“american” is not a synonym for “white”

dear readers,

as an american born indian woman, i get annoyed when i hear people from all walks of life using the word american to mean white. last night i’m talking to a desi brother, he tells me that he used to go out with an american girl. and i’m thinking, i know he doesn’t mean me. he means a white girl. and in about two seconds, he’s going to find out i was born in chicago and tell me knowingly how i’m not indian. which leaves me with nothing to claim. and that’s what’ll happen too, if you don’t define yourself, someone else will certainly try to tell you who you are and are not.

turns out me and that same dude end up chilling at sob’s. he got tipsy, i wasn’t drinking, but we both got in on his h1b account and that was helpful for this teacher on the grind. just keeping it real. here’s a pic from last night with me and hip hop architect, afrika bambaata. happy anniversary zulu nation.


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3 thoughts on ““american” is not a synonym for “white”

  1. J "Equality" P says:

    Roopastar, I share your frustrations. My Filipino families truly think that way & is emulating what White folks do because its American including bleaching their skins white & dying their hair blond. Incidentally, I’m kinda getting sick of being assumed straight but I’m soo used to it because it’s been that way my whole life living in a world run by white, privileged, heterosexist men. Soo mutch to say about the 2 subjects, lol. Also, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I love Afrika Bambaata!

    • politicalpoet says:

      word j, it’s def not just us desi folks who are complicit in this assumption of whiteness behind being american. and absolutely, there is something to be said for making the connections between all paradigmatic assumptions that sweep us down the rivers of the status quo. the pic!?! i knowwwww, super geeked about it. πŸ™‚

      • politicalpoet says:

        Here are the Facebook comments on my “American not Synonym for White” blog post, including my reply below:

        P: Funny how many ways that synonym stuff works huh ?

        Sa: oh Roopa, amen for this. it’s such a pet peeve of mine!! (and just this week someone did that with ‘british’ instead of ‘american’). I always challenge these statements (often to the response of “well, you know what i mean!”) but it gets tiresome.

        L: I’ve noticed a lot of Desi brothers from India dont get that “American is not white” while I’ve never had a Desi Brother from the USA (like us born/raised here) make this assumption. It could be a cultural thing, no?

        N: same goes in canada!

        A: The other question I love is; Where are your parents from? When I reply with Idaho and Arkansas, the next question is; What are they? I reply, American. I love frustrating people! I get this from White Americans and East Indian men most of the time.

        M: (M is a mother of a child who is have Japanese and half Puerto Rican) Haha… I am often asked “Is A’s father American????? I always have to laugh…. and answer her father is not Japanese.

        Roopa Singh β€Ž@p, yes, being american is something we are constantly defining ourselves. @ l and m, your comments resound with each other! @s, real tiresome, def an upstream battle and that river is the status quo. blech. @l, great point. @t, blame canada! @an, keep em guessing! πŸ™‚

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