• Ayushi Kalia

Why Brown?

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

They say black lives matter, but I am brown. Then they say all lives matter, and what if I did not have a purpose of living? What if I was a Koala?

Koalas are known to sleep eighty percent of their lives and are disliked as food by other animals. The remaining twenty percent is spent by them chewing eucalyptus. I must mention that most of us could relate to being a Koala while stuck in this quarantine. This makes me wonder if I would have now cared more for the Australian fires for, I cannot imagine my house on fire if I am locked in it sleeping and eating.

People have been protesting to value lives for a while now. The death of a black man by the United States’ Police was criticized around the globe. This was obviously not the first time. The first time happened to have been in 1983 when a group of fewer than twenty people got together and started to walk—all of this to support African migrants.

Source: Unsplash, by Library of Congress

However, I am not black. I am Parauri. Parauri comes from the Māori language and would translate to “brown” in English. I was born in a middle-class family, but I would now count myself economically prosperous. This is considering the luxuries I was spoiled with, given to me by my hard-working single mother. Also, I am usually counted amongst the prettier and fairer lot in my nation. Oh! The cherry on the cake being I am a Brahmin. I know, such classism but not racism. So, you might wonder as to why I would care so much.

So here it is. I am a woman. Women in the world have come far. We are extensively vocal about our rights at workplaces and respect in families. However, being a woman has never been a problem at any of my workplaces or my home. I am more pampered in comparison to my younger brother. I have always been appreciated for good work at my offices.

I have, however, faced the differences on the road. First, a man who rash drove his two-wheeler in front of my car while driving the wrong side of the road and asked why women go out in cars if they cannot drive and then from another man who questioned my ego because I did not respond to his eve-teasing. What can law and policies really do unless we learn to add some essential morals in our children's upbringing?

Reclining woman by Raja Ravi Varma

Much like many rich Indian kids, I have had the opportunity to study abroad. I have spent a year in New Zealand. I have not faced one bit of difference for being a woman but some for being Indian. When I began interacting with people, I was told I am not Asian, but I am an Indian. To much of my surprise (and I found this to be extremely funny), Indians are not Asians in New Zealand because Asians are Chinese. So, the country does not have racism, but you will be categorized right after you land. Yet again, absolutely no racism was found in office or college but on the roads.

I was never beaten up because I did not wear a turban. By the way, did you know that Sikhs were delivering free cooked food to people's houses in Auckland if they received a call for help during the Corona crisis? For me, it was just the way some people would look at me while I walk or enter a shop. All in all, I was not poorly treated but just differently except the one time I traveled domestically by air. Then I was just a tiny Indian girl between the tall well-read foreigners not worthy of being greeted by the air host (although I swear to have paid for my ticket). Does not sound so bad, does it?

Source: Unsplash, by Varun Gaba

Overall, I have come to realize that women have a reputation in this nation that was not earned but presumed by the opposite sex. However, the browns have earned a reputation abroad. While other nationals are allowed to make an impression about themselves, we are Indians before everything else. Even if people do not want me to feel disrespected, they will remain extra cautious around me just because I am brown. It is a fear that I have come to believe has been brought out in people by how smart we are. We are cunning. We are intelligent. We can excel. We can destroy. We choose to respect humanity. We choose to respect money. But most of all, we choose to respect our interests and beliefs. We can make situations, and we can destroy the world if we are challenged. I am a proud Indian girl. I am a proud brown.


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