Growing Up Indian in America
March 6, 2023
Tippur looks back on her youth, “When I was really young.. I remember this kid saying ‘I step on brown people’ and he kicked me.” Tippur said, “Freshman year of high school in my history class, someone asked if I was a part of the Taliban.”
However, these microaggressions did not interrupt Tippur’s desire to express her culture, she explained that through family and her little community, she found reassurance and love. As Tippur grew older, the love for her culture grew stronger- thanks to Bollywood films and Hindi music. Instead of suppression, Tippur sought expression.
“My ethnicity is a huge part of who I am, culturally, my norms are very Indian,” Tippur said, “The more I keep doing what I’m doing, the more people will realize that this is just a reality for them. It’s not just me who’s [Indian]… it needs to be normalized.”
Instead of nit-picking our differences- celebrating them promotes tolerance and helps minorities feel more seen. In the average year, there are 16 holidays in India, Tippur accentuates Ugadi- The South Indian New Year, Diwali- The festival of lights, Holi- The festival of colors, and Nivaratri- nine days filled with dancing and food. These are times where the community is united and every person is valued- nevertheless, Indian students are forced to choose between religion and education when it comes to these holidays- causing them to feel lesser than their peers.
“We don’t get breaks for any of our religious holidays. That’s the thing that always irks me, there’s a really big gap between the ‘important holidays’ where majorities seem to be more important than the minorities. Already, we don’t have a lot of South Asians here, and it just makes it difficult to participate in our religions.”
This challenge is no stranger to Tippur, as she is also the equity and diversity director for San Marcos High School. Many students on campus face the same struggle when balancing religious holidays and school- like the lack of break during Ramadan or Eid for Muslims. Although the official solution to this problem is yet to be addressed, the little things are sufficient for the time being.
“From my perspective, it’s very difficult to make a movement on [creating breaks for holidays]… one thing is to start small, we can play more diverse music in the quad,” Tippur said, “As for the daily announcements, they can start notifying us of what holiday it may be that day. It starts with the small things, and eventually we’ll move up to bigger things.”