The Decade’s Seven Definitive Diaspora Moments

Where we’ve been in the 2010s, and where we’re going next.

Meghna Rao

December 23, 2019

The Decade’s Seven Definitive Diaspora Moments
"Immigrants Make America Great" signage in Seattle, Washington (Nitish Meena)

At times, it can be hard to take a step back and tell how far the diaspora has come, a long way from the days of Bhagat Singh Thind, who in 1923 argued that Indians should be allowed to become citizens of the United States because they were “Caucasian.” It seems unfathomable that we’ll ever again see the mid-2000s accent-mocking jokes of Russell Peters, or an award-winning movie about Mahatma Gandhi that barely investigated his flaws.

The past 10 years have moved fast. Today, the diaspora can be found arguing about the seemingly trivial (has chai really been appropriated?), or participating in global movements to protest South Asia’s injustices, from the revocation of Kashmir’s semi-autonomous state to the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act. We revisit the trends that helped shape the diaspora from 2010 through 2019.