Permutations, Presumptions

For years, I accepted their presumption of my occupation of space on the North American continent as in some way abnormal. Adopting their sense of my oddity, I pushed myself from the center to the margins. I never presented myself as a regular American person, but always some marginal permutation of one: a South Asian American, say, or an Indian American, perhaps. Even after living in Boston for more than a decade, I didn’t publicly cheer when the Red Sox won or wail over the city’s various tragedies. That felt presumptuous, because I didn’t consider myself as being “from” that place, even though I’d borne both my children there. I still don’t say I’m “from” Baltimore, though I’ve lived on the outskirts of this city for over a decade.

The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move, by Sonia Shah, Chapter 1 (“Exodus”)

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