W omen, runs an Indian joke, were the reason the British lost India. Indians managed a working relationship with the men but when the prissy women landed with their flouncy dresses and aversion to the heat, it was time for independence. Asian women in Britain, however, are coping with the heat; that of the rat race and the heart.
First, some history: When I was a child, watching my pops get ready to go out was something to behold. He would spend hours preparing his mask every morning for whatever crowd, person or community he faced. Even years later, my pops still took longer to get ready than my mother and sister combined, delicately taking a black Sharpie to any stray grays that might pop up in his goatee.
Brown aunties are known to talk shit. Why do they do it? This has been a mystery since the beginning of time.
I recently got out of my first serious, and first ever, relationship. Go on, laugh — at 18 years old, my attempt at dating was funny, like a toddler trying to drive. Growing up in an Indian household, dating was not spoken about. My first priority was always my academics, and I followed that philosophy religiously.
I hate reading articles about dating. None of them seem to understand what dating is like to women of color. Sorry, women of color and immigrants.
It started when I was in the fifth grade. A boy in my class told me I had hairy man legs during gym. I cried in front of my entire class, my teacher yelled at him and made him apologize, and I went home and begged my mother to let me shave my legs.
Yet, there I was, feet dipped in clear water, staring into the horizon, trying to convince two middle-aged women whom I did not know that the man I was with was indeed my husband. By the fourth day of our vacation on the islands, we had got used to being stared at. She then asked me questions about our wedding and everything that had led to it.
My cousins can be split into two groups: Ones who grew up with weaves and skin lighteners and ones who needed sunscreen and haircuts. Our family is a classic case of women and the black men who left them versus the white men who stayed. I remember being 6 and slapping my white uncle in the face to figure out why his face turned bloodred. I wondered how men with such delicate bodies seemed to be the only ones who could endure the storm.
If your parents belittle you, call you names, dismiss your passions and interests, prevent you from doing things that make you happy—. Your parents are wrong. You deserve better.
I have, and likely will always have, an inferiority complex against white women. When dissecting the issue, more than one of my ethnic friends has confessed to feeling the same guilt-ridden sort of shock that I do in similar situations. On the other hand, more than one has disagreed with me, attributing such twisted and self-deprecating feelings to my neuroses, or perhaps to the fact that I grew up in a predominantly Caucasian Midwestern town, and therefore might simply have a skewed perspective of beauty and what is or is not considered attractive. While social conditioning could very well be the root cause, my feelings are neither unjustified nor, unfortunately for me, lacking in contextual support.