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Should I Be Ashamed Of My Heritage?

Discussion in 'Friends & Neighbours' started by ChennaiExpress, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. ChennaiExpress

    ChennaiExpress IL Hall of Fame

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    I paint at coffee shop during lunch break and lot of people look over my shoulder, admiring my artwork.

    Even the staff of the coffee shop says how much they love my artwork.

    Recently I painted picture of late grandfather who is Sikh and wore a turban.

    When I presented it to my Dad, he got concerned and said I should be discrete about painting these things because people will think I am Muslim.

    Sikhs get mistaken for Muslims ever since 9/11.

    But aren't Muslims also human beings? Most of them love USA.

    I also joined Toastmasters to feel comfortable speaking in public. I tell lot of stories of Hinduism, and get praise in anonymous paper.

    But now I am thinking this is bad because people are shunning Toastmasters. I think this one white lady will not return to Toastmasters because I am happily talking about Hinduism, Indian Culture, etc

    My question: People always say be yourself, be yourself. But when I am finally comfortable, happy, and I am being myself, somehow people are staying away from me.

    My Dad simply says be discrete about things (especially our culture) because someone may get more information to harm you. My dad says it is fortunate that I have light skin (people think I'm Italian or Greek) and an American accent.

    I am very upset right now. How to survive in a world where I don't fit in? I am in metropolitan city in USA
     
    anika987, dc24, kaniths and 4 others like this.
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  2. Caide

    Caide Platinum IL'ite

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    all have different taste and character i think this is 3rd time i am saying this :D but still it doesnt mean you dont fit in this society or something and yeah be yourself and if people ignore then you ignore too because true friends wont leave your hand at any cost. play your role well bcz no one else can play it as good as you :D fighting :D
     
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  3. songbird46

    songbird46 Gold IL'ite

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    OP,
    Of course you should be proud of your heritage - you have a lot to be proud of with your Sikh heritage, and the world knows it.

    But your dad is also right. In these troubled times, you also have the right to protect yourself.

    So, be free at home or in the company of liberal-minded people. But in public, where the colour of your skin might make someone treat you differently, be guarded. I'm sorry things are this way but until it changes, take care.

    There was a Sikh girl on Australia's Got Talent who spoke about just this in her slam poetry. It was beautiful and got her a standing ovation from an audience much moved by her experience.

    Use your art to express yourself, stand up when injustice is done, be discreet but don't be afraid. Don't give into the prejudices of the few. Your Sikh ancestors deserve to be celebrated.
     
  4. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    Being discreet is different from feeling ashamed of your heritage.

    When in Rome, be a Roman. You live in a country which thinks (not everyone though) the Muslims are their enemies. Blame the IS, Al- quida and other terrorist groups who use their religion as a weapon to fight. Also blame the western mentality who thinks it is always right to encroach into other persons' (country's) business.
    Due to this fight, they have a never ending problem. They hate each other, and trouble each other.
    We can't do much about this. Just that, we can save ourselves to some extend by being discreet so that there is no direct harm.

    It is highly possible to get confused with the turban, when there is a serious Islamophobia in the west. Read about the recent burkini issue in the France.

    But it has nothing to do with your own heritage. Just apply some commonsense as it is what needed all the time
     
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  5. Iamagoodgirl

    Iamagoodgirl Platinum IL'ite

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    Your father is right.I have never travel America.But i read a lot and aware of atlist whats happening in west.People there have started disliking the fact that immigrants do not integrate in their culture.
    Stop talking all the time about your heritage.(once in a while is ok).Talk also how much you love america.How america give all types of people chance to prosper.
    If you marry and goes to live with you inlaws,h and always beat drums about how your parents are great they are going to be upset.Same applies here too.
     
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  6. ChennaiExpress

    ChennaiExpress IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you all for your replies. Now when I paint I will sit in a corner at Starbucks, or near Indians/Pakistanis/Hispanics/African Americans who admire my work.

    As for Toastmasters, I have spoken about Golden Temple, Punjab's history. And there are lot of stories in Hinduism that make for interesting topics. I am working to make it understandable and universal to everyone.

    For instance, story of baby Lord Krishna blessing an old lady who sells fruits with all the wealth in the world.

    And story about Demon who cannot be killed by man or beast, while inside or outside his house, while on Earth or on heaven, while day or night ---- but that's when Narasimha comes in!

    When I am done with storytelling manuals I will choose technical manuals and discuss science and math

    And you are right, I have to be careful about each situation. I wish I understood this sooner.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  7. anika987

    anika987 IL Hall of Fame

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    If it makes you feel any better,do you think we all can be ourselves in our own country?in our own native?
    since u said metropolitan,i will take about chennai,my loved metropolitan city...
    as a tamilian,i love traditional outfit..
    i remember once on a vacation to India,In chennai I wore chudhidhar with flowers on my head,bindi,kumkum on forehead,bangles and walked into a salwar kameez shop in a mall.I was treated like dirt as the lady who owned the shop thought I cannot afford a dress worth 500rs..

    Similarly,many people are happy to be called a north Indian coz they assume south indians=dark and north Indians =fair which means they arr pretty..

    Many are talking only in english and half the kids do not speak tamil..

    you wear traditional outfits,you are aunty or behenji and you are not hep.

    Infact,am only myself in USA and in India even I show off many a times so that I get good treatment..

    In our native itself,we are treated differently on the basis of looks,dress,color by our own people..what is wrong with your dad said?It is just that outsiders do not know much about our culture and they already have biased notions ,hence he wants you to be safe.

    In today's world,noone can completely be themselves .A little act goes a long way as everyone
    is judgemental in one way or the other..


    Even CHANAKYA..the most brilliant quoted"be yourself but not too much"
     
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  8. ChennaiExpress

    ChennaiExpress IL Hall of Fame

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    I really sorry to hear about this. Some people are just not nice.

    I think Americans love Indian culture more than Indians in India do.
     
    anika987 likes this.
  9. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    Really sorry to hear this @anika987. This is strange, and I feel sad because this incident happened in India.

    I love traditional outfits, and India (Chennai precisely) is the only place on earth I could wear them as much as I want.
    So everytime I go there, I wear either Chudithar or saree. I keep flowers in my hair, and wear designer jewels as appropriate. With this I look extra beautiful like movie actress :)
    No one... absolutely no one has treated me differently, and discriminated me for this.
    I am 100% sure that I did not look cheap or poor in that attire. Rather I looked rich and beautiful because this traditional outfit makes you full in so many ways.

    Here in Sri Lanka, I can't even think of keeping flowers in my hair so casually (Except for Hindu weddings or any temple functions, no one keeps flowers on hair) and worked saree or chudithaars are only the festive dress code here. We are so used to wear casual western cloths for almost all the time.
    So, I can't even imagine myself in a worked chudithaar, with bangles and flowers on a street in a normal day in my country.
     
  10. Suparni

    Suparni Platinum IL'ite

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    Yes agreed that muslims are human beings and not all of them are terrorists....

    But US is not India wherein even after 26/11 mumbai attacks, pathankot attacks by Pakisthan on India we still sometimes even talk of dialogue with Pakisthanis.....

    US is the place where after 9/11 attacks when the plotter was revealed as Osama Bin Laden....Afghanistan was bombarded by their military.....

    Only in India there can be silly argument on intolerance when the nation is bleeding due to terrorist attacks....

    India has an unique assimilating culture and acceptance of many different religions.....

    But the West is retrospecting and thinking that they were better off without muslim settlers from middle east..They are not Indians to accept them....You cannot ignore or deny the fact that radical islam is making some people violent and turning them into terrorists.....

    Common man there is not so broad minded to target only radical muslim people and hence targets everyone who looks like muslim or has a muslim name.....

    There is nothing wrong in being proud of your Sikh Culture.....But highlight some aspects which do not resemble Islam and you can boast about it also.....My opinion is only for safety....obviously choice is yours.....
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
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