|Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-27 02:51Z by Steven|
Aliya Khan, Contributing Writer
Source: “Navigating Two Different Cultures: A Pakistani Immigrant Girl’s Struggles,” The Brooklyn Ink, (May 16, 2013).
I was walking across campus, on my way to class, when a white man stopped me and asked, “Are you from Bahrain?”
“I’m sorry?” I asked, confused by his question.
“Bahrain? I have a friend who is studying here from there, and you look so similar to her.”
I have a lot of opinions about when and how it is appropriate to ask someone about their race, mostly formed by my early experiences watching my Pakistani father struggle to respond to questions just like that one. But that’s not what first entered my mind this time.
What first entered my mind was, “Oh, he doesn’t think I’m white.”
If I’m not being read as white, people describe me as “racially ambiguous.” Sometimes, my race is ignored completely. Other times, folks make assumptions about my origins, ranging from every continent of the world.
I never understood how or why people developed such diversely varied opinions about my race. Was it my name that gave it away? my skin tone? Did they mistake my Midwest accent for something more “exotic?”
The invalidation of my racial identity from others was confusing growing up. It was a constant reminder that I just didn’t quite fit in.
My experiences growing up with a Pakistani father did not match those of my White friends, but it was also clear that, as someone who was biracial, I didn’t fit in to any other category…
Read the entire article here.