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This is the idea behind the South Asian Young Women Entrepreneurs (SAY WE) conference, which is taking place on August 22nd, 2015 in Sugar Land, Texas. According to their website, the network links together “business-minded executives in the fields of technology, finance, entertainment and fashion” to collaborate and share information on how to build their personal brands.
Bonding over shared experiences helps to create a sense of identity for any Diaspora population–and in examining the South Asian Diaspora, it is much more diverse than the stereotypes many first-generation kids were exposed to in their youth.
I went to The Grand in Lafayette every weekend with my family as a kid. This could have been anyone, but this time, it was the lives of two young women who were integral parts of their community.
You can't shut the door on your sexual identity and deny to yourself who you are. I knew I would find a way to make it work with whomever I loved: man, woman or non-gender-conforming.
Indian women are superficially placed above men, as objects to be ogled or admired, but rarely respected as intellectual leaders. They are held up in one hand and crushed down by the other.
I learned from a young age that it was not acceptable to be Indian-American in Louisiana. Look around your state. The Indian-Americans who live here largely stay amongst their families and Indian communities. I never had that luxury. I wanted to fit in. Like most minority kids in majority white settings, I wasn't completely sure what I was giving up. I gave up a lot that I hardly even had. Being an Indian-American in Louisiana contributed to a childhood feeling like I never really belonged here like my friends did.
What I don’t think either side of my family understands is that I’m not automatically Irish-American or automatically Indian. I’m both. And culture is learned behavior—and if my family makes little effort to share this with me, I will have neither. I want to be an American Born Confident Desi, not an American Born Confused Desi. But if I can’t make my way to India with some familial support, confusion will only begin to set in.