In a new “Patriot Act” digital exclusive, which opens with the photo that has been haunting America over the past few days – Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on African American George Floyd’s neck – Indian American comedian Hasan Minhaj calls out Asians for their silence and for not stepping up to the plate.
He begins the 12-minute monologue by expounding on the widespread protests, rioting, looting, race, white privilege and stressing upon the fact that this time “We cannot stay silent, especially the Asian community.”
“It is a mass mobilization unlike anything I have ever seen before,” he says in the Netflix video, which also shows clips of cops punching protesters and tear gassing them.
He points out to the presence of an Asian officer at the scene, who he said, “blocked people off,” and the identity of the store owner – Arab American – whose clerk called the police on Floyd.
“That is America. A black man was murdered in cold blood, and we were on the f**g sidelines watching,” said Minhaj. “I’m not saying we were the ones who killed George Floyd. But we have to be the ones who pull that cop off his neck!”
He continues: “We think we’re not a part of the story, but we are at the scene of the crime! That’s why the full picture matters. This doesn't happen in a vacuum — it happens in a system.”
He added that people of color need to more than just share a black square on Instagram.
“We have to donate our money and time to black organizations,” said Minhaj. “…We have got to get our civics, law school nerd s**t on right now. Two things: legislation and voting. That changes history, and it scales.”
He took potshots at Asians, who, he said, were not doing anything else other than commenting on the situation.
“‘Yeh pagalpan kya hai (what kind of madness is this)? ‘Why are they doing this? What does this solve,’” he says while taking about Asians’ reactions to the looting.
Minhaj then acknowledges that he understands that a lot of people immigrated to the U.S. for order and stability.
“But imagine, if you lived in a country where the color of your skin got you killed for driving, jogging, sleeping, yelling, parking, babysitting, sitting in a van, selling CDs, selling cigarettes, opening the door, walking at night, wearing a hoodie at night, holding a toy gun, lying on the ground, being homeless, being in a dark stairwell, holding a cellphone, having a broken taillight, exercising horses, having a bottle of pills, shopping at Walmart, holding a BB gun at Walmart, holding a phone in your own backyard, eating ice cream in your own house, and shopping, you would say it’s a lawless country.”
He said Indians love black America but only on screen. “If a black man walks into your living room, or wants to date, God forbid, marry your daughter, you call the cops,” he says in the video. “We call them ‘Kala,’ it means black – not in a good way…”
Minhaj goes on to point out India’s obsession with white complexion and how Bollywood celebrities endorse fairness creams.
“It is bad to be black in desi culture…you don’t think that affects how we view black people?” he questions. “…But hey! It’s not our fight, right? This is a black/white issue.”
“America’s story didn’t start when we got here,” adds Minhaj. “When you became an American citizen, you don’t just get to own the country’s excellence. You have to own its failures. That is the deal.”
He ends the video by exhorting Attorney General of Minnesota Keith Ellison to charge and prosecute the four police officers as “hard as you possibly can.”
“They have got to go to prison. We can’t let this moment slip away,” he says.
Watch the video here: