Ri's college essay grabbed my attention right from the first sentence. Does it have the same effect on you?
I am an American. I eat apple pie, watch baseball, and participate in every American holiday from Thanksgiving to the 4th of July. Every morning, I stand tall, place my hand over my heart, and pledge my allegiance to the country in which I was born and raised. Yet, for a long time, many of my peers did not regard me as an American. It was my fault that in 3rd grade, Ciera’s oldest brother died when the World Trade Center collapsed. She stopped playing with me during recess, and when I confronted her about it, she said that she wasn’t allowed to play with me anymore because her mommy said I was a terrorist. This struck me as odd because I am Indian. This was only the beginning of ignorant harassment that would torment me throughout my childhood. This treatment frustrated me so drastically that I began to ameliorate the situation by denying my own heritage to be more accepted by my peers. I would fight with my parents when they would try to make me go to a temple with them, I told people to refer to me as Ri, a more racially ambiguous name, I started eating meat, I chopped off my long hair, I refused to speak Telugu, my first language, and I tried to live and breathe in the American culture in hope that the label of ‘terrorist’ would no longer be thrust upon me.