I’ve been thinking a lot about hometown pride today, and what that means.
As an inbetween American, this term troubles me in a way it doesn’t trouble others.
I was born and raised in a big, big city, a place where people wear stilettos to the gym, and then moved to a place named after an animal, and I’ve sought out an in-between ground for where I live now.
So I always answer with both of those places when people ask where I’m from, even though I know it’s not the reason they’re asking. (Don’t worry, I’ve already ranted about that dreaded four-word question before.)
BUT, as an inbetween American, my explanation of my hometown also has to include pride.
It has to be pride for America. Yeah, people who are in the public eye, people like Ben Carson still think Muslims can’t have pride for America.
Luckily, Huma Abedin set him a little more than straight on the topic.
It should also include some pride for the town you grew up in, where your parents had to work on their accents, and constantly explain, yes we actually live here, no we are not going back to our country, because, yes, we are Americans.
So why is this troubling?
Because as an inbetween American, as a child of immigrants, I also have to have pride for where they come from.
Luckily, that pride grew as I did.
So that pride I feel, I do. But I am also expected to be a spokesperson for ALL Pakistanis. Just as minorities are always expected to speak for all others of the same minority. (As Hasan Minhaj pointed out at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner of 2017) And then when those bad apples act up, as they always do, my pride has to be set aside, and it has to be distilled, because people don’t want to hear about pride for a place that has caused them pain. Or they do not know anything about the country, and use their ignorance to say horrible, hateful things, and I have to nod, and say yes that happened in that country, but NO WE DO NOT CONDONE THAT NO WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT NO WE ARE NOT THAT.
So, hometown pride. For an inbetween American, that’s a complicated topic.
It may be that my heart beats the same way as country music star Kane Brown’s does for his hometown.
It may be that I never know how to answer that question.
But I choose to find it lucky that I can claim more hometowns than one.