The Hyphenated American
Given the recent surge in anti-Asian sentiments, my identity has been on my mind. I introduce myself as an Indian-American. But why do I feel the need to hold on to that hyphen so dearly? I look Indian and sound American – so I quickly add to my introduction that my parents are Indian, though I was born in the US and understand several Indian languages. It’s always been easy for me to accept what each side of my identity had to offer – switching effortlessly from performing Hindustani classical vocals in the morning to singing at local church choirs in the evening - naturally balancing the words on either side of the hyphen. But my identity is not about my roots or my place of birth. It is about my belief in the promise of what our nation stands for: equality, liberty and justice for all. So, the success of our democracy rests on working together by forging common ground. In these days of relentless side-picking, this may seem starry-eyed. But that’s what I want to work towards – dropping the hyphen and being recognized as just an American.