I USED TO WISH THAT I WAS WHITE

Inspired by the many lists on white privilege that I read yesterday, from @ijeoma, @srikala12001, @oliviapeace and so many others.
  1. The first time I remember wishing that I was white was at age 6.
  2. I'm lighter in skin tone than the rest of my immediate family, and was especially light when I was a baby. On several occasions, strangers approached my mom, demanding to know who's child she was with.
  3. When I was a child I remember being incredibly grateful that my parents gave me a "white name" instead of a more traditional Muslim name. I actually pitied my friends that didn't have "whiter" names.
  4. In elementary school my mom sent me a samosa for lunch, and I heated it up in the classroom microwave. Someone made a comment that "Alisha's food made the microwave smell bad." That was the last time I brought Indian food for lunch.
  5. In grade 4 French class I had to do a presentation on my mom. She works for one of the biggest oil companies in the country. One of my classmates put their hand up and asked why my dad allowed her to work outside the home.
  6. I used to beg my parents to only speak English when we went anywhere in public because I was so self-conscious of other people staring at us.
  7. Once, one of my white friends told me that I "could probably pass for a white person" and I felt proud.
  8. I used to get incredibly defensive when people asked me where I was from/where my parents were from, like I had to prove to them that I was a Canadian, despite not being white.
  9. As a teenager I rejected a great deal of my culture - food, language, clothing, entertainment - and I actually looked down on other people my age who fully embraced it.
  10. It took me a long time to finally accept and embrace my culture for what it is. I don't wish that I was white anymore. I'm proud of who I am and for that, I am so thankful.
  11. I finally understand that the world I live in literally conditions people like me to feel uncomfortable/ashamed about themselves and their culture - and that white people have the privilege of not knowing what that feels like.