Registering his displeasure at the manner in which a US police officer had reportedly laughed at the death of an Indian student — Jaahnavi Kandula — in the US, one of India’s most popular singers Sid Sriram said “brown” people who migrated to the USA are led to believe that they must fit into a social construct called “model minority” and it is time they actively fought against the idea.
Sid Sriram himself has spent considerable time in the USA.
Taking to social media to pen his thoughts on the incident that triggered massive social outrage, the singer wrote: “I’ve been quiet on here the past (of) couple days, the Jaahnavi Kandula news fucked me up.”
He added, “Many brown folks who immigrated to the US in the late 80s, early 90s, or later have unconsciously fit into a construct that was created for us called the ‘model minority’.”
‘Expected to keep our heads down’
About the brown people in the US, the singer said, “The expectation is that we are to be a quiet, passive and well-behaved bunch who keep their heads down, do exemplary work and not ruffle any feathers.”
He further added, “Now, while I do understand that this position is still one of privilege and that there are various groups of people around the world who face realities far, far graver, this instance/context is still one that must be spoken about.”
The ace singer said, “The ‘value’ that disgusting cop spoke about and the flippancy with which he said this is a direct reflection of how we as a population are viewed by many here.”
He said the only thought that kept recurring in his mind was: “Directly fight the model minority myth, fuck being passive. Be loud, take up space, speak up in all ways micro and macro, actively fight against the idea that we must conform to any stereotype, wear all aspects of your individual identity on your sleeve without apology,” the singer said that our value was infinitely powerful.
“Prayers up for her family. Real prayers, no lip service,” he said in conclusion.
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Jaahnavi Kandula, a student from Andhra Pradesh, was pursuing her master’s degree at the Northeastern University campus in South Lake Union.
She left for the US through a student exchange programme. She was expected to graduate this December.
The tragic incident in question happened when Jaahnavi Kandula was hit by a patrol car driven by a cop called Kevin Dave in Seattle on 23 January. Dave reportedly drove his car at nearly 120 km an hour when the accident occurred.
What triggered the outrage was footage released by the Seattle Police Department that showed police officer Daniel Auderer, who was evaluating Dave for potential impairment, laughing and joking about the incident.
Auderer, while in conversation with the guild’s president Mike Solan, laughed several times after saying “She is dead”. He also said, “Yeah, just write a check. Eleven thousand dollars. She was 26 anyway…She had limited value.”
She was pursuing her Master’s Degree at Northeast University, and her life was cut short by recklessness. We refuse to let Jaahnavi’s life be demeaned or dismissed.
— Norbert Elikes (@NorbertElikes) September 13, 2023