Being Indian-American in Trump’s America

Shraddha Jajal

Where are you from? Such a simple question, but I never know the answer. Born in India, brought up in the U.S., finished high school in India: where do I fit in? I was still in India when Donald Trump started his campaign for President. From 8,500 miles away, I did not anticipate the consequences of this.

I thought Trump would lose the election, but I was wrong. From November onwards, all I heard in India was, “Wow, look how stupid America is.” That statement was hurtful to me because both America and India are my homes. But nothing hurt more than when Indians residing in India started claiming that Trump’s presidency was going to benefit them because of his alleged friendship with Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. One hug and a few handshakes do not make up for a thousand insults and a country full of bias.

Over the years, many young Indians have immigrated to the U.S in search of a new home and life, and a large majority of these immigrants have entered the country using the H-1B program. This program was dissolved when Trump signed the executive order, Buy American, Hire American.

My father entered this country with an H-1B visa. I would most likely have never been here if there were no H-1B program in place. For some Indians, this is in line with Modi’s Made in India campaign, which aims to attract foreign companies to set up shops in India. I can see how many people would think that Trump and Modi’s policies would be beneficial as less people would leave the country, but what about people like my father who want to leave to better their own families’ lives?

It is not just people trying to enter the country — a Trump presidency is hurting Indian people in this country today. Srinivas Kuchibholta was shot to death in Kansas earlier this year by a white man who spoke these words before firing on Srinivas and his friend: “Get out of my country.”

Today, I wore a traditional Indian dress while going grocery shopping. People stared at me as if they were seeing something out of place — as if it did not belong there. I wanted to hide my face and go back to my room. Perhaps there was a lack of education regarding how to differentiate Indians, Arabs and Pakistani. Just because we have a similar skin tone, we are not the same people. To the Indians who think a political affiliation means power and prosperity for our people, look around you. See what I am seeing. Every person in this world should have the right to be in any country they choose and not be hurt, judged or even killed for being a certain color or religion.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.  Email Shraddha Bhavesh Jajal at [email protected]



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