Recognition of Asian Indians in the Valley

We are recognized as people originating from the Indian Subcontinent because of our names, features, skin color, accent, or the smell of curry in our homes.

Whether we were born in India or the United States, we are considered to be separate. Have we isolated ourselves?

Having been born here, I have always identified as Indian. When I lived in India, I was known to be American because of my accent. Over here, I receive puzzled looks when I tell people that I’m American first, and then Indian. My parents, like many others, have migrated to this country for a better life – The American Dream. If they hadn’t, I probably would have been born in a village in India with fewer opportunities for advancement. For that, I am grateful.

It may come as a surprise that Indians are perceived by others to be a thriving society of knowledgeable and successful individuals compared to most other ethnic groups that have migrated here. As a race, we are still new to this nation and have come here in the last few decades at most, mostly due to skill shortages. Our children are first generation and rarely second generation Indians. Many of us are doctors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, real estate agents, CEOs, engineers, or students trying to make it to one of these expected professions. Most of us live in affluent neighborhoods, drive nice cars, own gold jewelry, and our children go to highly ranked schools. We have crossed oceans to achieve the levels of success that others can only dream of.

With our success, we have sheltered ourselves away from the realities of what is happening around us. Unfortunately, most of us are not aware that in the Central Valley, we have high levels of poverty, abused women at the local shelter, hungry children, human trafficking, among many other problems. We send money to India to help the poor but aren’t aware that we need to make a difference right here.

As this valley has fed us, we need to feed those in the valley that have not prospered the way we have. Together, we must lay the groundwork for a future to strengthen our identity and transform this place we proudly call home, while deliberately keeping the future generations in mind. Nothing is ever created in isolation.