Downwardly Global: Women, Work, and Citizenship in the Pakistani Diaspora
Racializing South Asia
This chapter discusses the ways that multicultural state ideologies about citizenship exclude Pakistani women who refuse liberal constructions of “South Asia.” This category is produced through a process of racialization that includes a range of actors and institutions at multiple scales, including the state, grassroots organizations, and even the practice of racism itself. The Pakistani women I spoke with often felt misidentified when culture is understood purely in terms of food, music, and clothing because it glosses them as Indian. The demand for recognizable difference, a radical alterity, rendered them invisible as Pakistani and hyper-visible as South Asian. This chapter traces the discursive construction of “South Asia” in multicultural Toronto and how women distance themselves from a state-produced category that has done little to mitigate the precarious social and economic position they must deal with.