Interview with an Indian-American Christian Woman: Part 3

This was my favorite part of my conversation with Anu Skariah  because of her vulnerability…

On a more serious note, Anu was honest in sharing about her experience with prejudice and discrimination.

Anu: “I have experienced prejudice. My first experience, that I can remember was in the 5th grade. As a class, we went to read to the kindergarteners and first graders. I remember a Caucasian girl looking frantic to join a reading group. When I invited her to mine, she looked around and said, ‘No, I want someone that’s white.’ Her name was Brittany and recalling that event still makes me sad. Later, in high school and middle school I was called names and made fun of; many people told me that I should go back to my country. I think more than anything what breaks my heart to this day is recalling all the times that my parents experienced discrimination because they speak with an accent.”

I felt really sad to hear this and even sadder to know it still pains her to recall the discrimination. I wanted to cry because I have always thought that my people group is the only ones to experience discrimination due to their accent. It turns out that’s a lie. I have never felt discriminated against, but my people have. I’ve heard countless stories of discrimination towards my people, stories that I could not connect with, but that caused me pain. I felt connected to Anu in her pain for her parents. 

Moreover, I asked Anu to share how people of her culture perceive counseling and counselors.

Anu: “Mental health is not openly discussed and you are stigmatized for seeking counseling.”

She said people in her culture are not likely to seek help from sources outside their community. Anu also shared that people in her culture would be more open to counseling if the younger Indian generation studied and became counselors, and later spoke about the need for counseling to their communities.

When she said this I realized I have a great responsibility and a voice within my own Mexican/Spaniard- American community. I have the power to speak about counseling and promote healing among my people group.

Lastly, towards the end of our conversation, Anu emphasized that Indian people are very diverse within themselves and that to really understand her culture; one would have to get to know the individual.

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