Really? Are both your parents Indian?

Shevon Desai
Ann Arbor, MI

My parents emigrated from India to the US over 50 years ago. In terms of ethnicity, I think of myself as South Asian – but in terms of race, we are officially Caucasian (my family are Parsis – Indian Zoroastrians whose ancestors originally came from Iran).

Race and ethnicity for me are often a moving target. I have fair skin and dark hair, so I can “pass” for all sorts of ethnic groups. The comment above happens occasionally, since I don’t fit the expectation of what someone from India should look like. I’m not offended; I appreciate others’ curiosity and their desire to learn more about “where” I’m from.

And incidentally, when I’m asked where I’m from, my first answer is usually “Texas” (I was born and mostly raised in TX.)


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