I Am

You ask who I am:

My culture,

My identity.

But I fear to say

Because you

Do not perceive

The way I do.

~

I tell you I am Indian

And you think

I must be deprived.

For they do not love

Their daughters there.

But you do not know,

My family has fought

To give me an education

Equal to my brothers’.

~

I tell you I am American

And you think

I must be selfish,

For they chase money,

And neglect others there.

But you do not know,

The community I felt

When the Boston bombs

Brought our city together.

~

I tell you I am Hindu,

And you think

I must loathe Muslims.

For our animosity

Runs years deep.

But you do not know,

My Guru teaches

Unity, brotherhood,

And Solidarity,

Because God is One.

~

I tell you I am a woman

And you think

I must be withdrawn.

For men are the voice,

And women, the shadow.

But you do not know,

I assert, fight, and win,

To give other girls

That same strength.

~

I tell you I am progressive,

And you think

I must be pious,

For liberals assume

That they stand highest.

But you do not know

I welcome debate;

At least I can try to

understand the other.

~

Each of my identities,

Is flawed, yet rich.

Mine to embrace,

To express,

To amend.

Because, you see,

You think my culture

Defines me.

But you do not

Know: I define

My culture, too.

~

If culture is dynamic;

Molded by people,

And adapting for

New generations,

Then why is your

Thinking so rigid?

My culture can change;

Surely you can, too.

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