Not What People Think

November 19, 2013
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Indians are not always what people assume. Me being Indian, I understand the way Indians feel about the stereotypes people match us with. I’m part of the 1/3 population of Indians at my school, and we hear different comments everfyday about our race. There are multiple cultures of India, and each of us experience one of those cultures. I practice the Hindu culture. What people don’t seem to understand when they make fun of us, is those comments hurt even though they are jokes. The reason for that, is because everything said to us are stereotypes that have been exaggerated for years. We are just like everyone else; just a different culture.

The most horrible thing that has ever been stereotyped to Indians, is being mixed with the tragedy of 9/11. Every year when 9/11 comes around, all day long I hear the words, “terrorist” or “Osama” echoing all over the hallway. What people don’t understand is that the culture that was mixed into the tragedy, was a mix of Muslim and Islamic. People just think that every race that is related to India has something to do with 9/11. People think that we worship Osama, or that we had something to do with 9/11, when half of us were only in preschool when it happened. What people don’t know, is that me and my family pray for everyone who was killed or hurt in 9/11 every year. What people don’t know, is that we pray for the people who haven’t gotten their lives together since then.

Another stereotype that we get mixed with, is working at 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts. I hear the expression, “would you like a slurpee?” or “thank you, come again” frequently. What people don’t know, is 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts are family owned businesses. People, not just Indians, own these stores and make millions every year because of the success of them. People make that stereotype because when they walk in, they see Indians working all of the time. Even though, many other races work at 7-11 and Dunkin donuts; they are great part-time jobs! People tend to think that only Indians work at these places and that it is only open to them. They obviously do not know their facts.

My family and I worship a God called Lord Krishna. He is the main God-Head in all Indian cultures. It is normal to worship him. Many people stereotype that we have no God, that we only worship cows. Weird stereotype, right? People assume that, because they have witnessed some Indians not eat red meat and fast on the first Friday of every month. My family and I eat whatever we want, there is no religion that forces you to not eat red meat or worship cows. On the first Friday of every month, my family fasts by not eating meat that day. It is a sign of peace and a coming-together of the family. It’s part of my religion, so when people make mooing noises or ask if I’ve eaten meat today, it’s hurtful because none of that is true. They haven’t taken the time to understand the culture of my family and I.

I am very proud to be Indian. I get to experience the differences in my culture at home, and yet still live an American life at home and at school. The stereotypes people match us with are hurtful and wrong; they don’t seem to realize that we are normal people with just a different culture that we get to experience. People need to learn the facts before that make fun of us Indians, because the things they tell us are hurtful and dishonest. We are American and we are Indian; we are both. And that is something to be proud of.

I am Rachel D. and I am a proud Hindu-American.

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