On Being Called An American

I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.


— Mahatma Gandhi

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.


I love being called an American. I also love being called French, Hispanic and Indian. 

When I lived in India, I loved being called Gujarati, Bengali, Maharashtran, Punjabi or a Delhi-ite. (These are sub-cultures in India based on languages or cities.)

Being called all these different cultures, states and cities makes me feel like I belong in this world of amazing differences. It makes me feel that I can live in any part of the world and truly belong there. 

I truly believe that when we are exposed to more than one culture we should integrate it in our life and make it work with the existing culture that we are born with. All cultures have their positives and negatives. Why not incorporate the positives of the cultures that we are exposed to and make our life fulfilling and multi-faceted for ourselves and our future generations?

One too many times I have been called an American in a derogatory way. Which I do not appreciate. American culture is an amazing culture and no one has the right to insult it. If you think that cutting my hair short (FYI: I have had short hair most of my life) or my love of fashion makes me an American, so be it. I am proud to be called an American. The same way that I am proud to be called French, Hispanic or an Indian.

I would like to request you to see me as a person. See me as ME. The clothes I wear, the hair-style, makes me, ME! It does not make me a country, a state or a language. In this span of 27 years, I haven't changed my philosophies of life, my love and affection for my friends and family or my core values. I still speak my mind, have strong opinions and I am not scared to take a stand. I have grown and matured without changing what essentially makes me, ME.

If you want to insult me, insult ME for being ME. Do not insult me because of where I live or where I have come from. A western super-power should not be held accountable for something that I may or may not have done. 

This post is not only about me. It's about how people find it easier to generalize and blame others because of their religion, ethnicity or country. No matter what your status in life is, which country you have come from, everyone should be held accountable for their OWN mistakes. Once when a friend of mine parallel parked into a spot, a lady yelled at him for it. Her exact words were, "I am not surprised you did this, all you Muslims oppress women in your country." Lady, you had no right to insult a man who follows a religion as old as time just because it will take you ten minutes more to find another parking spot. Also, my friend is not a Muslim. See what I mean when I say generalization?

There was a time when I envied the adults. I looked forward to becoming one myself. As I grew older, I realized that bigger/taller body does not equal bigger mind or an open mind. It crushed me to see, so many grown men and women say and do incredibly immature/irresponsible things. 

Setting examples is important. So lets start with this. I want everyone to see past the differences and look at the similarities. All of us are essentially the same. Our skin color, clothes, hair and languages are just superficial differences. What matters in the end, is what is in the inside. 

As I end this post, I would like to leave you with the lyrics of this song: 

Imagine by John Lennon.

Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try

No hell below us, above it's only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do
No need to kill or die for and no religions too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger a brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing for the world

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

2 comments:

  1. Lovely post, Dips. I agree with you, especially that we do the generalization thing way too much, making an individual's character an extension of his religion/community/place of birth/color etc. A person's mistakes are his/her own responsibility, not his community's.

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  2. Wow Deepti, I can so very well connect with your post. Even I've faced such situations when my blog or love towards fashion was blamed for me being living in USA! Not only strangers, but my own friends and family members were against it. They still hold that sarcasm towards blogging or getting pictures clicked. I completely agree with American culture being an amazing culture, it gives you so much freedom! An amazing post written :)
    Congrats.

    Ritika
    http://www.risingcolors.blogspot.com/

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