He probably speaks for a lot of us. Check out Shehan Jeyarajah’s editorial, “If You Knew Me, You’d Know I’m Not the Typical South Asian” in the Baylor Lariat.
During Welcome Week at Baylor, I remember walking across campus back toward my dorm with one of my friends who was Indian. I had been on campus for a grand total of three days, and to this point, it was everything I had hoped it to be and more.
Some other Baylor students stopped us along the way to ask if they could pray with us. I figured this was just something people did here, and obliged.
They started praying and saying that they hope that my friend and I reject our false gods and instead turn to Jesus, the one true savior. Read more…
None of us perfectly fit into the “Indian” stereotype expected by non-Indians who see us as “others.”
We don’t fit perfectly into the Malayalee stereotype or even the [insert denomination here] Malayalee expectations. My parents never pressured me to be in medicine or other “typical” fields. They actually encouraged me to pursue whatever my heart desired.
We’re in a time when we each have permission and the luxury to be ourselves, to pave our own way. Other people paved the path for us, and we happen to be born in a time where opportunity of every kind abounds.
I know very few people my age worried about sending money back home or financially supporting siblings or other family like the generation before us.
I think I felt so different growing up, different from people at my American church, at my school, at my Indian church. But I didn’t have the language to describe what I felt or what I saw. I’m still trying to figure that out.
But I’m thankful to live in a time where it’s more OK to be yourself, whatever combination of environments that is. Where there’s a little more equality and access and freedom than there once was.
There remains this threat noted in the editorial linked to above:
The American experiment can never be considered a success until we get away from thinking that we understand people based off a cursory glance at their skin color or do a quick Google search to claim we understand their core beliefs.
We’ve got a long way to go; we’re each a walking combination of victim and perpetrator of the above. But I’m so thankful for where we are now.