Updated: Nov 12, 2020
I have always been skeptical of my own capabilities. As school dragged on, I’ve realized how ordinary it is to be smart. Indians have always been categorized as bright and mathematical, so it’s simply expected of me to fit the stereotype. It wasn’t ‘till middle school when I realized the cookie-cutter mold that I was supposed to fit into: I am a Patel, so naturally, I was decent at math and had good grades. I hated this. I wanted to be more than the cliche Desi, so I replaced my last name on the top of assignments and tests with a small “P.” It may seem harsh to feel ashamed of my culture, but I wasn’t. I love my culture, the music, the food, and art are pieces of my background that I am proud of. But being Brown cushioned my achievements. I remember once in the 6th grade I had gotten a high score on a math test so my teacher congratulated me in front of the class. Obviously, I was super proud until I heard a voice say, “of course she did, she’s Indian.” I’m constantly trying to prove that I’m more than a student to my peers, yet in their eyes, I’m simply a doctor-in-training. Without proper representation in media, these stereotypes aren’t going to disappear, and it’s important that POC have opportunities to shine through art. Yes, our cultures represent our backgrounds and family histories, but they don’t define our potential.
Written by Aditi Patel. Edited by Kathy Ye.