HomePoliticsHomeless: Please Help

Homeless: Please Help

home·less

adjective

  1. (of a person) without a home, and therefore typically living on the streets.

 

I have a house. Not a home; a house. You see, one resides in a house. One lives in a home. One feels “at home” in a home. My house is in New York. But I’ve yet to find my home.

 

As a first generation Muslim Pakistani American boy living in America, there have been a plethora of challenges. None are greater than the challenge of “fitting in”. When I turn on the news, I see and hear of despicable crimes against humanity committed by individuals who share my faith, share my complexion, even share my name. My condemnation of such attacks is not inferred; I must publicly display my outrage at these heinous deeds. And yet, there will be those who will condemn me for not speaking up enough. There will be many of “them”.

 

There has been a ‘new’ development brewing in America- new for my community, old for others. It is the age-old fear mongering technique of “Us vs. Them”. What group am I a part of? To many, I am part of “them”. I look different. I eat different. I pray different. From this difference, and from sheer ignorance, I am labeled as “them”. And no matter how much I conform, how much I try to look, eat, and pray the “same”, I will still be labeled as part of “them”.

 

The hyphen associated with my name, Pakistani-American, separates me. It labels me. It defines me. And no matter how hard I try and disassociate with the country that comes before the hyphen, I am inextricably linked with it. I am distrusted because of it.  

 

And there has been a ‘new’ development brewing in Pakistan- new for my community, old for others. It is the age-old fear mongering technique of “Us vs. Them”. What group am I a part of? To many, I am part of “them”. Except this time, I look the same. I eat the same. I pray the same. The only difference is in the color of my passport. It is from this difference, and from sheer ignorance, I am labeled as “them”. And no matter how much I conform, how much I continue to look, eat, and pray the “same”, I will still be labeled as part of “them”.

 

The hyphen associated with my name, American-Pakistani, separates me. It labels me. It defines me. And no matter how hard I try and disassociate with the country that comes before the hyphen, I am inextricably linked with it. I am distrusted because of it.  

 

And so I find myself in the not-so rare predicament of having a house but being homeless. I reside in New York. Sometimes, I reside in Karachi.
But where is my home?

 

Image Attribute: Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and/or student and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of United 4 Social Change Inc., its board members, or officers.
Previous post
Mitts Off My Muff; Anti-FGM Activist Raises Her Voice
Next post
Chronicling the Ascent of Mohammad Jibran Nasir