What Are You?

Author: Aarushi

ABCD: American-Born Confused Desi, Paki, Brownie, Curry Muncher, Oreo, Half and Half, Dal Khor…to name a few. These are all racial slurs I have heard about myself or others in the past seven years since I have moved to Canada from India. But a recent event really put the icing on the cake for me: a group of fourteen-year-olds in my neighborhood threw a brick through in my window, not accidentally but because of the color of my skin. I was utterly shocked to see that things like this could still happen in this day and age. I find it completely unbelievable that teenagers who have the privilege of education would commit such a heinous act. Even the police officer who came to our house apologized on behalf of them, stating that what they had done was absolutely shameful. But I have to admit that this is definitely one of the more extreme things that I have experienced. For the most part, racism in my daily life is limited to snide verbal remarks here and there.

Even the police officer who came to our house apologized on behalf of them, stating that what they had done was absolutely shameful.”

I decided to write this post because while having a conversation with one of my friends, she pointed out that people of color or POCs don’t get enough representation, a sentiment I thoroughly agree with. My friend is a multiracial individual and she has to constantly explain to people how she and her parents are all part of the same family unit. Her father is Caucasian and her mother is Goan, so it’s not as black and white as most people would think. She often gets asked if she’s adopted or if her parents want separate bills in a restaurant. We’ve been asked the question, “Where are you really from?” a countless number of times. But unfortunately some of us have even been asked, “What are you?” which makes us feel less than human. And don’t even get me started on airport security and all the tech support, curry and arranged marriage jokes.

Not getting accepted in society by some people can really take a toll on your mental health. It’s very difficult to feel comfortable in your own skin when you’re constantly treated differently because of it. But I wouldn’t change the color of my skin even if I could as my life is so much more full because of it. Being a POC or a multiracial individual just means that you get the best of both worlds. You get to have way more fun traditions, festivals, clothes, and food. You get to be part of amazing communities and meet new people. One of my favorite parts of being an Indo-Canadian is that I’m trilingual and I’m proud of it!

I’ve focused mostly on the negatives in this article but I must point out that there are so many people out there who are trying to eradicate racism, and I would like to say a big thank you to them! However despite the efforts of these amazing people, racism is still a very prevalent issue. All I can say is that one day I would like to see a world where everyone can be as proud of their heritage as I am.