January 16 – i’m brown, you’re not

176/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Watching a movie on Netflix this afternoon about an Indian guy whose parents want him to bring home a good Indian girl but he’s in love with a white girl. This got me thinking about the different influences one has in their lives specifically culturally. Being the offspring of ethnic immigrant parents, I had to behave one way at home and while out at school/in the community, I was a different guy. I felt a real tug-of-war as to how I should behave and act and who I should befriend. It was even explicitly mentioned to me by my family that I didn’t have enough Indian friends if any and needed them to be a good Indian boy. At times, I will admit that I did feel ashamed of being different than the norm. As a child and teenager, I didn’t really have a choice in friends – just hoped to have anyone accept me and as late teenager/young adult, I befriended and was befriended by people because they were good to me and we had common interests, not because of their skin colour but as I looked around at my friends, maybe there was one person of a similar heritage and I often wondered if this was some subliminal way of asserting my defiance against what I was supposed to be or if I just didn’t have any commonality with my own kind or was I really denying my ethnicity – oh man, there’s a thesis in here for someone LOL. However, as I have aged and gotten to know myself better, I know that I have never let my ethnicity define me – I’m just me and I have not let the people around me and their ethnicity define them. I am very fortunate that the people that I know and know me are of a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds and they have gotten to know me based on commonalities rather than differences and that is the case for me. To all of my friends and acquaintances of the same ethnic background but especially of different backgrounds, thank you for focusing on friendship and personality rather than skin colour – it’s what you bring to my life that matters, not the way you look! To all of you, I unfilter a selfie in your honour 😉

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