Kal Penn released a statement condemning racial profiling on Friday after speaking with several prominent South Asian community leaders.
I support the statement from South Asian community leaders on the impact of racial profiling. I have and still do oppose racial profiling in any form. I want to thank SAALT and the Applied Research Center for reaching out and starting to educate and dialogue with me about these issues. I plan on being in regular contact with these great community leaders and allies around the issue of racial profiling, and to dialogue with and engage others about it. It’s important for all our communities to be educated, informed and mobilized.
Penn’s words come at the end of a week mired in controversy for the actor after a series of tweets on New York City’s Stop and Frisk policy drew the ire of fans. South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) reached out to Kal Penn after seeing his tweets.
Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and Deepa Iyer of SAALT put out a statement detailing the harm of Stop and Frisk. The statement was signed by many prominent names including Vijay Iyer, DJ Rekha, Pramila Jayapal and Vanita Gupta.
Sen and Iyer’s statement specifically references the impact racial profiling has had on South Asians since Sept. 11. They write:
The negative racial impact and ineffectiveness of stop and frisk would be reason enough to oppose it. And, South Asian communities have an additional stake in this debate.Especially since September 11, South Asians are routinely targeted as would-be terrorists in many settings. Plenty of people say that South Asians, Sikhs and Muslims commit more terrorist acts to justify that profiling. South Asians have endured harassment at airports and at the border, interrogations and detentions by immigration authorities in the name of national security, and surveillance of Muslim Students Associations, mosques, and restaurants. In fact, the NYPD is facing lawsuits for their surveillance of Muslim communities.A recent report by South Asian American organizations in New York City and nationally reveals the deep impact of racial and religious profiling on South Asian New Yorkers, many of whom are young, working class people who struggle with being singled out by authorities, including the NYPD. Indeed, plenty of young South Asians themselves have been victims of stop and frisk policies—in both terrorism and non-terrorism related contexts—even in schools.
You can read the entire statement at Colorlines.