Any Desi (one of South Asian decent) will tell you that growing up we face pretty ignorant comments about our culture. From “Eww I don’t eat curry” (neither do we dimwit) to “How many gods do you worship?” to “Do you speak Indian?” (And no I don’t speak Hindu either.) One of the most common questions that I got asked, countless times was “Does your mom wear a dot on her head”. When you’re a child of a first generation immigrant you have no idea how to answer these questions at such a young age. You are trying to fit in, hold on to your roots as you build your new life in a country that will now be home. There was a time where us Desi’s would get excited to see garam masala on a store shelf, curry on a restaurant menu and bindis worn by Gwen Stefani. There was an excitement about our culture finally getting noticed. Of late however, due to cultural appropriation traditions in our culture are losing meaning because of new trends and fashion.
Cultural appropriation (not to be confused with cultural appreciation) is spreading like wildfire, especially with celebrities at music festivals.
Cultural appropriation is the adoption of elements of one culture by members of a different cultural group, especially if the adoption is without the consent of the originating culture, and when the appropriating group has historically oppressed members of the originating culture. Often in the process, the original meanings of the cultural property are distorted or even desecrated. This cultural property, which may have deep meaning to the original culture, may then be reduced to “exotic” fashion. -Wiki
This is why I support #ReclaimTheBindi movement.
• Because I have respect for my roots, ancestors and culture.
• Because I know the efforts my parents made to keep our culture alive at home and in our lives.
• Because chai tea sounds just as ridiculous as saying coffee coffee.
• Because Namaste and bi*ch shouldn’t be in the same phrase.
• Because naan bread just doesn’t make sense, naan is a type of bread people.
• Because learning a few yoga poses and the word karma in no way makes you a yogi.
• Because that red dot was something I proudly wore with a blushing face the days following my wedding.
• Because that stuff you thought was orange marker and “smelled” is the same Mendhi (Henna) that you now gush over.
• Because when I wear my bindi, it’s blatantly obvious that I’m Hindu. And I wear it with pride.
• Because I have a little girl, who loves to wear a bindi like her Mumma while twirling around in my suits and saris. Because I want her to know that Mumma will teach her the “why we do’s” about our culture just like her Mumma taught her.