WHEN GEETANJALI DHILLON moved to California from her native Punjab at age eight, she felt like an unwelcome foreigner. She and her family avoided their neighbours because they made threatening or racist remarks.
“It wasn’t cool to be a little brown girl in the 1970s,” Dhillon says. “There was really nothing cool about Indian-ness back then.”
As a result, she says, Indians tended to stick together and keep to themselves, and never developed a confident collective sense of themselves. They never claimed their ‘brownness,’ you could say.