To Live The Label

This is almost an extension of the previous post. I was told last night that I’m not Indian. Now, anybody who’s ever seen me can quite clearly testify that by all physical criteria, I am indeed of the Indian variety.

Of course, the statement didn’t refer to my… what is it called? Genus? Subspecies? That which most call race.

It was the label. I don’t act like an Indian is supposed to act. Which is already bollocks, because, there aren’t many Indians in South Africa that act like those in India nor those in England. Point of fact, the Indians in Durban probably don’t act much like the ones from Jo’burg. And I’d go as far as to say that, in Jo’burg, the Sandton Indians are a little different from the Lenasia ones. Wait, how about we take it just one step further and say that the ones on Fletcher street are a sight different from the ones on Harrison.

Again, it boils down to assumption. In this case, based on race. And culture.

As it turns out, I am not very typical of many of my classifications. Okay, we’ve established I don’t “act” Indian. I am also not typically a straight male. My actions are very flamboyant, I can be very feminine, and, possibly, rather camp in my mannerisms. Oh, I also am far more fluent in English than any other language. Yet, I am not English. Nor am I gay. Nor female.

Obvious, right? As obvious as the fact that I’m Indian.

One would certainly think so. Yet, I have been told that I’m not.

I do things that work for me. And religion doesn’t. Religion is a big factor in the lives of most Indians. It defines their culture. Notice, I say “their” versus “our” because I’ve not a culture to define. Or, rather, I define my culture for myself.

And, because it doesn’t conform to what the majority do, I can be considered an outcast. That does not make me non-Indian tho. A skin graft is possibly the only thing that’d change that fact. Just as a penis chop is the only thing that may change my gender. And even then, I’d be a bit in gender limbo.

Ok, so, what I am reiterating is that I am who I am. My actions and mannerisms and beliefs do not define me. Especially since they are so fluid. The labels that we, as a species, as a society, create are mutable. We cannot be held to them forever.

And, yes, I am blowing that isolated statement a little out of proportion but I do so to make a point. If I am to be classified, classify me by the traits that remain relatively constant. I am an Indian by my parentage. I am male ‘cos of the wee appendage dangling ‘tween me legs.

I am neither because of the way I live nor act. For that, if you must insist on labels, choose something else.