Ethnicity and Religion

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Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so mean they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. (Max 650)

Are you Christian or are you Indian? This is one question that has been asked of me in my entire schooling career. In 6th grade, my schoolmate nicknamed me ?the coconut’which meant being brown on the outside but on the inside is white. They came up with this nickname specifically because I was a Christian Indian kid, who was practicing a white religion and yet he was brown-skinned.

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Throughout my schooling, people kept on asking me every possible question about my religion and race with most of them having the intentions of wanting to learn and connect how the two interlink, but in most cases, the questions often had negative suggestions for they never expected an Indian to be a Christian.

My classmates found it difficult to accept a Christian Indian, so it was understandable. However, they usually had the notion that since I was Indian I automatically had to have good grades. This forced me to work hard in order to prove it to my classmates that it was due to studying that I managed to attain good gradesand not the so–alled superhman genes that they believed to be passed through Indians or the everyday potion drink, for such things do not in any way relate with attaining good grades in school.

They equally believed that since I was an Indian, I was not supposed to associate myself wiwith any sport. I was usually being told to go do some studies rather wasting my energy in playing sports. This ended up intriguing me, and I kept on asking myself why the color of my skin should signify any skill whatsoever. But as much as they kept on teasing me about this, I ended up being the first pick for volleyball or basketball. And anytime that I challenged them with that they always bounced back by saying that my Christian nature was kicking in and that my religion was contributing towards my good skills in sports.

I remember one day when we were in 7th grade, a classmate loudly announced that all Indians were either the super rich CEO’s that are usually being featured in the magazines or they were the receiving end of the tech support calls. To my surprise, there were a couple of people who totally agreed with him, as I sat there looking straight at him and at the same time I was stunned at his words. And the next minute I immediately stood up and demanded him to tell me what of the two descriptions he sees me be. He stared straight into my eyes and said that I am a tech support, for to him insulting me was the easiest thing he could do since I outsmarted him in all of the other things in school.

When it came to high school, I thought it was the new beginning for me since I no longer had my old nickname but the coconut concept still followed me. My freshman year classes were made up of students who were from different ethnicities. Most of these students were European, Arabs, South Africans and Native American descents, however, all of these students had fair skin.

When it came to introducing ourselves, everyone said my name with a lot of uncertainty as they had the confused looks on their faces. I looked Indian, I had the Indian skin tone plus the slight accent, and even my grades could tell that I am Indian. But to them the name Georgi is supposed to be owned by a white, and they kept on wondering how a brown skin with a white name adds up.

I remember back in 10th grade we were taught about the violence and destruction that were caused in the 11th century by Crusades, and in the middle of the lesson, a boy in my class turned around and angrily whispered in my ear,Destroying their lives too huh. They should send you back to where you came from. And that was a painful moment for me plus it made me think if he ever told his German girlfriend the same thing.

All these experiences started making me become insecure about my ethnicity and religion. I began denying my identity and kept on telling people that since I spent my whole life in America that made me not to be an Indian. And that the reason as to why I am a Christian is because my parents wanted me to be one for it was not my wish. However, in lying and denying my true image I became estranged from my identity.

I immediately noticed that I was not being myself. I observed that I was not the fairest or the most handsome people in my class, and neither did I have the biggest muscles nor the best flexibility. But I learned that I had something that others did not have, and that was my identity. My ethnicity and religion were forever part of me, and I should not be disturbed by how other people view my background. I immediately embraced being a Christian, Indian and a brown-skinned kid who was practicing a white religion, but above all, I embraced my true identity: a coconut.

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