We Too Sing America

South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future

The nationally renowned racial justice advocate shines a light on an unexplored consequence of modern-day terrorism: the ongoing, state-sanctioned persecution of a range of American minorities

“Powerful. . . . Iyer catalogues the toll that various forms of discrimination have taken and highlights the inspiring ways activists are fighting back. [She] is an ideal chronicler of this experience.” —The Washington Post

In the lead-up to the recent presidential elections, Donald Trump called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States, surveillance of mosques, and a database for all Muslims living in the country, tapping into anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim hysteria to a degree little seen since the targeting of South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh people in the wake of 9/11.

In the American Book Award–winning We Too Sing America, nationally renowned activist Deepa Iyer shows that this is the latest in a series of recent racial flash points, from the 2012 massacre at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, to the violent opposition to the Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and to the Park 51 Community Center in Lower Manhattan.

Iyer asks whether hate crimes should be considered domestic terrorism and explores the role of the state in perpetuating racism through detentions, national registration programs, police profiling, and constant surveillance. Reframing the discussion of race in America, she “reaches into the complexities of the many cultures that make up South Asia” (Publishers Weekly) and provides ideas from the front lines of post-9/11 America.


“With strong research and individual accounts, Deepa Iyer’s We Too Sing America fills an unfortunate gap in knowledge of the effects of post-9/11 bigotry and violence on South Asian, Arab, and Muslim communities. It is personal, political, and powerful.”
—Hari Kondabolu, comedian and writer
“Iyer’s personal journey organizing around racially charged events post-9/11 defines a new movement in America that is centered on the desire to reclaim our country. Her account of the policies, rhetoric, and actions that marginalize, demonize, and criminalize brown people because of their identities, their names, and their faiths provides a call to action for all of us.”
—Rashida Tlaib, former Michigan state representative and the second Muslim woman to serve in a state legislature
“In smooth and fluid prose, Iyer provides us with a wealth of detail on the struggles faced by South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh youth, women, and men who refuse to be excluded from full membership in the United States.”
—Rajini Srikanth, author of Constructing the Enemy: Empathy/Antipathy in U.S. Literature and Law and The World Next Door: South Asian American Literature and the Idea of America
“A fascinating read! Iyer is never shy to share her strong opinions; she has written passionately, tying well-researched sections on policy together with emotional accounts of national events. Whether you ultimately agree or disagree with the narrative, this book is a rare opportunity to read about a perspective on the intersection of community, governance, policy, family, and law.”
—Kal Penn, author and public servant
“With years of experience in civil rights advocacy, Deepa Iyer’s book is an important contribution to the work of building a stronger and more inclusive democracy.”
—Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA)
“In an era of heightened racial anxiety and contradictory state policies, Iyer challenges us to imagine and aspire toward a truly equitable and inclusive multiracial society.”
—Michael Omi, associate professor of Asian American studies, University of California, Berkeley
“Deepa Iyer brings the head of a lawyer and the heart of a community activist to bear on her remarkable book We Too Sing America. It is a window into the struggles of the margins that allow the mainstream to remain humane.”
—Vijay Prashad, author of Uncle Swami: Being South Asian in America
We Too Sing America is a necessary, important, and passionate work that records the hymns, blues, and joyous songs of a post-9/11 America, featuring diverse voices of American communities often excluded from the choir. But Iyer’s book aims higher: it reflects hope for America’s pluralistic future where these ‘others’ ultimately emerge as the protagonists of not only their own narratives but of a new, vibrant America as well.”
—Wajahat Ali, author of The Domestic Crusaders
“A critical history of the specific race and faith discrimination South Asian and Arab communities struggled through and are still reconciling in our post-9/11 era. . . . Thank you, Deepa Iyer, for your courage—and for this book.”
“At a time when Black and Brown communities from Murfreesboro to Ferguson are under attack, Deepa Iyer reminds us in this timely and moving book that building meaningful and lasting allegiances, shaped by young people, is the urgent task ahead of us.”
—Vincent Warren, Center for Constitutional Rights

News and Reviews


Jamilah King interviews Deepa Iyer for Mic.com

The Nation

Deepa Iyer writes on the backlash against Muslims in the aftermath of the Paris attacks in an op-ed for The Nation online


Deepa Iyer discusses post-9/11 backlash and the aftermath of ISIS' Paris attack in an interview with Colorlines


Read an excerpt of We Too Sing America at Truthout


Goodreads Reviews