Addressing Hinduphobia

Care – Take care of your energy and your well-being. Experiencing or witnessing an attack on your identity, tradition, community, and ancestors has a profound impact on the system. 

Document – Screenshot messages, have hard copies of syllabi, keep a log of incidences and conversations. It is good practice to send a follow up email after a phone call confirming what was discussed so that there is a written record. Make sure to document 

Confidant – Talk to a trusted person – a friend, mentor, or relative, for instance – about your experience. It’s important to remember that you are not alone. An experience of discrimination can leave us with feelings of isolation and disorientation, which is why it is so important to reach out and talk to someone. This can also be helpful later on, if you end up reporting the discrimination, as you will likely be asked if you told anyone what happened. 

Assess – Read the definition of Hinduphobia and unpack the incident(s) so that you are able to clearly articulate the ways in which it was discriminatory.  It can be helpful to turn to a confidant to do this. 

Understand your rights. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the protections afforded to you by your institution and by law. 

Communicate – Make a good faith effort to engage the person in a conversation about Hinduphobia.  Note: If this is someone who has a documented history of denying Hinduphobia and refusing to engage fairly in discussion, this may be an incredibly frustrating process. Still, it is important to make the effort, as a reflection of our own stance as well as collecting evidence. Make sure to document the exchange and, if possible, have a witness, as Hinduphobes notoriously gaslight and misrepresent interactions. 

If they are open to authentic conversation and feedback, call them in to have  

It’s also helpful (and confusing!) to remember that not all people who engage in Hinduphobic harassment have bad intentions.  Many people fall prey to these behaviors because they are a) poorly or completely misinformed about Hindu and Indian history and b) have been taught that this is standing up for justice. They think they’re being good people. Of course, this means someone is teaching them these ideas. 

If they are resistant to conversation, then it is time to take action.

Take action

  • Report the incident to Hindu on Campus and Understanding Hinduphobia using the Hinduphobia Tracker.  
  • Contact the office or person at your institution who is responsible for issues related to discrimination.
  • File an OCR report.
  • Remember to document every part of this process.