by Antara Mason – Guest Contributor
Antara is the founder of iDesi Generation 1.5, a group specifically designed for Indian and Nepalese adoptees. Through this piece she hopes to discuss International Desi Adoptee culture and her interactions with other South Asians.
Hi. My parents are white.
Wait whaaaat? Isn’t this for brown girls? What’s a white girl doing here?
Hold up! Let me explain who I am.
I’m a white kid stuck in a brown girl’s body. I’m a Desi trapped in a box of white. I’m that half and half shake you wonder why anyone would order. I glow bronze in the sunlight but I’m too dark to be a traditional Indian beauty. I’m too light to be a true exotic beauty. I suffer from WCIC- or White Cinnamon Identity Crisis. And I’m a walking paradox.
But I’m getting ahead of myself and I probably confused you even more. Let’s start at the beginning. Hi. My name’s Antara Mason. I am an Indian adoptee. You see, I am adopted, born in Kolkata, brought to America as a baby, and raised by my wonderful white parents. I love them very much. I was given up by birthmother, we assume, at birth. I am a second hand child, the transplant that wasn’t supposed to happen. I should be packed full of Indian-ness. Instead, I’m chalk-full of American pie. I’m the “disturbance in the force”. Welcome to my Inception.
Ok, that’s great. What’s your point?
Great question! I’m here to inform you about a whole new race of brown girls- the international adoptees. And I’m here to break down some brick walls and 3 popular misconceptions. Let me tell you a story- it’s a reoccurring one in my life:
Me: Hi! My name’s Antara!
Desi: Hi! My name’s _______. Where are you from?
Desi: Ah. I’m from ______.
Me: Cool! Oh hey, this is my mom. *shoves blond woman forward*. I’m adopted.
Desi: Oh. *”oh” is packed deep and ominous*
PAUSE! The ominous “Oh”- I hate that. That’s where I lose any chance of truly connecting with any Desi. Sure, they are very polite and invite me to eat Indian food with them, but do they actually give me their number? Nope.
Popular Misconception #1: They’re pretty much white on the inside, and they wouldn’t be interested in our culture.
Wrong! We’d love to learn. Yes, we have no idea what Shahid Kapoor is saying in Jab We Met, but yes we appreciate how hot he is! We are missing a lot of the Indian part of our identity and often times it’s hard to try and integrate it in. So every hand extended helps. Granted, some adoptees don’t really want to learn about their culture if they are younger, but often, many of the older ones do.
Popular Misconception #2: If I reach out to the adoptee, their parents will resent me for it.
My parents are thrilled whenever a Desi reaches out to my family. We practically throw a party celebrating contact from the Mother Planet. Adoptee parents understand that try as they will, we have lost something deep and profound that they cannot fill. You can help fill that void by reaching out to us.
Popular Misconception #3: They won’t be able to relate to me or my Desi stories.
We can relate! We all have that body hair issue. We can’t pick out the right shade of lipstick (true story). It’s even worse for us because our mother’s can’t quite advise us as well as either of us would like. Makeup shopping with my mum is a nightmare! We don’t understand how to remove a really bad case of uni-brow. So we end up experimenting, and believe me there are some experiments I’d rather not speak of!
So we’ve reached the end of our 3 points. I hope you can take something away from this mish-mash of craziness! But that’s us – the adoptees- a walking paradox. The most influential Desi woman in my life reached out to me before I reached for her. And I will always remember the wisdom she gave me. So reach out, touch a life! Please help me relieve one of the worst symptoms of WCIC…confusion!