immigrant experience · Uncategorized

Exploring an Identity (Part 2: “Our People v. Your People”)

“ebhabei amader manush jibon katai” (this is how our people spend their lives) – a common preface or ending to any melancholic observation or story.

For a long time I thought these people (living in Bangladesh) were “my people,” but I realized it is a difficult concept to grasp. How can they possibly be my people if they do not consider me their own?

Suffering. It is different here. And when someone explains  how their people live or suffer, I painfully absorb it. I have no words to explain a suffering that cannot compare because its true…I am not one of them. Their people are different from my people.  

My people suffer from poverty, from angst, from racism, from chronic diseases, from un-diagnosed mental illness, from the uncertainty that they will ever be able to return to their mother, father, or sister, a land they left for better opportunity only to be greeted by cold gusts of wind and ignored by confused children who refuse to speak their native language.

My people are misunderstood- if understood at all. Their English is not sufficient for the ears of an acculturated American.

Diaspora – working over-time and dreaming for a better life for the next generation merely define my people. In America, this is how my people spend their lives. 

Yet I still hope that my people, despite how much they suffer,  do not take anything for granted. I hope they never forget the people they left behind, that they return to their motherland, accept change, witness  suffering, and do anything to ease it.

Sincerely, Exploring an Identity,
First-Generation Bangladeshi-American Immigrant

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