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Growing up as an Indian American, I felt that I didn’t fit in. People often misjudged my race. There were not many people like me in my town and it was hard to fit in. I’m not an Indian that is from an indigenous  tribe, but rather I am from the country of India. I was born in America, so I am known as Indian American. I grew up in Oklahoma but when I was in kindergarten, my family announced we were moving.  We moved to Stafford, Texas and I started school. It was calm and peaceful until summer started. Then, my parents announced we were moving back to Oklahoma. I smiled every day thinking about moving back, as I was going to get to go to first grade with my old friends.  I was so happy again until my family told me we were going to move again. I angrily cried for days because I didn’t want to move to Arkansas. We moved and at first, everything was fine, but then I fell into a depression because I missed my friends. I never saw them again. I still wonder where they are today.  When school started in Arkansas, I noticed that I looked different than most of the kids because everyone was White, and I was Brown. On the first day, some kids kept asking me what I race I was. As the school year went on, some kids were afraid to talk with me and some even bullied me because of my skin color. They called me “Brown Brownies” and other rude names. The school was not very diverse, so they didn’t really know how to act appropriately with someone who was different. I got used to the name-calling, and eventually a new building was built next to my school. That building be- came a center for diverse students. It became like my second home because it had kids from all over the world, and it helped me feel like I fit in.  A year passed, and then, of course, we moved again. This time we went to Oklahoma City. I loved it. I was only there for a month of fourth grade. The school was located on the rich side of the city and we went on a lot of field trips.  Soon after, we packed the car and moved again, this time to Texas. I really didn’t know anyone in fifth grade, but some kids recognized me because they had a class with me in kindergarten. I was really scared when school ended because I thought we were going to move again. Thankfully, I was wrong, and we stayed. I was thrilled that I was going to be able to go to middle school with my friends.  Sixth grade was a good year for me, but I faced a lot of racism again. There was a lot of diversity in the school, but students didn’t know me very well and started to bully me. There were Mexican students who asked me, “Are you Mexican?” Some other kids asked me if I was South Indian, but I am not. I finally found a person that was Guajarati, just like me. He ended up being my best friend in that school.  After eighth grade, we had to move again. Since my dad worked with in the hotel company, that was the life that we had to live. I got all my friends’ Snapchats, so I could talk to them every day. My best friend hung out with me every day before I moved, and he helped me pack.  On my first day of high school in Fargo, North Dakota, I walked nervously into my first period. I met students from all over the world in the school. I finally found a place where I fit in and I hoped that I wouldn’t have to move anytime soon. 

© Shravan Prema. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.