I am an Indian American woman who was born in Canada, immigrated to the US at the age of 3, and went on to receive an excellent education that has helped me pursue a successful career in US politics and issue advocacy. My Indian heritage is a big part of my identity, but for all of the cultural wealth my ethnic and geographic backgrounds have to offer to someone eager to ask questions, this one is the most common. As a brown woman, no matter what progress I bring to the table, age-old notions of exoticism and helplessness follow me around like a sad puppy. I can’t just be another young professional woman who lives a normal and independent–emphasis on independent–life. People pry for tidbits of a drama that they couldn’t even dream of partaking in: “Do your parents know you date? Would they be mad? Do you have to marry an Indian? Will you have to get an arranged marriage?” Yes. No. No. No. Just no.
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