I am an ambassador

  • February 10, 2017
  • By Guest Blogger
  • 2 minute read

My friend jokes that I tick every box for diversity.

Raisaa Tashnova
Raisaa Tashnova

I am brown, I am a woman, and I am from an underrepresented country of the world. While my diversity is an asset, it is also a responsibility. I represent a country to this community, I represent my gender, I represent my religion—in short, I am an ambassador.

In the past months, as an ambassador, I have learned new things about my identity and I have never felt closer to my heritage or prouder of the differences I bring to my new home.

I am Bangladeshi

It is a mouthful, I agree; but if you make the effort to call me Bangladeshi instead of Indian, you will be closer to my heart for addressing me with our hard-won nationality.

I will then tell you how we are the only people in the world who fought for their language. How we are a socialist country without much social security to go around. How we have set exemplary standards in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. How we are stuck on the brink of explosive economic growth, the prize just eluding us every time! I learned these recently because I want to share with you the struggles and aspirations of the people from a small country, perched on the Bay of Bengal.

I am a Woman

More importantly, I am a South Asian woman. My eloquence and my extroversion are often in contradiction of the image of a woman born and raised in South Asia. That image is not incorrect.

Yes, things are changing for the better, but we still have a long way to go before we can claim to have built a society where women can explore their full potential. Nonetheless, I stand as proof of what we can achieve, given our limitations.

I am Muslim

Islam has become an enigma for Americans, and I am glad to answer questions about the religion (the best I can) if you are curious to know. The other day a friend asked me if I knew what we say in our prayers. I didn’t.

That day I Googled the meaning of every statement we make when we pray and for the first time I discovered that I pray for enlightenment, for peace, for forgiveness, for the blessings that I have, every day. I would not know this if I was not asked. I drew closer to my Creator because you were curious.

I read it somewhere—America is not a melting pot, it’s a salad bowl. Everyone can be unique here, yet complement each other. I see how that has played to America’s strength. When you accept the whole of a person, how can she not give her all to you?

Growing up in a homogeneous society, this is refreshing for me—and it is beautiful.

About the Author

Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

From time to time we have professors, students, staff, alumni, or friends who are not regular contributors, but want to share something with the community. Be sure to look at the bottom of the post to see the author.

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