We at Indiaspora have recently become aware of threats and personal attacks being directed against Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, in response to the FCC’s effort to rollback net neutrality regulations created by the former White House administration. The repeal of the policies, which will impact decisions regarding access and pricing of the Internet, has led to a firestorm of backlash by users on both sides of the issue.
In one of the most egregious acts of hate leveled against Pai, his family was threatened with signs mentioning his children posted at his place of residence. In addition, he has been the subject of racist and derogatory comments on the Internet, some of which have been instigated by fellow Indian Americans. In one instance, an Internet campaign led by an Indian American comedian has led to some personal and baseless attacks on Pai in which his Indian heritage is questioned.
While policies regarding net neutrality are understandably contentious and politically charged, we are saddened by these events, and would like to denounce such attacks that are personal in nature. As a nonprofit dedicated to transforming the success of Indian Americans and Indians into meaningful impact on the national and global stage, we support advancing our nations’ agendas in a respectful and tolerant manner, regardless of political or religious affiliation. We hope that we can come together in mutual respect when discussing any issue, especially one that affects our communities.
Given recent events, we reached out to Indian American leaders in our community to weigh in regarding these acts against Pai.
“Irrespective of your political leanings, behavior and threats against individuals for their actions are unacceptable. We should have zero tolerance for hate and xenophobia whether it’s directed from the left or right,” said Indiaspora member and political activist and leader Shekar Narasimhan. “It’s un-American and against all the tenets of our great religions.”
In addition, we would like to recognize Pai for his service to our community, including his mentorship to the Washington Leadership Program, a nonprofit which supports emerging South Asian leaders in public service.
“From his time as a member of the FCC as a commissioner and now chairman, he has always made time to meet and talk to our students about his journey as a child of immigrants navigating the world of policy and politics,” said Harin Contractor, WLP chair and executive board member.
“Personal racist and vulgar attacks against chairman Pai and his family should be condemned just as we condemned racist attacks against Congressman Bera and Congressman Khanna. We appreciate chairman Pai’s support of our mission, our students, and his willingness to engage in open and candid dialogue on policy disagreements with our students,” he added.
We hope that all Americans, including fellow members of our Indian American community, will refrain from resorting to hateful rhetoric moving forward, and instead will opt to discuss the merits of the policies presented. And we hope that in the future, we can come together as a community to collectively denounce any acts of hate and racism, which have no place in our national discourse.
Indiaspora is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to transforming the success of Indian Americans and Indians into meaningful impact worldwide.
On behalf of Indiaspora staff