Brown Twitter is Real and a Force to be Reckoned With

Twitter is constantly blowing up with several trending topics. If you want to express your opinion, you tweet. If you want to direct outrage, you tweet. If you want to narrate random thoughts, you tweet. If you want to oppose or support someone or something, you tweet. If you want to start a movement, you tweet. The social media platform has become the go-to for minorities, including our South Asian diaspora, to unite. Brown Twitter is well and active, folks.

It might be to rally and support fellow desis, to come together to protest against discrimination and wrongdoing, or to simply talk about things that matter to the South Asian diaspora, but Brown Twitter has managed to join hands many times. Its easy to mishandle this social media platform so its up to us to use it responsibly so that we control our narrative versus letting others dictate it for us.

If you’re wondering who constitutes this desi Twitter community, it’s not any one person. From famous celebrities like Kal Penn, Kumail Nanjiani, Hari Kondabolu to important journalists like Wajahat Ali, Amna Nawaz, from politicians like Kamala Harris, Raja Krishnamoorthi to fellow citizens like you and me, we’re all a vital part of this growing movement.

Brown Twitter’s voice is not only important, it’s much-needed in today’s world no matter where you’re coming from. The political climate is rocky and as a minority group, we need to be heard. The entertainment industry is finally opening up doors to South Asians and we need to encourage it. Even the food and beauty world can’t resist what we have to offer whether its turning our lungi into a skirt or drinking “golden lattes” aka haldi doodh.

What can I say, Brown Twitter is no average undertaking.

On Jan 30, for example, the day of Donald Trump’s State of the Union Speech, #DesiWallOfShame was trending on Twitter. It referred to shameful.desi, a portal that holds South Asians in the current administration accountable for their actions.

Ajit Pai, the chairman of FCC, was instrumental in passing the vote that ended Net Neutrality. For weeks before the official vote was cast in December 2017, the desis on Twitter took up the hashtag #AjitPaiSucks in a way to communicate their disdain.

Brown Twitter has come together many times to speak out against injustices and racism. In May 2016, rapper Azealia Banks took aim at singer Zayn Malik for allegedly copying her music video style. She escalated the matter by referring to him as ‘Punjab,’ like it’s an insult. Then, she decided it’s okay to call him a ‘curry scented bitch.’ Too bad she didn’t know what was coming. Instead of taking it as an insult, Brown Twitter made #curryscentedbitch their motto. It became a thing of pride. It all started with Jasmeet Raina aka JusReign, the Canadian-Punjabi YouTuber. He started calling Banks out and the rest of our desi community followed.

Of course, its not all bad. We’re a proud diaspora who support each other’s successes. Last year, especially, has been a monumental one for South Asian-Americans, especially in pop culture. November saw the release of Kondabolu’s documentary “The Problem with Apu,” in which he tackles the long-running misrepresentation of South Asians on “The Simpsons.”

Brown Twitter erupts anytime fellow desis make us proud. Recently, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon were nominated for an Academy Award for their movie “The Big Sick.” In 2017, actors like Riz Ahmed, Dev Patel, Priyanka Chopra, and Aziz Ansari created ripples at the many award ceremonies with their wins and red carpet looks. South Asians left their mark even in local politics, with leaders like Ravi Bhalla becoming the first Sikh mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey.

In its own way, Brown Twitter is bringing about not only a social change but its our way of showing off the good and pointing out the negative. It’s our way of saying, we’re out here, in troves, holding ourselves and others accountable.

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