People of color–do I count?

27163_10200909565770194_1568248552_nSarina Bhandari,
Los Altos Hills, CA.

My parents grew up in India and had an arranged marriage in 70’s. Shorty after, they moved to the United States. In 1992, they had me, a first-generation Indian-American. I grew up with a lot of privilege, and I’ve never felt silenced by dominant society. In fact, I’ve never really felt apart from it. Here’s the root of my confusion: discussion about people of color tend to focus on how they are oppressed and excluded by whites. Am I any less “of color” because I don’t fit the oppressed-narrative mold?

I think the rhetoric around POC focuses too much on the divide between whites and those who whites oppress. Overemphasizing this divide 1) angers both sides, strengthening the divide, and 2) unfairly lumps together a plethora of unique racial histories and experiences under the singular name of “people of color.” I am literally a person of color, but I also feel very privileged. I can do whatever I’d like–my non-whiteness will never stop me. I don’t want to have to believe otherwise to continue identifying as a person of color.


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