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.