The Myth of the Model Minority

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Let me tell you about a series of experiences. I often see myself traveling with varsity members to tournaments around the country. My friends jokingly call me a ‘terrorist’ and tease me for always being pulled aside for extra pat downs and searches at the airport. That’s not incorrect. The categorizing of all brown people under the category of the ‘Muslim Other’ has prevailed since the 9/11 attacks. One day, I was biking along the streets of Berkeley to pick up some lunch on my day off. As I was biking along the street, a car of college kids yelled at me, “Go back to school, nerd.” It really shook me. In class, whenever my friend has a problem with his/her computer, I’m always the first one they ask. Thing is, I’m really not good with technology. A couple weeks ago, my parents asked me about my ambitions when I grow older. I replied that my dream job was to write for the New York Times, or a famous politician. My dad told me that both of those were difficult fields to become successful in, but he would encourage me to do what I loved. My mom told me that I should just become a doctor or an engineer like all my other cousins and siblings.

According to CNN, since 1990, over 2 million immigrants from the southern Asian region have migrated to the United States. My dad was one of those. He wanted to receive a good American education and live in his fantasy city: San Francisco. He was the first in his family. His parents were very against the prospect of leaving the safe haven of New Delhi. My dad was determined accomplish more than my grandfather. In 1994, with not nearly enough money, my dad’s flight landed in Seattle. He went to a small university, and eventually worked his way up to where he his now. He is a senior engineer for one of the biggest graphics card producing company in the world. His determination is always something that drives me to become something.

The myth of the “model minority” is an ever-more prevailing topic in this day and age. My dad’s generation was the pioneers India to United States migration. The growing population of Indian Americans has turned my people into a prominent minority. I am a part of the large group of children who are offsprings of these first generation pioneers. In fact, lots of my friends at school have the same story as I do.

Most Indians have a higher-than-average IQ  in the subject of math and science, according to SFGate. However, not everyone fits into this category. Currently, my worst subjects in school are trigonometry and chemistry. My favorite classes are English and debate. After the September 11th attacks in 2001, the general community has developed an underlying fear when they see a Muslim in an airport. The picture of the Indian guy working in tech support with his large black frame glasses has entered the minds of too many people.

This narrative is just an example of something that I’ve personally experienced. But this happens to millions of minorities every single day. I’d like people just be more aware of the way you think of others, and be cautious regarding how quickly you jump to conclusions and assumptions about someone.

Indian Discrimination


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