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My Immigrant Identity


What does it mean to be a child of Immigrant parents? Should I identify more as a Canadian than an Indian now that I am a citizen of this land? What does it really mean to be a citizen of a country…a developed country?  Why am I not regarded as an Indian by Indians from back home all of a sudden? These are some questions I have been asking myself ever since I began to think critically about my identity. Every question produced more questions. I had no answers. My identity privileges me as well as oppresses me, sometimes exclusively and other times simultaneously. It is very contextual and fluid. What privileges and oppresses me is almost always determined by one or more of these following factors: My position in the society, race, culture, ethnicity, nationality, language, migration journey and education. There is a realization I have had recently. The mind naturally requires more awareness, consciousness, or simply more work from us to acknowledge and accept the privileges that are given to us by life. Thus, privileges are often invisible to us.  But, we quickly become aware about things that oppress us. Not much work is required to realize your oppressions if you hold a powerful position in the society. A privilege that is not realized might act as a catalytic agent in someone else’s experience of oppression. If privileges remain invisible, then it can initiate and perpetuate oppressive realities for the other. Realizing that we each have privileges creates a positive ripple effect for the larger community. And, if realized, it can gradually end oppression for someone too.