I’ve been blogging and using social media for past two or three years and since then I’ve gained thousands of readers and followers.
Interacting with people from around the world and taking in their perspectives on issues is always interesting. I would often get questions that I initially found very funny but soon realised were in fact extremely racist.
I would get asked if we Pakistanis were “terrorists”, perpetually angst-ridden and hopeless or whether our national hobby was burning public property.
I’d always answer that we should not be collectively judged by the actions of a few and that this was an extremely narrow and stereotypical narrative of Pakistan.
No nation deserves stereotyping. Pakistan is above it and there is a lot more to us; our culture, youth, achievements, rich past, struggles, languages and society. The list is endless.
It’s pretty simple: I’m against typecasting nations wherever they are. What seems to be harmless stereotyping is, in reality, very dangerous considering its effects on human behaviour.
Racist stereotyping alienates people, justifies violent bigotry against them and further divides human communities.
The point of making the ‘Pakistanis Against Stereotyping’ blog was to create a forum for people from all over the world to collectively speak out against racism. I had no idea I would get thousands of entries from Pakistan and abroad.
It made my Independence Day a lot more fun, collecting all those submissions and putting them up on the site. The incoming traffic was insane! In a very good way.
So what was supposed to be a one-day project is now a proper, continuous effort in dispelling racist stereotypes about Pakistanis.
I had just wanted to remind everyone that stereotyping a population of more than 190 million people is pretty ridiculous and unfair. The Tumblr will always be up for anyone and everyone against racism.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, August 26th, 2012.