My parents immigrated in 1980, and in a state that had never seen Indians before, it was not the easiest at times. I remember as a first grader in the early 1990s, when other kids foundout I was Indian, they would ask me what tribe, and start dancing around me in a tribal dance, placing their hands over their mouth and chanting the stereotypical Native American songs we had only seen in cartoons. However, if they did assume the right country, the next followup question would be “Do you eat monkey brains like they did in Indiana Jones [And the Temple of Doom]?”
As I became older and India and the Indians in the community became more recognized, I could see the difference. I did not get asked these silly questions anymore. They knew where India was and what I meant when I said I was Indian. These questions lead more into religion by this point when I got older. Thankfully my parents had shared a lot of Hinduism with me as I grew up, so I was no stranger to the topic. As a child we watched the Indian epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, which taught principles of Hinduism but also the right moral values we should have. I learned more about Hinduism from the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, a revered book of the Mahabharata where Lord Krishna speaks to Arjuna to encourage him to fight on the battlefield, which is just a larger metaphor for fighting in the battlefield of life.
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Mona Tailor: A Hindu Kentuckian’s Perspective on Senator Williams’ Comments