How I learned to love my ethnicity
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

I Love My Ethnicity, You Can No Longer Make Me Feel Embarrassed For Who I Am

Using microaggressions against someone's ethnicity can cause them to feel shame in places they didn't know they could feel shame

157
I Love My Ethnicity, You Can No Longer Make Me Feel Embarrassed For Who I Am
Christina Thomas

Third grade: I was around nine years old when I first felt embarrassed about my ethnicity.

A kid in my class started making fun of Indian food. He started talking making fun of Indian accents and probably very unintentionally, made me feel so inferior and embarrassed. I remember wanting to hide.

Freshman year of high school. I was sitting in science class when a girl walked up to me. She kinda looked me up and down and said: "So, do you like to make pottery or something?" I was immediately taken back. All I could say was "What?" (Now, if this would have happened today, I would have come back with a wittier response, but I had not grown into my confidence quite yet). She didn't take the hint that I was feeling uncomfortable, so she proceeded to ask more demeaning questions. "Have you ever ridden an elephant before?" "Do you have normal birthday parties, or do you weird things?" I remember my face getting warm and my palms getting sweaty. I shifted in my chair just said, "Nope, haven't done any of those things" in the timidest voice.

I wish I could tell you that those very derogatory questions meant nothing to me, that I brushed them off and went on my merry way walking in confidence in who I was.

The reality of this situation was that those words did not just brush those off. I remember feeling so annoyed and so hurt at the same time that I couldn't say anything to defend myself and that I just let myself be subjected to such embarrassment that I did nothing to deserve.

At that point in my life talking about my ethnic background was one of the most uncomfortable things for me to do. I always felt so separated by everyone else around me and I felt like there was no room to be proud of this part of my identity. When I was in high school, people weren't interested in truly knowing about my ethnic background. They asked questions to fill the void of their own ignorance, which ends up hurting the person they're talking to along the way Indian culture is something that has been warped into stereotypes on T.V. shows, and any other public outlet. And because there are some people that are unaware of how to properly talk to someone about their background, you get statements like this:

"Where are you from? Oh, sorry! That was probably racist."

In the public eye, I was very shy about talking about this part of my identity. I found myself wanting to quickly change the subject every time it was brought up. I had yet to find my confidence within that part of me.

Fast forward some years to where I am today, my perspective of my ethnicity has changed dramatically. And It's been the most life-giving and beautiful journey. I have recently been reflecting on the reasons why I now love my ethnic background and how I wouldn't change that for anything in this world.

I love that Indian food is a staple food in my life, a life without goat curry would be a sad one. I love that my mother speaks such a beautifully complex language. I could listen to her speak for hours. I love how intricate the clothing is.

Every detail is sown with such intentionality. I love that through becoming more immersed in my ethnic background, I've been able to fully grasp how amazing it is to hear prayers and songs of worship in a different language. It reminds me that God is near to everyone in such an individual and special way. And I love that family is so valued in this culture. It reminds me that God is so incredibly intentional with every person he places in my life. Each and every person. These are a few reasons that I've come to love and cherish this part of my identity. Although the journey to this love was a long one, it was worth it. I'm thankful that as I've gotten older I have gotten more confident, and in return, I've developed more pride for this part of my life.

If I could go back in time and sit down with nine-year-old Christina, I would tell her not to feel shame. I would cup her face in my hands and tell her that this part of her is beautiful, and she should be proud of it. I would tell her that no one can take this part of you away and you should walk with that confidence with your head held high. And lastly, I would tell her that this part of her identity is something she should be proud of.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Dunkin' just announced that they'll be releasing their fall menu earlier than ever — set to debut on August 19 — and that it'll include new menu options this season, including a new signature pumpkin spice latte. Let me just say, Starbucks has some fall-menu competition now.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

CBD Lip Balm Is The Calming Presence You Need In Your Life, Trust Me

I tried lip balm, sleep gummies, and an oil dropper from CBDistillery. Here's the final verdict.

@lilyjmoe

CBD has been on making waves within the wellness space for the last few years. Generally related to the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain, it's growing easier to find small CBD companies who are making products specifically designed to fit your needs. As FDA rules for CBD production can be a little hazy, it's true that not all CBD products are created equally. That's why it's important to look into the manufacturing of whatever you're deciding to try, especially if you're new to taking CBD.

As someone who has tried a variety of CBD products — some victories, some failures — I was thrilled when CBDistillery sent me a package of their favorites. They included a Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture, their Nighttime Gummies, and a CBD Lip Balm.

Keep Reading... Show less

After a few months of self-quarantining, becoming suspicious of every cough, and blowing through masks like a medical school student, restrictions due to the pandemic are easing up a bit and businesses are warily reopening. While these public spaces may look the same on the outside, the way they function and operate is vastly different than a few months ago.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's the most wonderful time of the year again — it's sorority recruitment season! While recruitment can be a fun and memorable experience, it can also take a toll on your mental health, especially this year, considering the special circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few reminders to keep in your mental health toolkit during recruitment week to help keep your mental health at bay during this unique experience.

Keep Reading... Show less

When it comes to wedding planning, each and every detail is customized to the style of the couple. From venue and decorations to food and beverages, nothing gets overlooked — whether your wedding is big, small, or virtual.

The same thing goes for invites, which are getting more and more beautiful every wedding season. If you're looking to customize your wedding invitations, the options are endless... you can add pictures if you wish, opt for fancy artwork, or keep it simple with just text).

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

23 Burning Questions We Have For The Taureans In Our Lives, Answered By A Taurus

The remaining 11 signs took the bull by the horns, and it was a fun and insightful experience!

Jordyn Leach

Lately, I've been digging deeper into astrology and studying my sign. Throughout the journey, it's come to my attention that Taurus are probably one of the most complicated signs - that is, if you're not a Taurus.

To gain a little more perspective on how my sign is viewed by the others, I requested that the participants submit a question in response to the following:

Keep Reading... Show less
Universal Pictures

A music enthusiast like myself has a playlist for every mood. Life's a movie and you're the main character. In no specific order, listen to these songs to feel on top of the world!

Pro Tip: turn your crossfade up to 3 seconds for a seamless transition between each song!

Keep Reading... Show less

We've all been there. You see that super cute guy on your dating app of choice, his bio is funny, and then, the gut-wrenching feeling hits when you see their political views don't exactly line up with yours. He loves Trump, you can't stand him, or vice versa.

A lot of people will say you can get over politics, but I know from personal experience, as well as this survey, that politics play a huge role in whether a relationship will work or if we're even willing to swipe right on that profile.

Keep Reading... Show less

I work as an orientation leader for my college, and the job included summer housing.

Keep Reading... Show less

With no sign of the pandemic going anywhere, brides and grooms who planned to be married in 2020 are forced to opt for plan B — if not plan C or D. While some are downsizing their in-person weddings to meet coronavirus guidelines and state restrictions, others are choosing to cancel theirs until further notice and some, well, they're embracing the virtual "I do."

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Zoom wedding for my friend and fellow editor and writer, Kristin Magaldi, and the short-but-sweet ceremony left me in happy tears (surprise surprise). In order to get the scoop on what exactly went into planning a virtual wedding, I asked Kristin to share her best tips so other couples know exactly how to have a Zoom wedding in case they're looking to lean into the video chat vows, too.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments