America is a melting pot of cultures -- but it seems like not all cultures and ethnicities are welcome. Unless, of course, their clothing is appropriated for profit or racial jokes are made at their expense for entertainment. It seems as if some Americans love everything about us... except us.
I grew up in Garland, Texas on Princeton Street where my parents lived until a few years ago. One of my first memories is the icy January day my parents and their friends gingerly brought my new baby brother and our very woozy mother home from the hospital to our little house.
"I had a friend and when we were 14, she said to me, 'I have a secret,'" she says. "And the secret was that she had a fiancé who was 10 years older. At the time, I didn't know what it meant, and I thought it was like having a boyfriend."
The Civil Rights Movement was itself the fruit of the shared spiritual yearnings of blacks and Indians. Therefore, South Asian immigrants are under historical, moral and spiritual obligations to refuse offers of white privilege and join in solidarity with African-Americans.
Ever wonder why it's completely normal for Indian guys to live at home with their parents well into their 20s and 30s? Or how even after marriage, they live with their parents and spouse as a "joint family?"
Politically speaking, the high level of social acceptance and privilege that comes with being Asian-American is ultimately dangerous because it sets up a false notion of who we really are. For starters, we are not white.
This Sunday, make sure you do what you can to honor your mothers (or those who fill that maternal role in your life), and strive to make that appreciation a daily part of your lives. While I wish I still had that opportunity, I am blessed to have enjoyed her unconditional love for as long as I did.
We all deserve to engage in our jobs with dignity, whether we work in the corner office of a high-rise, the inside of a cab, or behind closed doors in a home. Standing with Sangeeta means that we stand for the rights of those who experience workplace abuse.
Our identities as Americans will not be given legitimacy -- or quite literally, airtime -- and we will thus continue to remain faceless victims of yet another tragedy chalked up only to gun violence and not also to hatred and ignorance.
Our collective psyche has been shaped by the experiences of living in post-9/11 America, and future generations will be forced to wrangle with questions of identity, history, shame and our place in America.