Online platforms are at the core of manufacturing and disseminating Islamophobic hate globally, and in Aotearoa New Zealandi. The Islamophobic hate on these platforms is largely unregulated, with both platform-driven mechanisms and state/civil society led mechanisms largely absent in regulating this hate. The current digital environment in Aotearoa is largely unregulated when it comes to addressing hate targeting communities at the margins, and particularly so when it comes to regulating Islamophobic hate. The Human Rights Act does not offer protections to Muslims who are targets of religious hate. Moreover, hegemonic constructions of human rights within the structures of colonialism have produced and disseminated Islamophobia to legitimize neocolonial interventions, including in the most recent instances of imperial intervention as evidenced in Operation Iraqi Freedomii, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestineiii.
The constructions of free speech in policy conversations on regulation have catalysed the proliferation of digital hate while simultaneously silencing the voices of communities at the margins experiencing the hateiv. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the discursive constructions of freedom as an instrument for spreading colonial violence are embedded in the white supremacy of the settler colonial state that has systematically worked to erase the voices of Māori while simultaneously protecting and feeding racist speech targeting Māoriv. The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 and the mechanisms of Netsafe are not built to address the hate targeting marginalized communities. The underlying whiteness that shapes the digital environment individualizes the sources of hate, simultaneously individualizing the responses to hate, and is not built to address pile-on, networked forms of hate, and hate that originates from the structures of white supremacy. This individualizing ideology leaves the underlying infrastructure of white supremacy intact, replete with rhetorical devices that claim kindness and altruism. This lack of an adequate regulatory framework is normalized through the Islamophobic infrastructure of the Crown, reflected in its security intelligence infrastructure that has mainstreamed Islamophobia through the marking of the Muslim as the “other” in the 9/11 climate and the neocolonial war on terrorvi.
The Christchurch terrorist attack is often individualized in mainstream public discourse as the act of an individual extremist.
This individualization of white supremacist violence is an essential feature of the whiteness of the settler colonial state.
In this individualizing ideology, violence is attributed to a lone extremist who has been radicalized.
The response then is an individualizing response, directed at the individual extremist with the justice system of the settler colonial state organized to respond to the extremist.
The intelligence-security apparatus of the settler colonial state is organized around techniques of surveillance and monitoring directed at identifying and containing individuals likely to be radicalized and turned into extremists.
The individualizing ideology on one hand places the cause of the violence in the actions of an individual who is portrayed to have been radicalized by an ideology. On the other hand, the individualization of the violence keeps intact the very structure of white supremacy that underpins the violence.
Moreover, the individualizing ideology conveniently erases the white supremacy that makes up the institutional structure of the intelligence-military-police infrastructure of the settler colonial state.
The Australian extremist who carried out the violence in Christchurch is an extension of the white supremacy that forms the settler colonial infrastructure of Australia. This settler colonial structure in Australia is scripted into its political, juridical, military, security, and intelligence institutions.
White supremacy is built into the structure of the Australian state that has historically been organized around violence directed toward aboriginal communities.On March 18, 2023, a few days after the four-year anniversary of the Christchurch terrorist attack, at an anti-transgender event hosted by the British anti-trans rights figure Kellie-Jay Keen who is currently touring Australia, Nazis dressed in black are seen taking the Nazi salute on the steps of the Victoria parliament.
As the Nazis march through the streets onto the steps of the parliament, the Australian police are seen protecting them. In powerful images that depict the interplays of white supremacy of the police and the Nazis, the police are shown lining up to safeguard the Nazis as they take the salute.
Anti-fascist activists challenging the Nazis document the violence carried out by the police directed at the anti-fascist activists protesting the Nazis.
Moreover, anti-fascist activists document an Australian police member who flashed a white power sign at an earlier protest. In another report, Australian activists document the presence of Nazis in the Australian military.
The institutionalization of white supremacist hate within the infrastructures of the police and military exists in continuity with the racist colonial structure of Australia.
Four years since the Christchurch terrorist attack and the Australian state has continued to let the white supremacy within its structures go unchallenged.
To address the white supremacist hate that led to the Christchurch terrorist attack is to first recognize the white supremacy that is embedded within the organizing logics of the state.
This recognition then can offer the starting point for undoing the racism and hate percolating through the cellular structures of Australian police, military, and related institutions.
I have been so looking forward to reading Byron Clark’s “Fear.”
Over the past three years, as I have read and watched Clark’s analyses of the far-right ecosystem in Aotearoa New Zealand, I have come to respect his evidence-based analytic work that is at the same time activist, directly responding to the threats to marginalized communities posed by far-right extremism.
His analytic work has been critical to the ongoing challenges to far-right extremism led by activists.
Byron’s knowledge of the hate ecosystem emerges directly from the empirically grounded challenge he has posed to this ecosystem by placing his body on the line. It is worth pointing out here, that like many other activists in this space, Byron mostly does this work as unpaid labor, and he sustains himself through his day job (I will return to this point toward the end of the article).
So, when some of my activist interlocutors whose work challenges Islamophobic hate in Aotearoa sent me a review of Byron’s book by Chris Wilson, I was disappointed to read it.
Let me note at the beginning that Wilson begins his review by praising Byron for his work exposing a range of what Wilson terms fringe political ideologies. He then goes on to point out places where the book could have been improved, specifically in its definition of terms and presentation of evidence.
I will focus here on a particular part of Wilson’s review, his suggestion that Clark presents no evidence of a Hindutva threat in Aotearoa.
What counts as evidence
In his review, writing about Hindutva, Wilson writes:
“For example, Hindutva is presented as present and threatening in New Zealand, but with little to no evidence. Because of a lack of demonstrable activity or presence here, the author uses the fact that the New Zealand Hindu Council is affiliated to the India-based nationalist organisation VHP, to discuss in much greater length the VHP’s extremist activity in India, even including a discussion of the riots in Gujarat in 2002.”
This paragraph is flawed in its argumentation.
It begins with the claim that Clark presents Hindutva as threatening in Aotearoa, “with little to no evidence.”
Note then the following sentence that points to Byron’s observation that the New Zealand Hindu Council is affiliated to the India-based nationalist organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
That Clark has established the link between the New Zealand Hindu Council and VHP is itself evidence of the threat to social cohesion in Aotearoa posed by Hindutva.
Also consider here that Wilson doesn’t operationalize the concept of threat; so what is he assessing Clark’s evidence on the basis of is largely unclear.
If we take social cohesion as the value to uphold (my insertion of a value), that the New Zealand Hindu Council is affiliated to the India-based nationalist organization VHP is of great concern here in Aotearoa. I have personally learned about the threat posed by Hindutva-aligned organizations such as the VHP to New Zealand democracy (including academic freedom) the hard way.
A number of Indian-origin community members, including Indian minorities and Indian activists in Aotearoa have documented the threat posed by Hindutva to democracy and social cohesion in Aotearoa. In March 2021, a Sikh youth had been attacked online in New Zealand.
Wilson then goes on to write:
“This history of violence and extremism in India will give many readers the impression that something similar is present in New Zealand, when no evidence has been provided for this inference.”
The sentence above is ambiguous and lacks clarity. The ambiguity itself is strategic, not naming Hindutva as the driver of the violence and omitting the robust body of evidence on the nature of the VHP and other affiliated Hindutva organizations as right-wing extremist groups and their roles in violence.
Wilson’s account bypasses this history of violence and extremism in India directly connected to the VHP, instead making a generic statement about the history of violence and extremism in India.
Consider here that the VHP has been linked with attacks on Muslims and Christians, organized attacks on mosques and churches, destruction of the Babri masjid, and various incidences of violence across regions.
Hindutva is a radicalizing force globally, leading to violence in the Indian diaspora across Western democracies. It has been linked with violence in United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
CARE’s research has documented the online infrastructure of Hindutva in Aotearoa New Zealand. The activist group Aotearoa Alliance of Progressive Indians (AAPI) has consistently and systematically highlighted the presence of Hindutva in Aotearoa New Zealand including the role of the New Zealand Hindu Council in spreading disinformation as an organization affiliated with Hindutva. AAPI has raised critical concerns of relationships between community leaders in Aotearoa New Zealand and Hindutva.
That the association of New Zealand Hindu Council with VHP doesn’t count as evidence of threats posed by Hindutva to Wilson is of concern, particularly given his expert role on countering violent extremism. Although Wilson is not discounting the presence of Hindutva in Aotearoa New Zealand, his argument about what counts as evidence for an organization to be counted as threat raises the question whether the incidences outlined above meet Wilson’s threshold of a threat. Alas, we wouldn’t know because Wilson doesn’t define the term threat within this context, something he accuses Clark of not doing adequately in his book.
By this logic, affiliation or association doesn’t count as evidence of the presence of a threat. Is the same definitional parameter used by the New Zealand security community when conceptualizing affiliations with organizations such as ISIS (Note here the similarities with ISIS shared by Hindutva).
Moreover, Wilson complains that Clark does not explain why Hindutva should be understood as “far right,” ignoring the evidence that Byron does present of Hindutva’s underlying fascist far-right ideology.
In fact, Byron is one of the few New Zealand-based activists that has engaged activists in the Indian diaspora in dialogue about the threats of Hindutva. One of his earliest analyses of the relationship between the Hindutva proponent Roy Kaunds, Kelvyn Alp and Counterspin media (Wilson does accept Alp and Counterspin as examples of the far-right) offered a conceptual framework for examining the discursive flows between the Islamophobia of Hindutva and the Islamophobia of white supremacy that I have discussed in my public writing.
Performative references to Christchurch
It is ironic that Wilson begins his opinion piece in Newsroom by referring to the Christchurch terrorist attack (that directly targets Muslims, with its attack on mosques).
Yet there is not a single reference to Islamophobia (the driving force behind the Chrictcurch attack and the underlying ideology that connects white supremacists with Hindutva) in Wilson’s essay.
The whiteness (referring to the hegemonic values of white culture, held up as universal) of the extremism industry that has flourished post-Christchurch is marked by similar ongoing gaslighting of the actually existing Islamophobia in Aotearoa New Zealand (including its casual omission).
There is no reference in Wilson’s review of the concerns regarding Hindutva extremism and Islamophobia in Aotearoa expressed by Muslim women activists.
These same activists had earlier raised multiple alarm bells about a potential extremist attack targeting Muslims and driven by Islamophobia. Here’s the noted activist Anjum Rahman speaking about Hindutva:
“It’s extreme hate…It’s dehumanising material, trying to dehumanise our community.”
The Stuff article citing Rahman goes on to note:
“Later, Rahman shares with Stuff social media posts containing abuse directed at Muslims. She’s right – it’s dehumanising and awful. Similar material has been cited in a report from Massey University researcher Mohan Dutta who has studied discrimination against minority groups in India and in the Indian diaspora.”
Context and structures matter
The systemic erasure of the voices of Muslim communities and activists post the Christchurch terrorist attack has been accompanied by the ongoing erasure of the evidence of Islamophobia presented by Muslims.
In our research carried out at CARE with Muslim communities experiencing hate, the ongoing erasure of accounts of evidence is part of the racist structure that upholds and perpetuates Islamophobia. Muslim communities and activists often ask, How much evidence on the drivers of violence is actually evidence that will count for security experts?
And more vitally, when will the accounting of this evidence actually lead to positive policy responses that do something about the drivers of hate.
This ongoing discounting of evidence is accompanied by the systemic individualization of the analytic framework imposed by the expert security community, shaped by the hegemonic values of whiteness.
As focus is turned on identifying, categorizing and surveilling violent individuals, the structural contexts and drivers of violence remain erased from mainstream analytic frameworks. It is this individualization within the security apparatus that fails to see Hindutva’s links to violence (after all, Hindutva supporters in the Indian diaspora are often professionals and members of the successful model minority business community).
Moreover, the absence of structural analysis means that security experts and bureaucrats conveniently turn a blind eye to the actually existing Islamophobia within the security community itself, which fundamentally underlies the perpetuation of Islamophobia.
Silence doesn’t make the problem go away
Toward the end of his review, Wilson suggests that we need to take care about how we describe the various groups under the umbrella of the far-right, conspiracy theorists, and anti-government movements. He suggests that not taking adequate care in defining these groups would likely push them together, generate misplaced fear, and contribute to rising polarization.
I agree with Wilson. We need to take great care in defining the various groups that threaten democracy and social cohesion and develop appropriate response strategies that are nuanced.
At the same time, digging our head in the sand and pretending these groups don’t exist or they don’t pose a threat to our social cohesion is not going to curb the rising polarization. In fact, doing so might fuel further polarization.
Not counting, categorizing and adequately responding to the threat posed by Hindutva in Aotearoa New Zealand is likely to further heighten the sense of marginalization felt by Indian minorities here. Moreover, such discounting of evidence is likely to empower Hindutva ideologues here in Aotearoa New Zealand to continue to target social cohesion and democracy.
Without adequate structural responses and frameworks for empowering communities at the margins in the Indian diaspora, the inter-communal threat posed by Hindutva is likely to go unchecked. We can’t wait for Hindutva violence to show itself for us to then respond to it post-hoc. Lessons learned from Christchurch, Australia, Leicester ought to offer us insights into strategies for countering Hindutva.
What qualifies you as an expert
Talking about credentials, historically, we have turned to academic expertise as the basis for generating knowledge. This knowledge then has shaped how we have historically crafted policies, developed interventions, and responded to these interventions.
Knowledge, therefore, is directly tied to policies.
Given the severe lack of diversity in academic disciplines, this has meant that academic knowledge informing policy formations is also severely limited. The absence of minority communities who are the targets of majoritarian hate and violence from decision-making spaces has meant that conceptual frameworks are largely absent in addressing the hate and violence.
Consider the area of terrorism and conflict studies and the ways in which this area has been shaped by academic expertise. That the area has been largely dominated by whiteness and imperial agenda has meant that what is operationalized as terror and therefore placed under surveillance has been grossly shaped by Islamophobia post-9/11. The prevailing ideology of the “War on Terror” has over-surveilled Muslims, mainstreamed the racist targeting of Muslims, and legitimized the terror narrative that drives Islamophobia. Ultimately, the mainstreaming of the Muslim terror narrative is directly tied to the accelerated growth of Islamophobic white supremacist and Hindutva hate post 9/11.
I have found my own knowledge of studying social change as constrained within the rules and norms of academia. These rules and norms themselves are often established within the structures of whiteness, the hegemonic values of white mainstream academic culture.
Working with activists in CARE’s activist-in-residence programming and learning from their knowledge I have found brings critical insights that shape the mobilization toward structural transformation. The ability to see broad linkages and to explore these linkages is vital to mapping the far-right threat to social cohesion and democracies globally. I am so glad that Byron has dedicated a Chapter on Hindutva in his book. For the Indian diaspora minority communities and activists who have witnessed the accelerated growth of Hindutva in Aotearoa over the past decade, Byron’s intervention is vital to placing in the mainstream their concerns about hate.
by Marise Lant and Mohan J. Dutta, Center for Culture – Centered Approach to Research & Evaluation, Massey University
In this white paper , we outline the vitality of connecting across cultures, anchored in Māori leadership in shaping and guiding anti-racist interventions in Aotearoa New Zealand, connected to anti-colonial struggles by Māori. Noting that the entrenched settler colonialism in New Zealand is based on a history of Whiteness, we argue that witnessing this Whiteness in the colonial configuration of New Zealand is the first step to dismantling it. Māori have historically experienced, negotiated and resisted the racist structures of Whiteness that form the architectures of settler colonialism in New Zealand through their everyday organizing across whanau and hapū. We center Whiteness to the colonial structures of racism in New Zealand because of the centering of White norms as the basis for perpetuating oppression, expulsion, genocide, rape, and murder of indigenous communities (Māori in New Zealand) and the simultaneous marginalisation of communities of colour, many of whom have experienced similar histories of expulsion, genocide, and violence.
In this paper, we argue that recognizing and centering the leadership of Māori as people of the land lies at the heart of the process of cultural centering we discuss here, anchoring interventions seeking transformations in racist structures in the everyday lived experiences of the indigenous people of the land. The leadership of Māori is vital to anti racist struggles not only as a way for building strategies that work but more fundamentally as the basis for turning to Te Tiriti. At the same time, connecting with the struggles of communities of colour, migrants and refugees in Aotearoa New Zealand creates a framework of solidarity that sees the Whiteness percolating through racist structures, witnesses the connections between them, and seeks to decolonize them. We argue here that seeing the connections between and across indigenous, ethnic, migrant and refugee struggles is central to culture-centered strategies of anti-racism that seek to dismantle Whiteness in colonial organisations, institutions, and society.
 We note in the naming of the white papers as authorial sources of knowledge the logics of Whiteness that constructs it.
 Whiteness refers to the hegemonic values of the colonising white culture, established as universal. See Moreton-Robinson, A. (2015). The white possessive: Property, power, and indigenous sovereignty. U of Minnesota Press
 Here we note the ongoing efforts at silencing conversations on Whiteness in Aotearoa by both white liberals and white supremacists. While white liberals suggest that the concept of Whiteness does not apply to Aotearoa, white supremacists deploy the age-old strategy of using communicative inversion by labelling anti-racist critiques of Whiteness as racist toward white communities.
Marise Lant is a Māori leader; Lobbyist,an Indigenous rights protector; Founder of 250 Years of Colonisation – The Aftermath leading the protest and burning of the Union Jack in opposition and response to the arrival of the year replica of Endeavour to Gisborne on 8 October 2019;Previous chairperson of the Tairāwhiti District Māori Womens Welfare League; Current representative on the Tairāwhiti District Māori Council;Supporter of the Tairāwhiti Multicultural Council.
by Catherine Delahunty and Mohan J. Dutta, Center for Culture – Centered Approach to Research & Evaluation, Massey University
The climate and environmental crises we are in the midst of are symptoms of the failed extractive economic system based on colonial theft. The disproportionate burdens of climate change borne by Indigenous and local communities across the Global South foreground the importance of locating justice as the anchor to climate change organising. In this white paper, we argue that climate change cannot be addressed without the recognition of the racial capitalist processes that drive it. Based on the recognition that both colonialism and capitalism shape climate change, we propose that we cannot solve the crisis of climate change by relying on the colonising traditions and profit-driven techno fixes offered by the west, immersed in the ideology of whiteness. We offer the argument that addressing climate change calls for centering a justice-based framework that is both anti-colonial and anti-capitalist, and that looks to Indigenous peoples and local communities in the Global South to learn to rebuild relationships with the earth and with each other.
CARE was proud to host and welcome our next Activist In Residence- Catherine Delahunty who will be conducting Activist in Residence public events and collaborating with Prof. Mohan Dutta on Replacing Colonial Theft and Capitalism by Lunch Time between, 10- 14 October 2022 at CARE, Manawatū campus, Massey University.
Bio: Catherine Delahunty is a Pākehā activist and educator with a long history in critical thinking and radical organising. She organised the first high school students union in Aotearoa when she was 15 and at 68 she is still organising and teaching in environmental activism, Te Tiriti workshops,anti racism education and the campaign to support a free West Papua. She was a Green MP from 2008 until 2017 and is a Trustee and tutor at Kotare Trust, The Basket – social and environmental justice Hauraki, and member of West Papua Action Aotearoa, and is Chair of Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki who work to protect Hauraki Coromandel from multinational mining. She has been active in the group over 40 years. Her writing includes essays and columns in anti colonisation and Te Tiriti issues, the struggle against mining and in valuing participatory radical education, as well as poetry and fiction.
Friday, 14 October 10.30 am NZDT Activist In Residence: CARE White Paper Launch- Replacing Colonial Extractivism and Capitalism by Lunch Time with Catherine Delahunty and Professor Mohan Dutta Venue: CJM COMMS LAB BSC B1.08 and Live on the CARE Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CAREMassey/live_videos
by Christine Elers & Prof. Mohan J. Dutta , Center for Culture-centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE)
The erasure of indigenous voice goes hand-in-hand with the occupation of indigenous land. What we witness over the past seven years at Ihumātao, as an extension of over a century of colonialism in Aotearoa, is the deployment of colonial tactics to erase and silence the voices of indigenous Māori peoples. Through a variety of tactics the controls over which are held by the colonizers, Māori voices resisting colonialism are silenced. The very uses of communicative strategies of indigenous participation are deployed in logics established by the colonizer to prop up and perpetuate the colonial-capitalist structure, with the state making claims to having created opportunities for participation. The capitalist interests, served through naturalized logics of the market, reflect the oppressive nature of colonialism, all the while working to erase through the very performance of tools of participation and engagement. In this backdrop, drawing from the ongoing protests at Ihumātao, in this white paper, we attend to the organizing role of indigenous voice as the basis for dismantling colonial capitalism. The Māori voice of resistance in Ihumātao, resounds with indigenous voices in Hawaii, who are protecting their sacred land – Mauna Kea from the construction and intrusion of a giant telescope on the summit. Elsewhere across the globe the plurivocality of resistance offer pathways for addressing the very challenges that have been brought on by the accelerated corporate-colonialism of neoliberal governmentality.
A Washington Post story published on June 2, titled “Google’s plan to talk about caste bias led to ‘division and rancor’,” documents the resistance put up by employees at Google identifying themselves as Hindu protesting the platforming of a pedagogy-based lecture by the dalit rights activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan, the founder and executive director of Equality Labs. Equality Labs is a nonprofit that advocates for Dalits.
What is powerful about the story is the complicity of the infrastructure of Google in de-platforming the event and in targeting the organizer of the event at Google, Tanuja Gupta, who worked as a senior manager at Google News.
The disinformation campaign organized by Hindu employees targeting Soundararajan called her “Hindu-phobic” and “anti-Hindu” in emails to the company’s leaders.
I am very familiar with these tropes, rooted in disinformation, that are increasingly being deployed by Hindutva adherents to target critics of Hindutva, particularly academics, journalists, and activists.
Over the course of the past year, in response to my scholarship on Hindutva and the support of CARE, the center I direct, for a conference titled “Dismantling Global Hindutva,” I have experienced relentless attacks fuelled by a disinformation campaign labelling me Hinduphobic and accusing me of spreading “Hindumisia” (both Hinduphobia and Hindumisia are terms concocted by Hindutva to silence critics of the hateful ideology). These attacks have taken the forms of letter-writing campaigns directed at my employer, threats on Twitter, sexually violent emails threatening rape, and death threats on digital platforms.
What is critical to this global disinformation campaign is the role of formally recognized organizations such as Hindu Council and Hindu Youth here in Aotearoa, Hindu American Foundation in the US, as well as professionals and business owners in disseminating the disinformation.
In the context of Google, the disinformation is seeded and disseminated by employees.
In doing so, Hindutva adherents draw on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies, making the claim that the criticism of caste or Islamophobia in Hindutva violates the principles of DEI.
The Indian Institutes of Technologies that both the Google CEO Sundar Pichai (a Tamil Brahmin) and I attended (Pichai graduated two years ahead of me from IIT Kharagpur), and that boast of having trained the leaders of the global tech sector (IIT Bombay alumnus Parag Agarwal is the Twitter CEO, the chairman and CEO of IBM is the IIT Kanpur B.Tech Arvind Krishna, among many other alums who lead the tech sector) were founded on the principle of cultivating the scientific temper and preparing the engineers that will build the newly independent postcolonial nation.
Inherent in the construction of the IITs is a Brahminical structure that privileges specific forms of merit that draw upon the historic hierarchies of caste in India.
The very notion of merit is rooted in and intrinsically intertwined with caste in the Indian context.
That caste hierarchies and the accompanying oppressions have shaped access to learning resources and opportunities for learning are erased from the hegemonic caste formations that shape education, and certainly engineering education, in India.
These caste hierarchies are intensified in the IITs, with their projection of elite education based on the hyper-competitive joint entrance examination.
At IIT, Kharagpur, the Institution I attended, the caste structure played out in the largely Brahmin men, and the occasional Brahmin women, that formed the professorial ranks. The Mukherjees, Chatterjees, Banerjees, and the Bhattacharyas (Bengali Brahmins) made up these ranks, replete with the taken-for-granted practices of inclusion and exclusion, rooted in caste supremacy. In the 1990s when I attended the IITs, it was rare to take a course from a dalit professor.
It would be worthwhile to examine the caste composition of the Professoriate in the IITs in 2022.
Marked as “quota students,” dalits are subjected to racialized slurs challenging their intelligence and their right to be in the IITs. These racialized slurs were often uttered by peers and reinforced by Professors.
The power of the caste infrastructure is held up through communication, through gossip networks that undermine, through racialized slurs, and through practices of touch and body that exclude.
In 2021, an IIT Kharagpur Professor was video recorded bullying and verbally abusing dalit students. This recording offered an account of practices of casteist violence that are deep-seated in the institutions.
Caste-based inequality flows from education into the technology sectors, with discriminatory practices around touch, racialized verbal and emotional abuse, and denial of opportunities to dalits built into organizational structures.
Global technology organizations such as Google have large representation of South Asians, with a strong presence of Indians.
For Indians in such tech organizations, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) forms a key resource in addressing the challenges of organizational bias and structural racism.
Hindutva-espousing professionals within organizations such as Google then communicatively invert caste, on one hand, erasing the presence of caste, and on the other hand, claiming that any discussion of caste in Hinduism is Hinduphobic and will result in discrimination of Hindus. The erasure of caste oppression then is incorporated into the discursive architecture, denying caste oppression while perpetuating it.
Salient in the farewell note of Tanuja Gupta to Google is the following account:
“Of all the organizing I have done at this company, I think many are surprised that fighting for caste equity was the lightning rod issue that took me down. But I have an Indian CEO and SVP who both know exactly what’s going on and tacitly approve of everything that’s happened. I know this because multiple VPs and Directors confirmed that in Sundar’s Leads meeting, they discussed the need for a new universal vetting process of speakers to ensure this doesn’t happen again. So my hope is that Googlers start to understand the magnitude of this issue, and the threat that their greater understanding poses to the South Asians in power.”
The discussion of caste in global tech organizations threatens the power consolidated by upper caste Indians within these organizations. The discussion of caste disrupts the carefully crafted model minority narrative that is essential to the upward mobility of Indians in the tech sector and to the perpetuation of the meritocratic myth that fuels the tech sector. The discussion of caste threatens to reveal the misogyny, violence, and racism that forms the communicative infrastructure of a cross-section of Hindu society.
Paradoxically, the claims to DEI serve as tools for shutting down necessary discussions of caste violence in tech.
The silencing of the voices of dalits within organizational structures is violence that perpetuates Hindutva. Moreover, the erasure of conversations on caste in tech forecloses critical conversations on the role of caste in shaping algorithms and platform infrastructures. These are critical questions as the speak to the organizing role of a racist ideology in shaping platform algorithms and search engines. Critical conversations on caste led by dalits is vital to building just platform architectures.
Professor Mohan Dutta isDean’s Chair Professor of Communication. He is the Director of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), developing culturally-centered, community-based projects of social change, advocacy, and activism that articulate health as a human right.
Google #ThenmozhiSoundararajan #EqualityLabs #Dalits #IITKharagpur #IndianInstitutesOfTechnologies #Hindutva #CAREMassey #CAREMasseyNZ #CARECCA
Executive Summary: As a Māori Expert Advisory Group (MEAG), the advice in this report for the Ministry of Health – Manatū Hauora (the Ministry) has been undertaken with a clear view of accountabilities and Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations.The MEAG was asked to provide leadership and advice on scoping a training programme for the routine enquiry of family violence, sexual violence, child abuse and neglect (FVSV), for primary health care and community providers, to benefit our whānau. Part of the brief was to examine what elements from the Violence Intervention Programme (VIP), a training programme implemented across all district health boards (DHBs), could be used in the Primary Health Care Sector. This report outlines the work undertaken over eighteen months and includes a final set of recommendations for the Ministry to consider.
In writing this report MEAG have been conscious of the multiple audiences, from ministerial and Ministry of Health observers through to whānau and health providers, as contributors.
This audience-based focus is part of the promise of reciprocity to our Māori and Pasefika providers and other organisations who provided their insights, knowledge and experience – this report is to honour their voices.
From those commitments and the desire for an open readership, the content is created to be accessible to all readers. Context explanations in several sections may seem repetitive to some experienced ministry level analytical audiences, but this stance is deliberately taken by MEAG to provide for the whole audience.
The MEAG developed a three-part approach and framework for our work, that is based on the idea of understanding and interpreting the signs from our environment and responding appropriately. The report is laid out using theseheadings – but emphasises that processes are rarely linear and cycle from, responding to our environment, regularly switching from information gathering to analysis to imagining the future back to information gathering again. The intersectionality and the contextual impact of violence inform each hui we held, and the knowledge that was shared.
Ibrahim Omer became an MP to represent communities who often struggle to have their voices heard. His experience spans fleeing his home country, being in a refugee camp, working as a minimum wage cleaner, graduating from university, and representing low paid workers as a union organiser.
Rebecca Macfie is an award winning New Zealand journalist, with a background in workplace, health and safety, business and climate writing. She is the author of Tragedy at Pike River Mine:How and why 29 men died (2013), and Helen Kelly: Her Life (2021).
Anita Rosentreter is the Strategic Project Coordinator for Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing at FIRST Union. She leads the campaign Real Work Real Jobs, which aims to turn insecure work into secure work. Target groups include gig workers, those in labour hire, and dependent contractors.