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We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Many of us can recall the targeting of South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh people in the wake of 9/11. We may be less aware, however, of the ongoing racism directed against these groups in the past decade and a half.

In We Too Sing America, nationally renowned activist Deepa Iyer catalogs recent racial flashpoints, from the 2012 massacre at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, W
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by The New Press
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
My book club chose this book back in the summer for this year's season, not even knowing how important it would become. Deepa Iyer looks at the plight of a certain sub-segment of immigrants in America post-9/11, but also steps back and looks at Hispanic and Black Americans as well. I should say that this book covers up to 2015 bordering on 2016, and reading it in the context of 2017 made me want to evaluate each statement and policy, wondering how much has already changed.

Sections focus on subj
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Activist Deepa Iyer has written a book that will inspire South Asian, Sikh, Arab, and Muslim (or brown for short) Americans to fight for racial justice and a more tolerant United States. Iyer presents the current trends of brown activism in America and proposes her vision for our increasingly multiracial society.

After 9/11, Muslim Americans were profiled and placed under constant government surveillance. They were subjected to sudden deportation and pervasive Islamophobia and xenophobia. Hate c
A. S.
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this after a recommendation from a friend who works with groups like SAALT. I started reading this book after I read White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson, and I think the book suffers from the comparison, because while Iyer's book raises some good points, the thesis is unfocused and she fails to talk about the group that she's a part of (specifically, upper caste Hindus) because she thinks it will bias her book, all the while inserting stories about hersel ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really good overview of most of the anti-muslim violence post 9/11. Someone needed to capture this history and Iyer does this, as along with providing tools for how to move forward against the new rise in hate against this group as well as the rising tide of xenophobia with the 2016 presidential elections looming.
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really glad I picked up this book. It really expanded my understanding of America post-9/11 as well as how important it is to bridge connections with others especially in these current political times.
Sanjeev Sriram
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Inspiring Read!

Deeps Iyer puts fantastic spotlights on individuals and communities across America who are actively pursuing the more perfect Union our country should represent. She shares truthful histories of tragedy and triumph, and brilliantly discusses how modern everyday South Asians, Arabs, Muslims, and Sikhs can transform American realities. There is no single approach for success, and Ms. Iyer explores the complexities of causes, identity, and activism that all of us as "brown folks"
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
It started out very promisingly, but quickly descended into a litany of all the folks that have been targeted for either violence or funny looks or nasty comments.

I ended up abandoning the book (something I rarely do). But from what I could see, there were no constructive ways to end the Islamaphobia mentioned.
Katie Frances
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
I couldn't finish this book. It has a good meaning to it, and it's incredibly informative but it's just too hard to follow. It seemed hard to understand anything in this book for me. ...more
Mar 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Great review of the discrimination and state violence against AMEMSAs as well as community organizing and activism post-9/11.

- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported a 250% increase in workplace religious discrimination complaints involving Muslims immediately after 9/11
- According to the 2001 FBI Hate Crimes Report, 27.2% of reported hate crimes were motivated by "anti-Islamic" bias, representing a 1,600% increase from the previous year (and likely included violence agains
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Book wasn't sure what it wanted to do. This book has popped up recently (it was published in 2015) somewhere and I thought it'd be an interesting read. I had read 'The Making of Asian America' a few years ago and when this book showed up again it seemed like this might fill in some of the gaps that I thought 'Making' didn't quite cover by focusing on South Asian Americans.
Initially the book was, perhaps, a bit too on the nose. I had not realized that it would open with the shooting at a gurdwar
Sep 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: post-2016
"Together we can walk boldly toward a vision of a more inclusive and equitable future, one in which there are no more 'others' - one in which there is a place for all of our beloved communities." - We Too Sing America | Deepa Iyer imparts a mountain of knowledge in this book. I learned so much about systemic discrimination against minority communities in America post-9/11. Iyer begins by laying out just a handful of the numerous early-2000s tragic, retaliatory attacks against minorities in the U ...more
Danielle T
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
An important read, frustrating at times (not because of the book but the cases it examines). In the last 15 years, the experience of Asian Americans with darker skin has taken a turn for the worse, with an increase in slurs and hate crimes. Author Deepa Iyer has first hand experience in organizing communities to respond together against things like the protests against Park51, the shootings at a Sikh gurdwara (and defacement of mosques and temples), islamophobic laws by states, etc. It's a recen ...more
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: school board members, county officials, city officials, everyone in a position of power
The research that went into this book is beyond commendable; it's seriously impressive. It's an information-heavy, information-dense book, and, at times, the statistics can be overwhelming and almost make the reader forget the emotional core of the human experiences in the book, but that never really happens amidst Iyer's explorations in the depths of tragedy (like the shooting that targeted the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin) or at the heights of hopeful, encouraging grassroots community activism, ad ...more
Kjersten Johnson
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book opened my eyes further to the struggle of South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh immigrants in the U.S., along with all people of color in the U.S.

Iyer takes readers through story after story that will make their hearts hurt and stomachs churn, but offers hope, advice, and solutions along the way. This book was published in 2015, however, and there is a lot more current context missing from the conversation. Nevertheless, it was informative and sets the groundwork for an even deeper stud
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Deepa Iyer's gem of a book narrates how Muslim, South Asian, and Middle Eastern communities have resisted profiling and Islamaphobia since 9/11. Through the stories of Sikhs who suffered violence and horrific loss then turned to activism, Muslims who organize in their communities in the face of tremendous possible risk, and activists who stand in solidarity with other communities of color, Iyer has ensured that this book is not an exercise in academia or ivory tower research. It is a testament t ...more
Sonja P.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-favorites
I think this is a really important read for 2017; I mean parts of it can be a little dense, but the way Iyer addresses anti Muslim rhetoric and how that feeds into anti-immigration rhetoric in general-how hate crimes are rising because of white fear, how people are reacting to changing demographics, how past legislation has affected where we are now feels in some ways dated after the past two weeks, but in a lot of ways it feels super timely and so necessary to read. We need to read these storie ...more
C Lynn
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Good discussion of contemporary issues and activism. Covers the increase in the culture of hate and hate crimes, post 9/11 discrimination, relations with police, effects of anti-terrorism legislation, surveillance, xenophobia, racism, Islamaphobia, and legislation on immigration and the undocumented, as well as activism in South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh communities. I especially liked the discussion on multiracial solidarity and organizing. My only complaint is that most of it is written in ...more
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book that touches on a range of issues impacting South Asian, Arab, and Muslim communities in a post 9/11 world. I found the chapters on immigration and racial justice particularly interesting because Iyer frames these conversations in the larger movement - how the struggles across marginalized communities are different, are the same, and the critical role solidarity and active allyship plays in ending systems of oppression. Highly recommend.
Joy Messinger
As Islamophobia spikes even further, threats of new versions of "Muslim registries" persists, & fear of unknown futures for South Asian, Arab, Sikh, & Muslim immigrants continues to permeate the reality of daily life, We Too Sing America provides important historical context and helpful framing that challenges anti-Blackness & model minority myths to help readers prepare for and engage in a multiracial fight for justice. ...more
Rachel Williams
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an important read that I believe should be incorporated into more conversations around race, culture and diversity. Since the book’s release and under the current administration, Islamophobia and xenophobia have only increased around the United States. Imagine if we started to incorporate some of the discussions used in this book into our daily interactions with strangers and neighbors. On a technical note, this book is also really well written and researched.
at times a bit TOO ~academic~~ but otherwise a really great, thoughtful meditation/book of advice on racial activism and solidarity as our country ages. i especially appreciated the bits for asian american communities on anti-blackness, not focusing on solely east asian narratives, and resisting both the 'model minority' myth and the lure/lie of whiteness. ...more
Nandu Machiraju
This is an important contribution. Iyer covers significant civil rights issues affecting South Asian communities. The book is detailed and informative too. Overall, I highly recommend it.

My only gripe was the infra-chapter organization. It lacks a coherent flow. I felt like I was wandering from one set of issues to another without any real plan.
Briayna Cuffie
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leisure-reads
A must read for black and brown people within (or who want to become a part of) "the movement." There is a lot of talk about intersectionality between black, Arab, and Asian communities - of which more is needed. The topic of "model minority" status is just as important when discussing institutional racism and upholding white supremacy. ...more
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Important, depressing reading.
Despite what we see on the news and in social media, there are a lot of people out there working hard to make this country better.
Mills College Library
305.80097 I97 2015
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A well written, truth driven work that does an impressive job of being intersectional. Looking forward to using the Race Talks conversation starters in a group setting soon.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading about Dump's Muslim ban and the ACLU curbing it put me in the mood to read this book. 1/28/17 ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Timely and important.
Tariq Touré
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-of-color
As Black Muslims I can't thank Deepa enough creating such a fulfilling work of a vast topic. This book will help move thought forward on inequality. ...more
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“Authentic and sustainable solidarity efforts must be premises on this broader understanding of why Black lives matter, why they have not mattered historically, and why they still do not matter today as they should. Centralizing Black communities in the current moment is how genuine solidarity begins. South Asian, Arab, and Muslim activists have been a careful not to co-opt or expand this premise by applying it to their communities - by stating “All Lives Matter” or “South Asian Lives Matter,” for example. This stems from the knowledge that when Black lives actually matter, when Black people are not seen as disposable commodities, then all lives will truly matter. In other words, when Black people, who are at the bottom of America’s divisive racial ladder, are free, it will be impossible for systems and policies to engage in discrimination and racism against other communities of color.” 1 likes
“When I went to college, also in the South, I took every opportunity to celebrate my cultural background and to press for diversity efforts on campus. Still, I linked race mainly with notions of multiculturalism and inclusion and less with justice and equity.” 0 likes
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