Watch Something Progressive

Have you watched a kids’ show lately? Maybe if you don’t have children, you haven’t seen one since you were a kid.

My kids watch Sesame Street on a daily basis. I remember watching it when I was growing up and liking it. Now? I seriously love it.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m an adult and more aware or that our country suddenly has a serious number of issues that have been brought to light. I’m finding that kids’ shows are more progressive that our actual world seems to be.

Before everything got kind of crappy, I would have been proud that Sesame Street showed episodes about the Indian culture. Now I’m relieved. They also have episodes about other cultures (such as Chinese New Year and a South African exchange student), bullying, autism, and just liking yourself as you are. It’s amazing. They are teaching my kids (and myself) so many positive things that sometimes, I wonder if we are actually in this time frame where people are acting as regressive as they are.

The other 2 shows that my kids have been watching lately are Doc McStuffins and PJ Masks. While it hasn’t come up in the few episodes I’ve watched, both shows star children of different backgrounds doing awesome things. I especially love that my little girl is watching Doc McStuffins because I love the idea that she has a role model that plays doctor and isn’t just into a bunch of princesses.

I feel like there are plenty of adults that need a good dose of some of these children’s shows. They have fantastic messages and teach you a lot about the world. You can stream Sesame Street on HBO, Doc Mcstuffins on Hulu, and PJ Masks on Netflix. Take some time out of your day and learn something new.

Second Class Citizen

Yesterday, while I was on the treadmill at the gym, some older white guy got on the treadmill next to me. When he turned on his tv, it was on Fox News. As long as I was there (for another 5-10 minutes), he hadn’t changed it. I don’t know if it happened to just be on and he wasn’t paying attention or if this is the channel he meant to watch. He had also socialized with a few other people around us. One of the men he spoke to was watching CNN. The other man that said hi to him then proceeded to go hug an older African American woman. So I’m really not sure what the guy next to me believed.

I’ll tell you what I do know though. I felt awkward. I felt like if this guy actually watches Fox News (while it was talking about the Muslim Travel Ban), he had no reason to actually want me around. It made me feel severely conscious of my skin color.

I was born here and have lived here my whole life. I’ve barely even moved out of the city I’ve lived in, let alone the state. I’ve always been proud of my dual heritage of being South Asian Indian and American. I’ve always thought it was so much cooler to live in American with its progression while also having a cool background where I get to wear gorgeous clothes, have a huge movie and music industry, and still participate in my cultural traditions.

Right now, with the way this America is, I don’t feel that. I feel like I’ve been downgraded. I feel like I have to second guess who I am. I feel like I am going to have to protect my family from all the problems that have still yet to come. I have thought of where we would go if it got that bad where we couldn’t live the life we were used to living. Would we go back to India? Another westernized country? Do you know how hard it is to even think of leaving our home?

I’ve always been more on the optimistic side of how these things resolve. Right now, it is extremely difficult to be optimistic. I can’t imagine how people can’t care for other people. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be threatened by people of another skin color or religion. Maybe it’s because being Indian means a whole variety of skin colors and religions already. To me, growing up in American already meant a blend. I don’t know it any other way. I’ve never understood it any other way.

Now, based on the fact that I’m more tan than that guy next to me on the treadmill, I get to feel like less of a person.

I really hate that.

Disneyland vs. The Rest of the Country

I walked through Disneyland with my family yesterday. I love watching different people who have come to visit from all over the world. There are all sorts of different dynamics that go on. Families, newlyweds, friends, babies. It’s a lot of fun to see everyone having a good time.

Normally, I’d take this for granted but in this country right now, I am unable to. I watch people and I wonder how they can have a hard time accepting other nationalities than their own.

Everyone was there for one reason: to have fun.

Realistically though, at least a few of the people that were visiting had to be from areas that weren’t as mixed racially. There had to be a few people that didn’t appreciate different cultures and probably saw those of us from them in a negative way.

It’s so hard for me to imagine though. In such a magical place, where my kid gets so excited seeing her favorite characters, how can there be people who hate? How can there be people who feel differently about someone else based on the color of their skin, their religion, or their language?

I know that it’s probably been going on in this country for a longer time than I’m aware of and right now, it’s coming out more than it ever has before.

But being in the happiest place on Earth makes me forget for a little while that a negative feeling such as hate even exists.

No, We Are Not Getting Out of Our Country

There have been a few hate crimes recently  in the United States over the last few weeks regarding South Asian Indian Americans. We have been told to get out of our country to go back to wherever it is that these people think we are from.

Here’s the thing: we are in our country. There are a lot of us who were born and raised here or have immigrated here legally and are doing our part to support America. We are a part of the melting pot that is the United States.

Part of the problem is that we have been inactive in raising our voices against the hate that is occurring.

I wanted to share a video that talks about this a little bit further:

 

It’s Not Their Fault Either

I saw a friend’s post on Facebook last night about reverse racism. She said that it’s not right because “as we all know- every race has racists”.

It’s easy as an Indian person to blame white people for the hateful shooting of an Indian man that happened in Kansas recently. It’s easy to blame white people for supporting Trump. It’s easy to blame white people for all of the fear that has arisen amongst people of different nationalities in the US.

We can’t blame all white people. I know when something terrible happens (and lately, it seems like something terrible is happening every day), it’s natural to feel that way. Even I feel that way sometimes. But it’s not right.

I think of all the awesome white people I know every time I do feel that way. I have one friend who literally posts her disgust every time there is something to be outraged about. I have friends who have never even seen the differences between us in a negative way. How many of us have white friends and coworkers who have done more to resist the negative things that have happened in this presidency than any of us Indians have?

How can we, as Indians, judge any race this way? I had a boyfriend a long time ago that had to break up with me because I wasn’t the same caste as him. We talk about Indians from other states in stereotypes all the time. All Gujaratis are cheap and all Punjabis drink a lot. How many of us have heard or said something like this? We all know people who don’t fit these ideas.

And how many times has the entire religion of Islam been blamed for the actions of a few? The Muslim friends I have are the most liberal and calm people I have ever known in my life. Yes, there are extremists but there are more regular, normal people who just want to live their lives like everyone else. They wake up, go to work, spend time with family and friends, and hang out.

As for voting for Trump, I also know a few Indian people who have done so. I no longer can socialize normally with them knowing that they voted for a man who condones hateful actions but that’s as far as it goes. There was a Hindus for Trump group. It makes me embarrassed to be Hindu and I’m hoping no one ever judges me based on this group.

I know it’s been a difficult time for the country and I’m hoping we come out of it soon. But we have to do it together.

 

Evil Does Not Have A Race or A Religion

Evil does not have a race or a religion.

People who have the ability to hurt other people deliberately ARE evil.

But can we blame everyone of a specific background for tragedies that happened around the world in the last week?

Well, let’s see.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed into power in Germany. By 1935, his message of “No Jews” is clear. By 1945, when World War 2 ended, over 5.5 million Jewish people had been executed.

In 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols attacked a federal building in Oklahoma City because they didn’t like the way the federal government handled Waco and Ruby Ridge.

In 2002, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, attacks were organized against the Muslim population because the Hindu people believed that they had attacked a train with Hindus returning from a pilgrimage. An independent investigation found the cause of the fire to be accidental but yet, the attacks still took place. Regardless of the instigation, many Indian Hindus and Indian Muslims died.

In 2012, James Holmes killed 12 and injured 58 in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

In 2012, Wade Michael Page killed 6 and injured 3 in a gurudwara (Sikh temple).

In 2012, Adam Lanza killed 27 and injured 1 in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.

in 2014, a UN Commission found secret prison camps in North Korea with some of the worst violence in the world.

In 2015, Dylann Storm Roof killed 9 in Charleston, South Carolina.

In 2015, a journalist and four women were executed by cartels in Mexico City.

In 2015, the amount of violence in Ukraine between rebels and the government has been consistent, leaving thousands of Ukranians dead.

I could keep on giving examples that go so far back in history but the point is that evil people are evil everywhere. They aren’t defined by a race or a religion. They aren’t defined by anything except that they had the ability to hurt other people.

With regards to the attacks that happened this past week, I do believe that those who planned and carried out the attacks were evil. But I will not accept that every Muslim person or every Syrian person or whatever nationality one might be is evil.

The only way this world wins against evil is by bonding together. If we have suffered from an injustice against us, how can we cause injustice to someone else? Tolerance and support are two of the most important things we can provide to others.

So when you see someone who might be of the same religion or race that one of the attackers was, remember that they are suffering as much as we are. They have to deal with being stigmatized because they are of the same background. They had no choice in the matter as well.

Let’s find a way to fix the evil in this world. We aren’t Hindus versus Muslims versus Christians versus Catholics. We are the good of humanity versus the evil of humanity. We want peace and love. We want to raise our children in a place where they don’t have to worry about their ethnicity or religion as being something they have to hide.

We want to live in a world without evil.

 

 

 

 

Assumptions, Assumptions….

Another thing I encountered when I was in India was the idea that various people hold there about those who are living or raised in America aren’t as good as those in India. Before I go more into this, I just want to reiterate that these aren’t the thoughts of every single person. It is just a thought of several people I came across on this particular trip. I am fully aware that not everyone thinks like this.

My family visited this couple while we were there. In this visit, the husband proceeded to mention how things in America aren’t as good and this was better in India and that was better in India. The wife went ahead and mentioned that we were all forced to work in America and no one could just work because they enjoyed their job. Now while their statements may have some truth to them (but certainly not entirely true), I wondered why the comparisons had to even come up.

We compare things when we need to feel like we’re doing the better thing. It’s to assure us that we aren’t missing out on anything or the worse of the two things we are comparing.

It really felt like this couple was making comparisons about their lives in India with ours in America because there was some envy about the fact that we did come from America. The only way to feel better about the fact that they weren’t in America was to put it down. Nothing was as good for us as it was for them. It made me also wonder what they thought of me. Here they were making these comparisons while I, a product of America, was sitting right there. And as I had mentioned in a previous post, just because I don’t speak Hindi or Punjabi fluently doesn’t mean I don’t understand about 80% or more of what’s being said. And I really wasn’t thrilled hearing a few people who decided to put my hometown down because they either didn’t want to or couldn’t live there.

I am aware that things are different between living in America and living in India. I was born and raised here so to live in India just doesn’t seem like something I personally could ever do. But I have met people who have been able to move there and really love it as well as those having been born there and never wanting to move away. India is also still growing as an independent nation (with only 60 years or so of being an independent country under its belt) so comparing everything to America (with over 200 years of independence) is also not the wisest thing to do. It’ll take time for both countries to be comparable. I am hoping that, one day, they will be.

I believe I had mentioned before the Bollywood movie Pardes. They keep mentioning in it how all of the bad habits the bad guy in the movie had picked up was because he was living in America. It generalized and stereotyped those of us who were raised here and really showed us in an inaccurate and horrible light. Pardes is 17 years old. So you can imagine my surprise that there are still people who share the same ideas now.

I’m hoping there will be a time where we are not judged by where we were raised. I’m hoping we can get to a point where we try to understand that a person’s background is just a part of them but we don’t define them by that background only. I’m hoping that eventually people will stop judging me based on the fact that my parents left India for better opportunities for themselves and their children.

Yes, I am American. Stop forgetting that I am also Indian. I will never stop being Indian. Understand that.