SXSW Experience


In this podcast I discuss my SXSW experience along with an update of the South Asian community in the 2016 elections. 


  • SXSW occurs in Austin, Texas and consists of three parts: Interactive, Music and Film.
  • I attended the American Muslim Taking Back Our Narrative and the Pakistani Music Showcase.
  • Overall, I had an amazing experience and really enjoyed seeing the startups with so many creative ideas!

American Muslim Panel

  • This panel was made up of American Muslims in a variety of careers which I found that to be so intriguing.
  • No matter what their careers were, they were able to come together for a common purpose and try to change the image of American Muslims.
  • I was enthralled and so impressed with what the panelists were doing to change that view along with how hard they worked to consistently make an outreach.
  • Some important points they covered: 
    • Fear of Muslims has two root causes: ignorance and media depiction.
    • How media is attempting to define American Muslims and telling us who we are. Which isn’t fair to us and it is quite frustrating.
    • This is why so many American Muslims have now taken to social media to try to change that narrative.
    • Social Media has created a proactive forum for Muslims to:
      • To define our communities.
      • Give us multiple channels to empower whole communities.
      • Address real community deficiencies from within.
    • Young Muslim Americans are the majority who are driving this conversation.
    • Even though we are only 2% of the US population we are the most diverse group. No other country has such a diverse group of Muslims.
    • We are able to use social media and take a negative event and spin it into positivity.
    • We are always asked where are the ‘moderate Muslims’ after each terrorist attack and we are getting sick and tired of answering it.
  • One question an audience member brought up was how in Denmark the Islamaphobia issue has become a political battle of We v. Them and he felt that the panel did the exact same thing and was wondering how we get out of that rut.
    • I agree with the panelists that while we may not necessarily feel that way, it has evolved to be this way because the media has portrayed us to be different than the average American. 
    • I think this can change once we try to change our narrative by becoming more politically involved and getting to know our neighbors.
  • They also brought up the outreach American Muslims did with regards to the Flint Water Crisis- it was great the amount of work American Muslims put into it but what if we became more involved?
    • We don’t need to wait for a crisis to show that we are there to help out, there are so many other crisis weighing down our nation that we can help out on.
      • Ex: Veteran affairs, health care, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, etc…
  • A personal concern I have: I see many American Muslim groups attempting to coalesce and bring about positive change but I see a division.
    • I don’t see many of the Ismaili community or Ahmadi community involved.
    • I don’t know if that is because they are not asked to be involved or they have their own groups. But, I feel that these American Muslim groups need to do a better job of representing ALL sects of Islam instead of just the Sunni/Shia sects.

Pakistani SXSW Musical Showcase

  • I've been born and raised in America so my jist of Pakistani American music is listening to Atif Aslam.
  • But, at the showcase they had Sufi style and music from smaller villages.
  • I found the music to be quite soulful and spiritual!

Other South Asian Political News

  • Sopan Deb has dealt with racism as he has been covering the Trump Campaign and was arrested in Chicago. You can read about it here. 

  • A record number of Indian American women have been running for political offices. Check them out here

  • In a few of the primaries there have been some Indian American men that have won their primaries and could be on their way to Congress or their respective state legislators!

  • Since 9/11, the Sikh community has been bearing a huge brunt of the Islamaphobia attacks. Arish Singh makes a great point that instead of educating people on the differences between Sikhism and Islam, we should stand up against all forms of bigotry. Agreed! Check it out here


Azra SiddiqiComment