Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • This is my girl dressed up for Diwali. She is wearing this outfit to school, because her class is going to the Hindu temple today to learn about her culture, and because she loves being Indian. She loves it so much that she sometimes gets upset with me for not being Indian and making her “only half”.

    Just after this picture is taken, on our way to school, she admits to me that she is “a little embarrassed” and worried that kids might make fun of her. Grade Two girls, as I’ve discovered, are already fully entrenched in the cult of cool, and like all cults, it is a very conformist atmosphere.

    We talk about Frida Kahlo, who she admires, and the way she wore traditional clothes as her own statement of individuality, and we talk about that other cult, the Indian one, that she so loves, and the beauty of sharing her traditions with her classmates. She puts on a brave smile and ventures into the playground, admitting that she’s still a little nervous.

    Some of my daughter’s aunts have told heartbreaking stories of what it was like to be little Indian girls growing up in the U.S. One of them told me she used to put white powder on her face and pretend she was Mediterranean. I am thankful we live in a different time, and hope that difference will always be a positive thing for my daughter. I know it is a challenge, but if her culture pushes her to think beyond the cult of sameness, then it will always be an asset.

    As we enter the playground I am thinking about how her grandparents chose Canada as their home after hearing Pierre Trudeau give his famous multiculturalism speech, declaring Canada a welcoming nation to all, and I hope that this atmosphere will endure.

    Within seconds my daughter is surrounded by fascinated and curious friends and teachers, asking her what she is wearing and why and telling her how beautiful she looks. She is beaming with pride as I leave her there telling her peers about the Festival of Lights.
    • Share

    Connected stories:

About

Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.