Volume 68, Issue 4 - Page 6

WE GET THE JOB DONE My family comes from a part of India where your occupation defines you. Your occupation marks your name and your status in life. It is your blessing and your curse. In India, my family made up the working class: the tailors who would make your clothes, make your upholstery and help with your furniture. There were, and still are, times that my family has not gotten paid and was not treated fairly, based on our named status in life. When my mom and her siblings were growing up, my grandfather gave them a different last name in the hopes it would increase their chances of having a better life. That better life came when my family got the opportunity to come to America. Coming to America afforded my family opportunities that we would not have been able to achieve at home. We could be something beyond our name here. However, things looked different for other reasons. We were different here because we looked different. Despite hard work and determination in running our own business, any angry or frustrated person would hurl at my parents: “Go back to your own country!” The other motel businesses in Bowling Green would mark on their signs “American-Owned” to differentiate themselves. Fast forward to today, as more individuals who look like me have become commonplace in technology, business and as health care workers in our community. The conversation changed. The new questions involve, “Where are you really from?” My mom is a citizen, and even today she will say, “They let us into their country” because she still feels like “the other.” In the words of my favorite musical, Hamilton, “Immigrants, we get the job done.” As Indian-Americans, we have been able to forge a new way but only because we have been successful and proven ourselves. We have the ability to look past the last 50 years of being made to feel like “the other.” We did not have to tackle 400 years of being considered “other” or being considered “less than” and the inherent biases that have been produced from that. These conversations that we need to have to address systemic racism are not comfortable. They are not easy. But they are necessary. We must challenge ourselves to be empathetic, to see a situation from someone else’s perspective. This is a time for learning and listening so that individuals who do not look like you do not feel like “the other,” instead, like a sister or brother. Dr. Tailor is an internal medicine physician at Norton Community Medical Associates: Barret. "As Indian- Americans, we have been able to forge a new way, but only because we have been successful and proven ourselves." 4 LOUISVILLE MEDICINE