The Woke-Bullying of Our Hindu American Children: Media Narratives & The School Years
“When you’re eight in America and your parents grew up in a different country, it’s not exactly the same as it is for other eight year olds. Sometimes, when you’re around eight, you start thinking that you need to protect your parents from the truth of what this place is.
Sure, you’re still a kid, and they still watch out for you. But you need to watch out for them, too, because around the time that you’re eight (or six or ten) you realize that even though they’re brave (braver than you realize then) for leaving everything they know and coming here, and brilliant for being able to carve out a new life and build new roots, they’re also innocent. And if they knew that they left everything to follow a dream they had (which included making sure you would be happy in school here) and then discovered what it was really like for you here, it would break their hearts.
If they knew that the things that are the very core of our family and home are a joke or a footnote or an exotic trinket that’s put on a shelf in school…you don’t want to see their faces when they realize what that means.
Or maybe they wouldn’t even understand how that feels to an eight year old kid (or six or ten) because they didn’t grow up like that. When they were six and went to school, maybe it wasn’t perfect, but at least they were normal and their teachers looked like them and didn’t seem sad at them because they don’t celebrate Christmas or something. They don’t know what it’s like to be eight and be on a shelf at school. Or to go to school when you look kind of like the children that Sally Struthers wants the white families to save from the wretched conditions of their dark homelands with just ten cents a day. So maybe it’s not just about protecting their innocence. Maybe it’s because there’s no way they could really understand.
When you’re eight and your parents grew up in a different country, you’re trying to hold two countries in your heart because you don’t want to betray your parents or your friends, and it feels like you’re bursting open because you’re full of secrets about two countries — and your school and parents have no idea how big those secrets are inside of you. And you have to protect your parents from the truth of what this…