Getting to know the unknown
May 3, 2021
I think people are uncomfortable bringing up the topic of race because I think, you know and validly enough. Like, if I if you have something that happens to you sometimes that is uncomfortable or dramatic, like if you experience discrimination because of your race and then someone comes along with like, hey, tell me the top five worst things that have happened to you recently, I mean, that would be an uncomfortable experience. And also it's like, you know, it's not, you know, the job of someone who is a member of a racial minority to prove to me that racism exists. Right. It's like it's not their job to educate me or anyone else about this stuff. And they shouldn't feel like, you know, I'm just obliging them to get up there and share their story, like they don't have any, they aren't required to share that with me.
I remember going to my friend Shraddha's house. And so Shraddha, her parents had immigrated from India, she was Hindu and, you know, then, you know, Shraddha showing me, like, you know, these little mirrored boxes and talking about, like, oh, we have Diwali coming up and stuff like that. And like as a child, it wasn't a weird thing to be like, oh, what's that? I've never heard of that before. We don't do that. It was like just sort of talking about, oh, in my house we do this or in my house we do that, you know? So Shraddha and I used to do dress up and she had these clothes they brought over from India. So we were playing dress up with those, and not in a sense of like cultural appropriation obviously. Like I recognize that if I'd been walking around in public wearing traditional Indian, like I, I'd like to but, you know, clothing that would have been inappropriate because it would be like a culture that wasn't my own. I was just treating it as something that was. But it was like there was this level like, oh, this is interesting. Like, let's talk about this. I learned this was really neat, the pants that they had. I don't know if this is just like the region of India that Shraddha's parents were from or if this is a common thing or what. But they're like when you stop growing heightwise, they’d be sized to your height. So they'd measure and then they're like very wide and they have drawstrings on the sides so that if you gain weight and lose weight, you just adjust the drawstrings, you get pregnant. It was like this is the greatest thing, we should all be doing this. You never have to go jeans shopping again. It's like you don't have to think about like, oh, is this the right size? Like, just go. And it's like you measure based on your height, you can be like, this is the most brilliant thing ever like.
And I would never have heard about that if I had been like, oh I don't want to say anything about that because it's like it's a difference. You have to act like it doesn't exist for you. And so I do think that like if we had, I don't know, if this is really a Notre Dame problem or just an in general problem, I think people are worried about saying the wrong thing. And I think that does come from a good place, and people don't want to offend other people. But because of that, you know, no one will say anything. And no one will ask questions about other people's backgrounds.
Anna Diederich is a senior majoring in chemical engineering with pre-med intent.