SURVEILLANCE FROM AUNTIES, UNCLES, AND MEN IN THE TAMIL COMMUNITY

I recently moved to a city that houses one of the largest populations of the Tamil diaspora. The Tamil population is small—everyone knows everyone somehow. Your tailor is my mom’s third cousin and my cousin is dating/talking to/I don’t really know, one of my Tamil Instagram followers. Let me tell you some shit—I’m exhausted from the unwarranted surveillance. 

I thought that there would be safety in a community that holds so many traumas and strives for liberation. Something I really, really appreciate about the black community is that there is some intense uplifting. For Unfair and Lovely, I received equal amounts of backlash and support from brown people. For my work on Tamil communities and their strives at resilience, I received equal amounts backlash and support in my pursuits. This past week has been really difficult for me, my ass has been commuting throughout the GTA because I don’t currently have a home, I hate my job, and my shit is in different places in trash bags. I am at a tipping point and everyone close to me and willing to have a conversation with me knows that my current situation is not a damn look. Even though this is the case, my dad’s- aunt’s-27 year old daughter-has the audacity to tell my mom and uncle that I have inappropriate pictures on Instagram. And then they confronted me about it.

There is nothing “inappropriate” about the images I have on Instagram. If cleavage threatens you more than alcoholism in the Tamil (male) community, then you are dismissed. If my initiation of discourse on sexual assault and molestation in the Tamil community irks you more than the physical domestic violence you witness against women in the Tamil community, get the fuck out. It is so pathetic that your sorry asses feel that the diaspora exists to entertain your small minded discussions. It is bizarre that your topics of discussion surround how much of a hoe a woman is, rather than her accomplishments or everything that she has to her name. I was discussing this with like my third cousin or something and she told me an anecdote about how men in her family were triggered when a woman drank beer rather than a cocktail, and how they criticized women who know how to drive manual. There are arbitrary interpretations of what men and women within the community are allowed to do, and god forbid you don’t identify with either gender. I am SO SICK of standing up for the community holistically when all Tamil people know to do is invalidate achievements and to seek out ways in which an individual is human. It is as though they are so invigorated and reassured of the lives they lead by criticizing the ways in young women lead their lives. 

I used to want to write and support but now all I want to do it sit here and forget. The Tamil community reduces me to my sexuality, my failures, and everything I don’t do for them. It’s repulsive. Pass this on to small minded assholes who have tissue boxes perched on the back of their car and feel the need to regulate who their sister dates (I will never comprehend that) and who engage  in petty conversations because they literally don't know what to do with their time.