I Scroll Endlessly
I scroll endlessly
Often in the early hours of the morning or the late hours of the night
Sometimes I am aware of what I am doing, sometimes I am not
I run my eyes over the white background with black text and the blue banner at the top
When I need a refresher I shift over to a place where pictures are posted to show a person’s worth
When I’m done with that, it’s back to the page with the blue banner at the top
Once in a while, I’ll toggle to a place for thoughts to be shared in 140 characters or less
But often I am tempted back to the white background with the black text and the blue banner at the top
I check the time
11 minutes has passed. Where has it gone?
At times I wonder, “is this what my existence is? Staring at a screen while life passes me by?”
I reach the bottom. Just as I am about to break from my stupor an infamous splotch of red attracts my attention. It informs me there are new stories to be listened to, to be glanced over, to be analyzed, and to pass from one ear and exit out the other
So I falter
I scroll endlessly
I am a Minority and I Prohibit You
I am a minority and I prohibit you from culturally appropriating my native culture.
I was born in India. Hence, I prohibit you from stealing my culture and eating any foods that are representative of that place. But wait I have a reason. Since the British colonized us and stole our dishes, customs, and foods, there is a long history of oppression of my peoples. And you brazenly engaging in my traditions subverts the struggles of those actually ingrained in them.
Since the British transported our ways back to their motherland, and from there they made their way to US, I prohibit you all in the Western world from enjoying our tangy delicacies. Since your Anglo-Saxon ancestors co-opted and invaded us and they were clearly the dominant culture then and now, I prohibit you from enjoying our traditions. Unless you want to be a cultural appropriator that is.
Enjoy some butter chicken? Tough luck you heteronormative, cis-gendered white male. Only when you paint your skin brown can you enjoy my culture’s food. But if you do that then you’d be racist and engaging in Brown-facing. So too bad. You can’t enjoy it at all.
Like some chicken biryani? You’d better make sure before each bite you acknowledge Vishnu, Ganesh, and Mahatma Gandhi as a sign of respect before you chew on the dreamy multi-layered goodness. Before every bite. We have enough Gods to cater to that strategy. If you don’t, then you risk hurting the feelings of all brown people everywhere–the millions of people who still live in the shanties of the Indus will squirm in pain at your inconsideration.
Think Yoga is cool, groovy, and a neat way to connect with your inner spirituality? That’s fine if you’re from India. Think Yoga is cool, groovy, and neat way to connect with your inner spirituality? Seriously problematic if you’re from anywhere else (read: white).
Don’t even get me started if you’re white and make money off yoga. The gall it takes for you to co-opt and monetize another culture’s practice is inexplicably evil and ghastly. You should only be allowed to work in industries related to your race.
Like Henna tattoos? Go get a real tattoo you racist.
I prohibit you from not listening to me and my demands since I am a minority and automatically should be given more credence than others. Individual rights are great–especially when you take them away from those in powerful or oppressive groups. If you do not do all the things I ask you, I as a minority, obviously having no autonomy of my own and being so sensitive that I am triggered by people appreciating my culture, will report you to the pertinent authorities. Or whip up a storm on Social Media. Or come yank your Vindaloo away from you if you don’t have the right skin tone while you’re basking in its spicy goodness.
I was going to prohibit you from the practices that are popular in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia as well since I have lived, and loved living in those places and consider parts of their culture to be my own, but since I am solely defined, and gain my identity by the color of my skin, and my sex, I suppose I’m not allowed to–though I really wish I could.
This essay was published in Public House Magazine.
Follow me on twitter: @malharmali