I AM Where I Came From

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

Let’s get this out of the way up top. Saying “go back to where you came from,” is racist. Stop. End of discussion. Why? Because it is almost always directed toward a minority implying that they are not American, regardless of their immigration status. Because it doesn’t just happen to immigrants. It happens to people who were born in the US. It happens to naturalized citizens.


It’s hard for me to explain why this is one of the most insulting and heartbreaking statements for many minorities who love the United States, but I’ll try.

On July 3rd, 2018 at Chuck-E-Cheese some kid tried to take my son’s tickets from a game. I said “Hey, hey, hey!” and he gave them back without any trouble.


The mother comes over, drags him away and he starts crying. Moments later she drags him back to us and says, “Say sorry!”


Thinking she was trying to make up for her child's larcenous behavior I said, “No worries. Kids are kids.”


She screeches at me that she actually wanted me to apologize to her kid for “yelling at him.” Obviously I refused.


She says “That may be how you do things in India but this is America! If you can’t learn that, go back!” I was born in Pakistan just for the record, but you never hear stuff like this from knowledgeable or intelligent people. Go figure.


I was stunned. She continued to give me stink eye from across the restaurant along with giving me the finger a few times.


What exactly am I supposed to do in this situation? How would it look outwardly to people to see a person of color yelling at a coriaceous middle-aged white lady in the middle of a children’s theme restaurant? I would become the bad guy in that situation.


I had no recourse. I felt helpless. It’s not a great feeling.


I was born a US citizen and have been in the United States since I was 6 months old. I am father to two natural born US citizens. I graduated from my local high school In 2000. I have attended community college, a state university, earned a JD and passed the California Bar.


Incidentally, that last achievement means I have literally sworn an oath to the United States Constitution


I have no accent and know no other country other than the US. I love comic books. My favorite movie is Star Wars. I’ve been a die-hard Laker and Dodger fan for 2 decades. I listen to Johnny Cash and write stories about the Old West.


I literally carry around a Captain America backpack.


The sad realization is that it truly doesn’t matter how American you are, there are a certain subset of the population who will always consider you an “other” because of your skin tone.


It disturbed me then and it disturbs me now. It saddens me deeply to hear a president of the only home I’ve ever known repeat that ignorant sentiment. I don’t even know how to respond.


I mean, I’m literally the epitome of a model legal immigrant and I get insulted like this in Southern California of all places, and now the President is joining in with the chorus of bigotry.


It leaves me with a very bitter question. Is this how America treats people who “assimilate”?

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