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 My parents moved to America to provide me a better life, which I believe they have achieved. Growing up as a person of color in the United States has been great, don’t get me wrong. I prefer it over the life that my parents had in India, or could have given me in India. My parents prepared me well for school, and life in general. 

But what they didn’t prepare me for was everyone turning around to look at me every time the teacher mentions India in the class, expecting me to have some input on a country I have been to once in my life. They never prepared me for being the only brown person in a class. They never prepared me for having white friends who thought they could say racist things just because they are friends with someone of color, then placing me in the awkward situation of teaching them why that is racist. 

The one thing I did wish they prepared me for was balancing my life as an American with my Indian culture. I cannot be too brown or else I will be excluded. On the other hand, I cannot be too white because then I will be just another white-washed Indian girl. This pushed me to be on top of both cultures to prove my presence in both. I would listen to the newest rap and R&B, and watch the newest Bollywood movies. I would do this just to make sure when I talked to my white friends, I could rave about the new Drake album, and while I was with my brown family, I could talk about the newest Salman Khan movie. 

This got exhausting over time, and I realized I cannot live the rest of my life doing things only to prove to others that I am “brown enough” or “American enough.” 

I still love Drake and will watch some Bollywood movies every once in a while, but it is now my own prerogative and not to please anyone else.

Amreen is a sophomore on the Pre-Law track with a major in Political Science and Economics. Amreen was born in Dallas, Texas but calls Kansas her home. She loves to write about her life and her personal view of the world around her!
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