Politics

I’ve tried to avoid writing about politics because there is so much of it around us right now. Every other article is about politics and what is happening everywhere. I know that I usually need a break from it.

But I thought I’d dedicate one post about it.

Here is my basic opinion: I could have accepted anyone who eventually won the presidency regardless of their politics and where they stood on issues. But I can’t accept someone who won while inciting hate.

I can’t remember a time when a president won (and I’ve been able to vote in 6 elections as of today) where there were hate crimes during and after the campaign. I can’t ever remember being scared to leave the house during and after a campaign because people might be rude to me because I am Indian even though I was born in America.

I live in California which is maybe in the running for the most liberal state in the country. Yet, I still had these thoughts. I still worried about my kids and how they would be treated when we left the house.

This is what I am gauging the election results on. This is why I have trouble accepting the president. If he can’t make me feel safe in my own home, then why is he my leader?

There are plenty of issues with the new president. But, for me, the primary issue is that he encouraged people who harbored hate for others. He encouraged them to show their true colors and make those of us of a different ethnicity feel unwanted.

And that I can’t accept.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Love Who We Want

Yesterday, I wrote about a teacher who was fired from my Catholic high school for marrying his partner of 10 years. 

Today, I want to hit a little bit closer to home with my culture regarding a similar issue. How free are we, as Indians, to love who we want? Is it possible to be with or even marry the person we want if they don’t fit into what our culture dictates is right for us? How much pressure do we even put on ourselves to fit into what we think is right? 

I’ve learned the hard way that what is right on paper isn’t what is right for me. But I had to go through a pretty big self-inflicted struggle to understand this. 

Even if we never hear anything from our parents or family about who we should end up marrying, there is this idea that we should end up with someone who is the same ethnicity and religion as we are. They should be equally matched in every way: looks, education, financially. And even if the pressure isn’t directly put onto us by someone else, we put that same pressure on ourselves. We want the approval of our community. And to get that approval, we have to fit into the mold that was shaped out for us and has been shaped out for us for decades or maybe even centuries. 

So what happens when we fall in love with someone outside of this mold? What happens when we realize that a relationship goes past the education and the looks and the families getting along? What happens when we realize that there is so many other aspects to consider that have nothing to do with what we have been taught? 

I have seen it go both ways. I have seen couples split up because one or the other isn’t approved by their family. Instead of fighting for their love, they choose their family and sacrifice their relationship. I have seen couples stay together and try to make their families understand their relationship.

So it’s a choice. It’s always a choice. Unfortunately, we can’t control the idea of what the perfect relationship looks like. But we can control how we react to the opinions of our relationship. There are still going to be times when the world won’t agree with a relationship. Is it worth it to fight for it? Or is it something that should be given up because it’s not “right”?

Should we love who we want? Or should we love who the world says we should? 

Just Because I’m American Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Indian

You would think the typical problem for someone first generation born in America would be racism against the fact that you are Indian even though you’re as American as the next person. I do know that this is the case for a lot of people throughout the country. It’s a sad fact and hopefully, we are getting to a point where people are enlightened enough that this isn’t an issue anymore.

My problem is a little different from the typical racism. I want to talk about the stereotypes I dealt with growing up. From other Indian people.

There was an Indian movie that came out in the 90s called Pardes. It basically told a story about a girl from India who was marrying a boy who grew up in the US. This boy was a horrible human being. He drank, he smoked, he had girlfriends prior to marriage. All of this was a direct result from the fact that he had grown up in America.

Seriously??

I’m not going to comment on the fact about whether all of these things are right or wrong. Instead I’m going to focus on the fact that all the “bad” stuff happened because a person wasn’t raised in India. And if you think this is just something that was portrayed in a movie, let me tell you that it actually happens.

When I was 19, I brought a guy around to our family parties. This was someone my parents had met and liked and they were fine with him coming with us. All of a sudden, as of that day, I was a bad influence on the other children within our group. Because I had a boyfriend. And this was the type of guy who the same people would have been trying to set me up with maybe 2-3 years down the line. Same nationality, same religion, good family, etc. I couldn’t understand it. I was a super nerd in school. I didn’t drink, I didn’t really have many boyfriends, I had been teaching dance to their children, I had good grades, and was attending college on a scholarship. Yet, all of that history wasn’t enough. I was now this American girl who was going to take everyone else’s children down the wrong path. I was lucky that my parents stood by me and stood up for me. Now, as I watch all of these people’s children get married to people that are not the same heritage as we are, I wonder if they realize how unfairly they judged me back then.

There was a friend I had whose mom did not like me because she felt threatened or something by the relationship I had with “her little boy”. We were just friends but for whatever reason, I wasn’t a good person. One day, she saw me wearing a sari. She asked me who tied the sari for me (it takes a lot of practice). I told her I did it myself and I’ve known how to do it for the last 7 years. My friend later told me that his own sister-in-law from India can’t tie her own sari. Why did this woman assume that I was so American just because I was born here that I didn’t know anything about my own culture?

Most of the people I have been friends with here can speak more languages than just English. Most of them can understand at least 3 languages. I have friends who have been born and raised here in America and friends who have been born in India and came over after spending their childhood there. My own husband came to this country at the age of 11. Yet, there’s not really a significant difference between us. We are both proud of our culture and we share it. We also adopt parts of the American culture that are more progressive and really have been creating a new culture in which future generations will be a part of.

So, Indian people who think that they are better than I am just because I was born here and not there, get over it. We are all the same. The sooner you start thinking that way, the more we will all get along.