There is an inconspicuous yet perturbing proclivity of young, brown writers to gravitate towards exclusively Western issues. We, as a community, refuse to provide vast media coverage, despite having the platform, to social affairs which are more likely to have been endured by our major readership – brown South Asians. Instead, we spend hours polishing and editing material highlighting First World Problems to make it easily comprehensible for our readers.
We all know the friends who speak on Twitter about racism and sexism… and mention incidents revolving only black people or educated women.
Truly, in this global age, we must endeavour to reach out to a larger audience, but when everyone tries to reach for the same goal and ‘manifest’, rather, ‘recycle’ news, the type which is more convenient to research on and which has been discussed numerous times before, the other worldly problems get heavily underrepresented, and we all know what that leads to – invalidation of the pain and trauma when real survivors claim to have gone through it all.
Responsible writers are never repetitive or reverberating; they make sure to go the extra mile to identify problems which have clearly been ignored, as they were not as easy to capitalize on, or in loose terms, ‘sell’, and then bring it to the attention of the masses through their words.
But the idea of bombarding the general public with too much gore and too many problems is seen as undesirable. Which means, even talking about too many issues is an issue! This clearly is a misconception, however, perpetuated by white old men again.
We, the readers, want to read about more than just incidents of culturally appropriating African-Americans, the standard, systemic racism in the US, non-existent gun regulations, or just verbal homophobia.
We want to know about and expand our activism to help solve Bacha Baazi in Afghanistan, combat Islamophobia in Indian states and urban cities, understand the different sort of trauma undergone by Pakistani transgender men and women, fix the fetishism of Thai bodies, explore the meticulously rich Indian culture of transvestism, and so much more.
This isn’t possible if there is just no data, no articles, no validating element present on the World Wide Web.
It has to start somewhere, and if you are a brown writer reading this, I urge you to write and scream and yell all about the issues which exist but are never spoken about. And, I remind myself to do the same.
But in the process of doing so, you also have to ensure the projection of our marvels in comparison to the First World. Glorify Iranian ethnic fashion (Kurds, Gilaki, Abyaneh, Bandar Abbas and Qeshm, Bakhtiari, so many more) and talk about how Islamic clothing isn’t inherently oppressive; stress upon and remember South Asian dark-skinned female leaders, hijabi leaders, “conventionally ugly” leaders, atheist leaders, young leaders; review and recommend well scripted and less problematic LGBT+ Bollywood arthouse movies; present country-specific laws and ideologies which worked and prevented deaths due to negligence; and celebrate the cultural values which bind us together.
Let us start talking about things we or our readers may have witnessed, genuinely analyse and weigh the pros and cons of the functioning of things around us, and then choose what we desire to put in the world under our authorship.
Ultimately, we need to do anything to get our voice back, and not be amplifiers, as we are true activists and not simplifiers.
We have to make sure we make it to the headlines, that white-centric news doesn’t choke the media again. We can’t take over the overrated and ostentatiously popular news avenues or force them to cover problems pertaining to a larger audience, but we can create our own ways. We have YKA, after all!