by Anagha Kademane
My experience as an Indian-American isn’t the toughest story, but there have been instances where it made me feel out of place. I feel like most Indians who lives in the US can relate to how embarrassing it would feel to bring ethnic food to school. My mom would always pack it when I was in elementary school and I would always hide it during lunch. I remember other kids always commenting about it, whether it was my lunch or other Indian-American students’ about how it looked disgusting or smelled bad. But it was really ironic for them to make fun of other cultures’ food because those same kids have “Taco Tuesday” at home or I’d see them with their parents in Indian grocery stores. So, I asked my mom to stop packing it in 3rd grade. And the worst part is my parents understood why before I even told them.
Growing up people have asked me randomly to speak Indian. I usually explain that it’s not “Indian” and there’s a bunch of other languages in India. Anyway, I usually end up saying something in my Indian language. Then, they’d proceed to butcher it, be weirded out, or say something mildly insulting. I had to stop talking in it in public because I would get stared at. Now, if anyone asks me to speak my language, I always hesitate and I honestly rarely will.
I loved my name, I think it’s unique and I like the background of it. I’ve had teachers mispronounce my name for the entire school year, even with corrections. Just a few days ago, I had a conversation with a guy named Jackson. He said people try calling him Jack and it bothers him. I told him how my people mess up or shorten my name and how I don’t care anymore. He told me he wouldn’t be able to stand that, but reality is that people with more cultural names are used to it. It also amuses me how people can easily pronounce Arnold Schwarzenegger, but struggle when it comes to asian names. Now, I want to go by a nickname. Don’t get me wrong, I always get compliments about my name and I do like it. It just would be so much easier for me.
I was really lucky to meet friends who actually value and respect different cultures. I know a lot of types of racist remarks are normalized, but they still have effects on people. Next time, you’re about to say anything remotely racist, reflect on yourself and learn to do better.
by Anagha Kademane
The city representative of Wilmington, Delaware.
Anagha Kademane is a student at the Charter School of Wilmington and is passionate about seeking for social justice. She is involved in social justice clubs in her community and wrote her story to showcase the realities, hardships, and joys of growing up as a minority in Delaware.