In response to Donald Trump’s cringeworthy attempts to court the support of South Asian Americans, a group of actors, musicians, and writers have joined forces to send their own message to the community.
Eleven South Asian American celebrities, including Arjun Gupta, Sheetal Sheth, Utkarsh Ambudkar, are featured in a new video meant for any elders or parents who are still thinking about supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“Please, please don’t be on the wrong side of history,” the actors said in the scripted video. “Because even if you’re not with her, he’s not with you.”
Is this the world you want for your grandchildren?”
The video encourages “ammammas and appappas,” “nanas and nanis” to remember why they came to the United States ― to seek a better life and chase the American Dream. It then shows footage from Trump’s speeches and rallies ― including recordings of his anti-immigrant rhetoric and the moment a Sikh protestor was kicked out of a campaign event. The video also includes screen grabs of news headlines describing attacks against people of South Asian descent in America.
“It doesn’t matter how you voted in the past. This is about our future,” the actors said. “Is this the world you want for your grandchildren?”
I think South Asians specifically should be worried about trickle-down racism and hate crimes."
The violent rhetoric that has emerged during this election cycle is something that is very troubling to the video’s executive producer Vijay Chattha. Chattha, founder of a public relations company in San Francisco, told The Huffington Post that he believes all South Asians should be worried about a Trump presidency because it could prompt what he calls “trickle-down racism.”
“All Americans should be worried about things like the economy tanking as soon as Trump gets elected, his ability to have access to nuclear weapons, [his effect on] international relations,” Chattha said. “I think South Asians specifically should be worried about trickle-down racism and hate crimes. If he wins a lot of people are going to feel emboldened to do whatever they want to. That’s scary. Anyone who is South Asian should remember 9/11 and how the community was perceived afterwards. It was a scary time.”
Chattha said that the idea for this “passion project” came to him after multiple conversations with members of his own family who were lifelong Republicans and planned to vote for Trump this year.
Over the past few months, the Trump campaign has been making efforts to reach out to the small but vocal group of South Asians who are in his camp. The Republican Hindu Coalition hosted Trump at a charity event in mid-October. Last week, Trump released a Diwali ad in which he attempts to speak Hindi. The ad has reportedly been running on Indian-American television channels.
But the majority of South Asians aren’t convinced that Trump is the best choice for president. According to the 2016 National Asian American Survey, only 7 percent of Asian Indian registered voters said they are voting for or leaning towards voting for Trump. Nine percent were leaning towards other candidates, while 13 percent said they didn’t know, or refused to answer the survey question. On the other hand, 70 percent of Asian Indian registered voters said they were either voting for or leaning towards voting for the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Although it’s a small group that this video is intended to reach, Chattha hopes the message will make an impact in South Asian communities in swing states like Florida and Ohio.
“The more we can spread the word, the better,” he said.