Surabhi Lal: Between Only and Belonging

Aug/16/2020 / by Surabhi Lal


We’re sharing a special video from Luminary Chief Impact Officer and SEEMA contributor Surabhi Lal about belonging. In the wake of Kamala Harris’s nomination, she also shared some additional thoughts:

“Do you know that her parents look like yours?” I asked my son within minutes of hearing that Kamala Harris was going to be on the Democratic ticket.

In the hours and days since, my social media has been flooded with people questioning whether she was Black or South Asian, whether she claims her Indian-ness, and even whether she is truly American. It brought back the questions that I often heard as a child:

“Are you more American or Indian?”

“Where are you from?”

And the even more egregious, “What are you?”

All of these questions have belonging at their core, and are often asking do you belong, who decides whether you belong, and what does it mean to belong? For many of us who bridge multiple cultures, who have experienced these questions ourselves, we have an opportunity to use our empathy to allow her to identify in ways that are true to her knowing that the answer is not either/or but both/and. That is, she can be both Black and embrace her Indian lineage.

My hope is that her nomination will open up dialogue and ways that our two communities can support each other.

You can click here to watch Surabhi’s video

You can read more about Surabhi Lal on SEEMA here

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