistry.

Louisiana’s House Bill 564 isn’t quite as infamous as the devastating anti-transgender bills in states like Arkansas and Texas. But it is no less dangerous in its intent. The bill aims to prohibit teachers from, amongst other things, calling the United States “systemically racist” – and its ambiguous wording paves the way to potentially getting rid of any discussion around slavery and Jim Crow from school curriculums.

I sent this letter to the bill’s sponsor, Representative Garofalo, a week ago. I have not received a reply.

Dear Mr Garofalo,

I am writing to you about House Bill 564, which you…

If it means anything at all…

I have a vivid middle-school memory of being confronted with the question ubiquitous to every immigrant child’s experience: “Where are you from?”

“India,” I said (not strictly true – technically, I am from Pennsylvania). “I’m Asian American.”

My classmate squinted at me. “No you’re not,” they said decisively.

“Yes I am,” I insisted. But my classmate did not back down, no matter how much I argued – not even when I held up a globe to point out India’s location in Southern Asia.

That was when I truly internalised this: I do not embody…

Some things should be taken slow – but not this:

When I was sixteen and poring over National Park Service statistics on the American Civil War, I was horrified at the sheer number of deaths. Perhaps, I thought, over half a million lives might have been saved with some form of compromise. Slavery was dying out in the 1850s, or so I thought – so perhaps instituting some policy to eradicate it within the next decade or two would have stopped the Civil War and ended the enslavement of Black Americans, in one fell swoop. …

A message to my fellow non-Black Americans:

I am roughly one-fifth of the way into Professor Ibram X Kendi’s brilliant book, Stamped From the Beginning. Dr Kendi does a brilliant job comprehensively covering the history of American anti-Blackness, exploring both its origins and the many ways – insidious and overt – in which it manifests.

The part I’m currently on discusses Thomas Jefferson, someone I’ve written about before: a man who is often lauded as an American hero, but who in practice was a hero only to wealthy white Americans. He was a heap of contradictions rolled into one lanky…

It recently came to my attention that Friday, April 2nd, is “Autism Awareness Day”. As an autistic person, I find this name a bit ludicrous. Not only does it have the general vibe of a B-movie from the 1970s (“beware the autism! It is among us”), but the very message makes little sense. We aren’t autistic for just one day or one month a year, so people shouldn’t be aware of autism for just one day a year. Instead, I’d like to propose an alternate title for this Friday: “Autism Celebration Day”.

Within the world of popular media, autism is…

Like many other diaspora Indians, I enjoy watching Hindi films. I grew up excitedly awaiting our Friday evening trips to the Indian movie store, where “garam-garam” copies of the latest romcoms lined the shelves and counters.

When I was a child, I eagerly watched classic romcoms like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, but as I grew older I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable at the misogyny which underlies these movies. In K2H2, for example, the male hero’s college friend Anjali is a tomboy with short hair and a talent for basketball – and she’s painted as totally undateable until she grows…

The South Asian presence in the US is often treated like a recent phenomenon, something which accompanied the software boom which began in the 1980s. Depictions of us in popular media almost always show us in some sort of engineering capacity. I’m starting to think that a large number of American television producers genuinely believe that South Asians are born with computer chargers instead of umbilical cords.

The truth, as it always is, differs quite significantly. Of course not all South Asians work in technology – and, perhaps more significantly, the first South Asian Americans arrived on this continent over…

I have been teaching myself higher maths lately. Partially because I’m interested in machine learning, so things like multivariate calculus and linear algebra are essential. Partially because numbers are a happy place for me – and partially because I haven’t stepped out of the house in nearly a year and am slowly spiralling into Byronic madness, which is apparently preventable by studying maths.

When I took a quick break from my linear algebra practice book to order a couple more practice texts, I started to think about something which I have very strong feelings on, but haven’t written much about…

Aditi Ramaswamy

Software engineer @ Lob.com; emerging author; almost certainly not a changeling. Twitter: @AditiRamaswamy. Kaggle: kaggle.com/aditiramaswamy

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