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Call Me "Brown"

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I recently read an article where African-Americans want to be called “black” (or “Black,” with an uppercase “B”). Europeans and Americans have long been called “white” as a general rule. For a while, referring to someone by their skin color was deemed racist. But, to me, it’s always just been an obvious indication of who someone is. The words “black” and “white” don’t have to come with negative connotations. If Blacks can choose what they want to be called, every other race should have that right.


Indians have long been misfits. We’ve never really fit into one general term. Technically, we’re not Asian, although we are a subcontinent of Asia. India doesn’t get included in the vague term “Asian.” Indian-Americans such as myself tend not to belong either. We can’t be “Indians” or “Indian-American” because it gets mistaken for the other Indians/American-Indians. They’re Native Americans, we’re not. We’re a confused group of lost people who need an identity. Imagine not knowing what to call yourself, or sum up your entire culture into one term. That’s the life of an Indian-American.


Why not just call myself Indian or Indian-American? The Indian-American term is too long, and if switched, the words would imply that I am a Native American. In the literal sense, I am Indian. It’s my heritage. I will be forever grateful for the sacrifices my ancestors have made in their soil. but, that’s not my home. My home, my life, is in America. When I go to India, I stick out like a milk chocolate piece in a sea of dark wafers. It’s not that I don’t want to be associated with the past--I just want to focus on moving forward. What would I prefer to be called? Brown.


A white person can be called “white,” and no one finds that strange. A black person prefers to be called “black,” and people accept it. If a brown person wants to be called “brown,” call them “brown.” For once in India’s history, I’d like to give us a group that we can comfortably be in. I’m tired of being called many different terms, and I don’t think it’s right that everyone else can give me a name. Stop juggling terms like it’s a game. It takes away my identity and the way people view me. Indians in America have dealt with the general public calling them “politically correct” names, but in reality, these same people trample over our rights. If a man was given one right in this world, it should have been the right to choose what to call himself. An appellation signifies respect and dignity. I respect myself and my people enough to stand up and demand a change.


People were horrified when blacks first decided to start a movement. Such radical thoughts could never be accepted because the blacks were minorities. Whites still had dominance in America, but somehow, blacks made a difference. America is a different place now. Minorities are more prominent and soon won’t even be minorities. The culture in America is more welcoming, and fewer things are being deemed radical. My idea is by no means a new idea, nor is it completely crazy. It’s a necessity. America owes the browns. For years, we’ve been repressed by uncertainty. It’s time to make a change. It’s time to show this country that browns are equal. We will no longer stand for incorrect generalizations vague terms used as neutrality.


Indians are brown. And we’d like to be referred to as such.



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