TEENAGE YEARS: Brown girls/White lies

Published: October 15, 2012

Being a teenager is tough. Hitting puberty, racing hormones, fitting in with the social norms, acne, braces, homework, class projects, and boys!

Now, if you are brown you would add one other big factor to all this: brown parents. They just won’t let you fit in.

Grade 6: Not too bad. I could cover up my baby fat with an oversized sweatshirt but couldn’t hide braces, thick eyebrows, a green line on the upper lip and unwaxed legs. I avoided junior high school dances knowing I was going to be the girl leaning against the wall or maybe a volunteer who would distribute tickets all night. I would rather sit at home, eat chips and watch TGIF. Me and my folks obviously didn’t have an issue with this type of a Friday night.

Fast forward to Grade 10. Eyebrows are now shaped, hair straightened, braces removed, legs waxed, chub gone and guys are calling you a hottie. I was ready for the dances – but the folks were not.

Cue parents:

Dad “Where are you going?”

Brown girl: “Dance.”

Dad: Dance!? If you want to dance, go dance in the basement. We have a CD player downstairs.”

Brown girl: “No dad, it’s a high school dance. I’m going with my friends.”

Dad: “Your friends can come over, too and dance in the basement, but no boys.”

Mom: “Maybe she can go as long as she dances with a group of girls.”

Another time:

Dad: “Where are you going?”

Brown girl: “Movie.”

Dad: “You can watch it at home and ask your friends to join you.”

Mom: “Maybe she can go if she is going with some good girls whose parents we know. I can talk to their parents.”

How do you even figure out the who, what, why with these folks. They were just not going to get it.

Solution: Tell them what they want to hear.

High school dances turned into high school projects at a friend’s house. Going to the mall meant meeting up with people you had met at the dance. A movie night out with the girls would actually be hanging out with a whole bunch of girls and guys. If one of the cute guys noticed you, the lies were all worth it.

For brown girls, I think over time the cover stories become slicker and more intricate. Phone calls blocked, phone conferences with your girlfriends making sure the stories are all coordinated. The lies and excuses are bigger and better and not only for the parents. If needing to leave a party to meet the parents’ curfew, tell the white friends you have to go to another party. Keeps you cool with the crowd.

So to all the girls who have passed that stage in life, ha-ha good times, eh?

To the girls who are going through this right now, oops!, sorry if I spilled the beans.

Ray Ray: Just another brown girl is a writer for Vancouver Desi. 






Professor says:

First of all,

Definition of white lie

-a minor or unimportant lie, esp one uttered in the interests of tact or politeness

I don’t think she meant white people lying.

Second of all: The lower mainland has a variety of different mentalities in every culture, Many parents are orthodox and don’t let their young ones go to the movies. This only puts them in more danger if one does lie. I have discussed this issue with many students and it seems to be predominate in the South Asian culture.

Third point : Would you prefer her to say “just another Indian girl” Arya? Seems like that is your biggest worry.

To all Green, Yellow, Brown, White, Black, Beige, Purple and let’s not forget smurfs they are a color too… Your absolutely correct today’s youth does do this.

Manpreet Grewal says:

As a writer, it is always a challenge to write about issues which are particular to a certain demographic and put them out there for everyone’s critique. On the Vancouver Desi site, I think people have to keep in mind that if you are taking a cultural angle and perspective, it does run the risk of creating further stereotypes. But not taking the risk of writing stories (Whether light hearted,serious or indepth) which impact significant amounts of people (Not everyone)is a greater risk because then stories become more cosmetic rather than real. All issues will not resonate with everyone. What is positive for me is that the readership of this portal is fairly broad and engaged and is interested in issues of broader impact. Some of the comments also speak to the deep rooted desire of people from ethno-cultural communities (I am one of them) not to be labelled and stereotyped. The writer may not intend to but the reader can feel the pinch because in some ways they do identify with the label. MG

Pete says:

All these sites do is keep recent immigrants from assimilating to larger Canadian society.

Instead of the time they take in their day reading Canadian news and learning about the greater Canadian society, they take that time to read about what’s going on in Mumbai. There isn’t even a single article on this site about Amanda Todd – that is a disgrace.

There should be more effort put forth by people that move here to respect their new country by becoming involved in the greater society – not just fight for their old homeland traditions and culture. Portals like this just encourage that latter.

For the “we are all immigrants” believers, if Canada was created as country today perhaps there would be more Indian traditions in our society and culture. But it was created 145 years ago and for right or wrong, with traditions that have made it the great country it is. Respect that history and those traditions and join the rest of society!

Jasvinda says:

” There isn’t even a single article on this site about Amanda Todd – that is a disgrace”

You sir are a moron…

braaaaahhhhh says:

hahaahahah every1 is so WET , angry lol i dont even read stories here just read my white ppl being racist, the few brown ppl who act as my budy says COCANUTS, & of course the angry canadian who thinks hes been here since mankind started but cant even name the provinces hahaa beaut

Arya says:

Hey why not stop calling yourself ‘brown girl’.

It is so annoying and so very illiterate.

Indian people need more pejorative descriptors than they already have?

Isn’t being called Hindoo/Hindu/Paki/Bungi etc., enough?

Now for the last 10 years or so, morons have been calling themselves ‘brown’, and prior to that it was ‘East Indian’……

What utter nonsense.

An Indian is a person native to or having some sort of cultural/genetic linkage to India or people from India.

The people of India are anthropologically, classified as Caucasoid/Caucasian, yet people like you have no clue.

Genetically India is the origin of the R1a/R1a1 haplotype/genetic marker of the ‘white’ race aka Caucasoid/Caucasian people, yet you wouldn’t know that either as you are too far entrenched in your yo yo yo, brown this brown that mentality……

So annoying……

Tania says:

This article reflect the immuture approch of a writer. If she is trying to be funny she failed. Girls like you make our gender week & self pitty.If you have bad experence or your parents never tought you to speak the truth than I am sorry for you .You can not be a responsiable human being when you were not tought the 1st step in your life. You whole existist is lie. How can any body will trust you when you have lied to your own parents.There is no such thing as WHITE or BROWN girl. I am parent & I know not a single parent will approve of lying.As a writer you should be more responsiable but as you said yourself you have lied to your parents how should we belive you are not lying about your parents too.

Kuba says:

This article is a perfect example of what is frustrating with modern “news”. It takes a serious topic, such as cultural differences, and approaches it from the point of view of a ten year old, where facts are entirely irrelevant, and the anecdotal “evidence” supplants it. At best, this is a poorly written short story. At worst, this is one “poor” girl perpetuating negative racial stereotypes because her parents told her she couldn’t go out. Either way, there is nothing worth noting here, just another girl whining about her parents.

Kay says:

I am very disappointed with this article. It was one girl’s experience generalized into every “brown girl’s” life. I can honestly say that nothing about this article resonated with me. My parents are from Pakistan, but I was raised in Vancouver. Throughout four years of high school, I never once lied to my parents. I went out with my friends and to dances in a group of both guys and girls. (For the record, a “cute guy” noticing me was not justification enough to lie to my parents; girls need to understand that they do not need a male’s approval or notice on physical appearance to measure their self worth). I had an honest relationship with my parents, and I wish you had been advising girls (all girls – I don’t care what race) to have open communication and honest discussion with their parents to build trust rather than telling them they should lie. This article is full of false stereotypes and unnecessary generalization. This article was on the front page of the Province website and I am very disappointed in it’s content and the Province’s decision to promote it.

Jason says:

This story sucks, poorly written, and full of false stereotypes.

Barry O'Regan says:

Brown Dad, Yellow Dad, White Dad, in fact any Dad would be doing the same thing to protect their daughters.

Dad’s know racing hormones, after all Dad’s were horny teens at one time and know full well the comings and goings of young boys and all the ruses.

While Daughters, (I have two) and all Dad’s good intentions are pretty much in vain, as young ladies being Daddy’s little girls will find a way to scam outta dodge and meet the boys.

All Dad and Moms can do is give their daughters sound advice, and hope their daughters use good judgement and become aware of the dangers of racing hormones and other dangers out there.

Jean says:

I agree. As I read this article I kept thinking it sounded just like conversations I had as a teen with my parents and I handled it exactly the same way. This is not just a “brown girl” issue. White parents love their kids too.

mason says:

those are drug dealers killing drug dealers lol. u aint in danger pete or your kids or parents. stop hating or go back to europe…….. ever heard of hells angels lol, they haveruined more lives and still do then these small indo canadian gangs……….. get a life pete

Bdar says:

I think you guys need to stop overthinking a clearly fun blog, that’s like going to a Russell Peters show and calling him a racist. The tone of this is about an experience of one individual that definitley identifies with their ethnic community. If she talked about eating curry, is that racist too because other ethinicities eat curry as well? Give your head a shake.

JJ says:

anyone can eat curry . . . you can’t change your race. Do you know what racism even is? Your comparison is not correct.

It’s still reverse discrimination. Michael Richards drops the “N” word and he is ostracized. But Russell Peters makes fun of white people and it’s just fine? And if Russell Peters makes fun of brown people, then white people should be able too?

JJ says:

Yeah I think your article should just be “strict parents”. It has nothing to do with race. The article does have racist undertones.

Unless they decide to kill you for going to a dance and bringing shame on the family – then that’s probably related to race and culture as white parents wouldn’t do that.

me says:

I agree. why does this have to be about brown parents. i thought at this day and age we are trying to get out of the stereo type but clearly this writer is putting this label back on us. grow up get with the times … stupid article

Pete says:

“tell the white friends you have to go to another party.” What about your white friends that have strict parents? Are you making an assumption based on race that all white people have less strict parents?

So you treat some friends differently than others based on race?

How would this come across if a white journalist made some comment about telling his “chinese or brown friends” something different from their white friends.

It seems minorities can be racist all they want and nobody even notices.

julie says:

oh stop crying, atleast they arent beating up our elderly to death like the 2security guards this yr, the taxi driver who was stabbed called racial words. we should fix our communitybe4 we bark. most of the racism comes from us.

Pete says:

your comment has nothing to do with the point made or the article.

And do you really want to go down the road of violence in the South Asian community? You do know there is an Indo-Canadian gang task for created by police because of all the violence in your community.

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