Happy birthday!

Photo courtesy of Forbes

August 13 marks the 57th birthday of Iqbal Quadir, Bangladeshi born American entrepreneur.

Quadir invented founded Grameenphone, a Bangladeshi telecommunications operator, and GoNoPhone, a software program that provides remote control access to a landline from external locations.

Quadir has advocated for technology innovation and decentralized access to communication to eradicate poverty and ameliorate social conditions.

To read and hear more about his views and work, click on the link below to follow his contributions to Ted: https://www.ted.com/speakers/iqbal_quadir

Bengali Athlete Makes US National Acrobatics Team

17 year old Romina Gupta has qualified for the US National Acrobatic Gymnastics Team.

An American born to Bengali parents, Gupta originally started as an artistic gymnast and switched to acrobatic gymnastics later in life.

According to Gupta’s mother, “Romina trains for four hours a day, seven days a week. She hopes to bring the sport to India someday. She is also working on creating an NGO that can help at-risk young girls use gymnastics to gain self-esteem.”

Gupta will compete in China next year with a team of three people

Photo courtesy of Instagram

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“No Indian Friends”

South Asian Americans often walk a fine line between the culture of the motherland and the surrounding Western culture

Feedback from external parties further complicates our emotional reactions and identity formation, particularly as we constantly encounter different aspects and stages of development in both cultures.

Priya-Alika Elias, a lawyer and writer, details these feelings in her essay entitled “No Indian Friends.” Describing herself as a coconut, she talks about her hatred for saris, her advisor’s attempt to give her a Desi roommate, her boyfriend who claimed her for the white race, Mindy Kaling, and the many ways which South Asian Americans erase themselves.

To read the full text, click on the link below.

http://gawker.com/no-indian-friends-1700471892

Profiles of a Few Extremely Impressive South Asian Americans

South Asian Americans have been making their mark on the United States for many years. Here are some impressive professionals of whom you may not have heard:

http://us.india.com/arts-and-culture/10-great-south-asian-americans-you-probably-havent-heard-of-but-should-368893/

The list includes a children’s book author, a Computer Scientist turned artist, a published expert on human trafficking, a lawyer, a public health specialist and surgeon, the first openly gay Indian actor, an astronaut who served in the Navy, an Olympic  gymnast, a transgender writer and activist, and a CNN employee whose parents came from Africa.

Click on the link to read their profiles.

Can you think of anyone else who should be on this list ?

LGBT While South Asian


Parag Mehta and his partner Vaibhav…Photo courtesy of The Guardian

The Guardian recently wrote a piece on how Indian Americans accept their sexual identities while maintaining their positions in South Asian American communities.

LGBTQ youth have always faced isolation and apprehension at the prospect of coming out to their parents.

For South Asian youth, these feelings can become exacerbated because of parents who are “deeply in denial about homosexuality” and come from countries where homosexuality has been criminalized.

The Guardian piece profiles Parag Mehta,Sunu Chandy, and Radha Patel, Indian Americans who identify as LGBTQ.

Mehta came out to his parents after two suicide attempts. His medical doctor father searched for a cure for homosexuality. When he discovered that there was none, he wrote a letter about his son to the community, asking them to support him as they always had.

Dr. Mehta said, “‘There is a shame that’s associated with this, especially among the older generation, who are all too willing, …to get their gay children married off to members of the opposite sex, simply to maintain appearances.'”

Chandy accepted her parents and their mixed feelings about her sexual identity until she adopted a child with her partner. She then offered an ultimatum: If they did not accept her completely, they would not be able to interact with her grandchild. They attended her subsequent wedding, but Chandy remarked upon other family members who did not attend and her own discomfort at attending weddings with people from India.

Patel remarks upon the race and class distinctions her community has made when people pursue others from different castes, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

She elaborated upon a girl who married someone of Hispanic descent by saying, “‘She was not only disowned by the entire community, but her own parents disowned her.’”

To read the article in full, click the link below. Feel free to share your opinions and experiences in the comments section.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/25/indian-americans-lgbt-identity-gay-lesbian-family

Sunu Chandy, her partner Erika, and their family. Photo courtesy of The Guardian

Adnan Syed Will Get to Appeal His Case

Image courtesy of scoopnest.com

After years of prison time, and a couple months of unprecedented media attention, Pakistani-American Adnan Syed will receive a chance to appeal his life sentence for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Syed maintained his innocence but was nevertheless found guilty in 2000.

His case has recently come to light after the release of the podcast Serial, which analyzed his case in great detail.

Syed was convicted after an anonymous call to police. The officers subsequently subpoenaed his cell phone records, which revealed repeated calls to people who ultimately accused him of the crime.

Syed is appealing his case on the basis of ineffective counsel, as his lawyer did not thoroughly investigate a potential alibi.

For those who are curious, read on to discover more about the legal consequences of an appeal: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/serials-adnan-syed-third-appeal-charm/

For those who are unfamiliar with the case, you can listen to serialpodcast.org to familiarize yourself with the details.

Harry Potter Meets Bollywood

Imagine a Harry Potter film in Bollywood style.

Aloo parathas and chai in the Burrow every morning. Saris as daily uniforms instead of robes. Super super sales with many more opportunities to haggle in Diagon Alley. Smiling faces adorned with kohl at the Yule Ball. The tamasha of love triangles and a tragic chorus  of “Ahs” to echo the lovers’ sorrow. A long song and dance routine between Hagrid and Madame Maxime in the mountains as they search for giants. And the party to end all parties for Fleur and Bill’s wedding.

Click the link below to view the potential cast of this certain blockbuster.

http://bluegape.com/cute/sanjay-goswami/21-photos-showing-harry-potter-series-indian-cast/

Note: This project has not been deemed reality. It is purely wishful thinking from South Asian American Harry Potter fans.

South Asian American Makes His Mark on TED

Photo courtesy of luxurytravelstories.com

Bassam Tariq, a filmmaker and butcher with Pakistani roots, participated in the TED Global Fellows Class of 2014.

Tariq is well-known for his documentary entitled “These Birds Walk.” Since joining the fellowship, he has give an exhilarating TED talk and produced a short film to raise awareness about polio vaccinations for Pakistani people working in the UAE.

According to the TED blog, Tariq’s varied projects have a centered source: What drives his work is a desire for an authentic representation of the Muslim community’s humanity.

Tariq’s films have received recognition for their sensitive perspectives on difficult societal issues.

Here is a link to “These Birds Walk”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDfPi8gSqek

The Red, White, n Brown Ride so far

Red, White, n Brown has been around for almost one full year. We, the moderators, have loved hearing reader suggestions and following both your posts and your comments.

Here is a WordPress report on our work:

An excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

We are looking forward to continuing in 2015. Please feel free to submit ideas and potential entries to redwhitenbrown@gmail.com.

And please comment on individual entries! We want to hear from you!

Have a very Desi New Year!