Please Do Not Call Me ‘Brown’


Because I am not a color. The pigment of my skin is simply a phenotype generated by a gene set out of my control. And I love it. But it’s only a tiny part of me.

I might be Indian. Pakistani. Sri Lankan.

Persian. Afghani. Simply American.

This is brown.

I’m not. And you’re not. And he’s not yellow. And she’s not green. And they’re not blue.

So please don’t call me brown.

I don’t speak for anyone else but myself. Others may not be opposed to being referred to as “Brown,” and some others may. Some may even love to be called Magenta, I don’t know.

And I don’t mean to sound self-righteous or attacking — I’ve made judgments and categorized people myself sometimes. I am imperfect, and am in no position to attack anyone for not being perfect. In fact, if you ever feel that I made an innocuous but stereotypical remark to you, I would love nothing more than for you to let me know.

I believe that part of moving past racial “differences” in our society is being comfortable talking about them, rather than treating race as a taboo topic. It’s not. It’s very much prominent. And it doesn’t have to be associated with rebellion, violence, or even argumentation and debate. Just a simple discussion – a peaceful and rational discussion. Racial differences will no longer even be “differences,” but racial uniqueness. Let’s accept and appreciate racial uniqueness instead of making a big deal out of it.

A large chunk of our generation has truly grown up in the America that is the “melting pot.” We all know that racial stereotypes, categorization and jokes exist in our society. I truly believe that sometimes, these don’t signify that a person is outright ignorant. They are simply a byproduct of living in a society that is much more exposed to and knowledgeable about each other’s cultures than generations past.

I’m asking you to not call me brown, but my request is not motivated by anger, disgust, or offense, but a simple desire to inform others of my opinions on what I feel is an inaccurate label.

I’m asking you to not call me “brown.” If you recognize another social trend that you think is inaccurate, ignorant, or wrong for any reason, why not let your peers know? I’d like a society in which core issues are discussed and resolved, not hidden. And are resolved not through passive-aggressiveness or aggression, but peaceful expression.

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