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.

 

I’m Terrified Because I’m Brown

I haven’t written too much about politics because every type of article is already being written.

I did write a previous post about the tolerance for racism and hate that our president has.

I wanted to write this one based on how I’ve been feeling.

And to be honest, I’ve been scared. I’m an Asian Indian American who was born in Southern California and have lived here all my life. Not once in my 35 years on this planet have I been worried about how I was treated because of my ethnicity. I know that I’ve been lucky. I have family that has felt racism based on their skin color. I either have been oblivious or around so many different ethnicities that there hasn’t been room for that feeling of being judged.

I remember the election day and feeling like so much was riding on it. I could see all the way through it that racist people were given a pass for acting the way they wanted. I remember feeling terrified because I was worried about hate crimes occurring as soon as that election day was done.

And they did. It made me scared to leave my house. I have small kids and I don’t want to ever have to think that I’m putting their lives at risk. It’s sad to think that even with living in one of most the liberal and ethnically mixed areas in the country, I continue to worry about the type of people who don’t want those of us with a different skin color or religion here. I can’t even imagine what I would do if I didn’t live in an area like Southern California.

My family and I went out to dinner last week. I’m hyper aware of my surroundings in general but even more so than usual now. An older Caucasian man who was eating with his family kept looking over at my husband. I saw this and I couldn’t even imagine what he was thinking. I don’t believe that anything would have happened but the idea that someone didn’t want us to be there for no good reason did bother me. When the family finished, he got up and came over with his wife and told my husband that he was doing a great job handling our baby while trying to eat simultaneously and to enjoy the time because the kids grow up fast. It turns out that he was admiring our family.

It’s moments like these that remind me that as much as things have changed, nothing everything or everyone has. It reminds me that most people are still good people. It reminds me that there is still hope that this country will be a better place than it is right now.

But I’ll be honest. I’m terrified of how much we are going to have to deal with before we get to that place.

Fair and Lovely

My husband found this article and thought it would be a good topic since this whole Miss America being Indian thing has generated a lot of controversy due to racist comments by ignorant people. 

Please read this before proceeding: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/asha-rangappa/miss-america-and-the-indian-beauty-myth_b_3941524.html

I like what this writer says in terms of America recognizing that true beauty really has nothing to do with the color of our skin. The fact that a darker skinned Indian woman born and raised in America won really shows how much it doesn’t matter. 

But this is just one aspect of what is being judged. Here is my issue. I’m brown. There’s no getting around it. I’m not dark, I’m not light. I’m just brown. But I also have super curly hair and curves and definitely do not weigh 110 lbs or less. So where is the discussion on the rest of that? 

When I was 18, I remember telling a friend of mine that guys only check out girls with straight hair. At this time, straighteners were just starting to get popular. It wasn’t common yet. And to be honest, I really felt this way. I felt that every guy I came across went for the straight haired, super thin Indian girl. And I can’t say that I didn’t join this crowd. When I was 21, I layered my hair and started wearing it straight on a regular basis. It’s not until recently that I actually realized that I loved my curly hair and it was something that non-Indian people tend to pay a lot of money to get. 

The reason I bring this up is because many Indian girls do not have straight hair. So why aren’t we proud of that being a part of who we are? 

Another aspect of this contest that I’m having issues with is that every single girl is usually under a certain weight. I’m all for healthy. But I’ve always been curvy regardless and even when I was at my lowest weight, I never looked like the women in a beauty pageant. 

Let’s talk about old Indian cinema. The woman in it had big fluffy hair and fantastic curves and held up her own. I’m waiting for that to come back into style. But what happened now? Everyone has perfect hair all the time and these super perfect bodies (“Perfect” is all an opinion as well). So how much of that is America’s influence on Indian’s cinema? 

I guess my point is that while I applaud the Miss America pageant for stepping out of its box and choosing someone who is truly American regardless of her ethnicity, I still have issues with the ideal look that a “beautiful” woman should have. And I think that India has been influenced by America in terms of what that ideal look is. 

When the winner is someone that I can fully relate to, I will feel like things have changed. Here is to one stepping stone at a time.