Coming Home: South Asians and the Politics of Family

Picture of Alok, wearing colorful clothes and yellow lipstick and looking down. To their left reads a quote in white that says “Our attachments to our blood families are not only sentimental, they are political. This sentimentality, this angst, this emotional labor is legitimate political work. Our turn toward our families of origin is part of a strategy of intimate organizing – a type of political work that often gets erased or dismissed  by dominant white and masculine standards of queer visibility.” The red POC logo is at the bottom. Image via Origins.

Picture of Alok, wearing colorful clothes and yellow lipstick and looking down. To their left reads a quote in white that says “Our attachments to our blood families are not only sentimental, they are political. This sentimentality, this angst, this emotional labor is legitimate political work. Our turn toward our families of origin is part of a strategy of intimate organizing – a type of political work that often gets erased or dismissed  by dominant white and masculine standards of queer visibility.” The red POC logo is at the bottom. Image via Origins.

by Abaki Beck

Our reading of the week is "Coming Home: South Asians and the Politics of Family" by writer and poet Alok Vaid-Menon. This beautiful personal essay discusses the politics of family as a queer South Asian. Alok discusses two main points: that strong family ties are a form of political organizing that is often delegitimized, and that South Asian families (Alok's family) are not transphobic or homophobic because they are "culturally backwards" or not "educated enough," but as a response to trauma, Orientalism, and racism. Alok argues that the oppression faced by South Asians often results in their rigid support of heteronormativity as a form of survival and protection, which distances them from their true cultural roots. Through this lens, Alok is interested in navigating their queerness within their family.

Read the full essay HERE!

POC Online Classroom strives to make readings and resources that celebrate the intellectual tradition and knowledge production of marginalized communities more accessible. Rad Reading is our series that highlight texts to read and writers to support! We will post every Tuesday.