This I believe
With the deaths of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King I had a chance to reflect on my core belief about how much we all non-African-American minorities owe to the civil right struggle of African-American leaders.
By some account there are about 2 Million people of South Asian origin living here in America. Every one of us owes the quality of life that we enjoy here and aspirations that we have for our children, to the struggle of civil rights leaders of the 60s. I came to this country about 20 years ago and though I have never personally suffered from any discrimination, I was appalled to find the laws that existed here prior to civil rights struggle. I could not help but identify myself with the African-American community and conclude that had those state sanctioned prejudices still existed, I probably would have decided against raising a family in this country and would have gone back.
America is far from being the color blind society that most of us aspire it to be, but no one can deny that it is solidly on a path that could lead it one day to be a melting pot of not just culture but also of race. Every advance made towards racial-equality by African-Americans, also has a direct impact on other minorities that are integral part of this society. Our numbers are not large and most of us are busy pursuing our careers. We are doctors, engineers, lawyers or in any of the other high tech professions, but we are seldom politicians. We are content to sit on the fence and let someone else carry the torch for us. Racial discrimination hurts every minority, no matter where we are from. But it is only the African American community that had the numbers and the long term stake in this country to do anything about it. This fact is sometimes lost on my fellow immigrants. The discriminations and the stereotypes that we grow up in our home country continue even when we migrate to this country. Instead of seeing ourselves as the minority that we are in this country, we mentally align ourselves with the majority and think nothing of any prejudice or discriminations that may be present before our eyes or even worse, that we may perpetuate ourselves.
The people from land of Gandhi have much to owe to the black Gandhi-Martin Luther King Jr. It is his vision that we are living in and it is the coattails of all the civil rights leaders, past and present that we ride on towards that much vaunted American dream that we all came here to pursue. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.