“Finally, I’m Ethnic!” Or, Culture Sharing

So today was a hazardous day at best. At worst utter shit. But there is always a sunrise on a cloudy day, and my sunrise was in the form of a fabulous kurti that I bought online. What, might you ask, is a mainline, upperclass white female doing with traditional Indian garb?

I’m embracing the beautiful.

You see, Fellow Readers of This Wondrous Blog, your monarch has often felt that American fashion is limiting, especially for the young adults. Frankly, it’s a bit of a bore-fest. I mean, come on–how many ways can you wear skinny jeans and tight tanks? Yawns galore. And in this wandering mind of your overlord was a love of all things foreign and unique. I’ve always admired different cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities because they seem so exotic, so full of life. And I’ve often wanted to show appreciation and respect, though I am only an outsider. I want to grow an afro (unlikely, but still) and wear a hijab and attend an Indian festival. I want to go into a synagogue.

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And yet I am frightened. You aren’t supposed to act outside your established identity–a white person can’t “act black” or “ghetto,” a religious person can’t have doubts, a man can’t possess feminine sensibilities–because then you are a traitor to your identity. 

I was also afraid of what they might say if I did some of those things. “She’s not one of us. She doesn’t share our way of life. She just does it for the material.” 

And they would have a point.

But in the end, I don’t see such a difference. When I saw an old woman in a casual brown saree at my town’s annual festival, I thought, “That is beauty. I want to be that beauty.” I wanted to wear a saree and a choli. I want to stick a bindi on my forehead and feel the beauty that was the old woman.

Today I did. Or I would have, if not for the sweat stains and lack of a dupatta and traditional pants. Maybe next time.

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Related reads:

Can a white woman wear a sari or salwar kameez? The fine art of culture sharing

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