The notion of the carefree brown girl is a lie. It's a myth. It's something we aim to do in order to believe that we can thrive, but in reality, we're barely surviving. We have been taught that we can accomplish any end that we put our mind to, but that is a mindset exclusive to people adhering to whiteness. Let me be clear, this is not just brown women in general. We need to stop being clumped into one group because we are from the same general region of the world. I am speaking as an Eelam Tamil woman, who faces that lack of a state and who is in the farming caste. Our mothers birthed new passages of survival by smuggling themselves into western states and cramming 8 people into an apartment once that got here. They served as canals of freedom for Tamil men and had the gates closed on them once they reached the West. They were merely a means for Tamil male survival. They were the maintenance system. I weep when I think of the loneliness my mother experiences. Sure, she has a Canadian passport, but she is not free of chains that smother her. Those chains just evolve into different hands, different bureaucracies, and different sources. The machines she worked in factories churned a language palatable for the West, as well as next month's rent. And her daughter-- from ESL to M.A.
My mother has a saying, "We have to be here for each other." She says it eloquently and calmly in Tamil, like she had been rehearsing it her entire life. She says it that because she's said it many times before to all the women who braided her hair and fed her food until her three daughters were born. Everyone told her she was cursed for us three.
This is why I don't believe in the carefree brown girl anecdote. To believe that you are carefree is to believe that your actions don't have any imposition on the actions of other people. It is to believe that your survival is guaranteed. It is to believe that you can blend into white when convenient, and blend into brown when convenient. It is to believe that the world doesn't have a true, tangible impact on you, and you are the authority of your future. It is to believe that you nipples won't cause terror. It is believe that you won't be subject to assault or harassment because of your immigration status. It is to believe that you won't be shorted for your purchase. It is to believe that you can run around the department store and not be followed because of the sun that is attracted to you. It is to believe that your partner won't hit you even though the cops will still believe anyone but you. It is to do what you want because the generations before you don't depend on you for a livelihood. It is to believe that the community you're around doesn't adhere to respectability to become more white. It is to believe that your proclamation to your dreams is a form of resistance. It is to believe.