Turning Thoughts into Action through
the Politics of Identiﬁcation
Political intention adheres to every cultural production.
—Richard Iton, In Search of the Black Fantastic
This is about people of color. It’s something that’s a lot about being a
Black person in America, but it can also transfer over because the politics
transfer. So it’s not an imitation. It’s the politics.—Ravi, hip hop record
Someone told me to remember.
To archive the past
to witness the present
and speak to the future.
—D’Lo, “When You Have No Choice”
The Black experience is foundational to race relations in the United
States, where it aﬀects the choices and lives of American desis.
South Asians in America, despite our collective unwillingness, must
look to and learn from the perspectives of America’s racial other.
From these lessons South Asians not only come to better under-
stand ourselves but also learn how to advance social justice agendas
that beneﬁt all people. Creating solidarity, Vijay Prashad reminds
us, depends on commitment, sacriﬁce, and identiﬁcation across
sameness and diﬀerence (2000: 193). In learning the histories of