Wrong Kind of Doctor

One Immigrant Story: Becoming the Wrong Kind of Doctor

A famous immigrant stereotype is the Indian doctor. Doctor usually means medical physician, not 18th century French historian.

The Guardian has a feature: how did you get here? Recognizing that the 11% of Americans who are foreign born have unique and interesting backgrounds and stories of how they came to the United States, the site’s feature allows individuals to share their unique stories.

Mita Choudhury’s parents left India for London in 1961. Her parents would not have been able to immigrate to the United States in 1965 because of the Reed-Johnson Act (Asian Exclusion Act), which had effectively banned immigration from Asian countries in 1924. They arrived in the United States in 1970, which would make them part of the first wave of Indian immigrants after the Asian Exclusion Act was superseded.

Dr. Choudhury ends her piece by writing:

I make the 18th century my home. In theory, 18th century society had no place for someone like me except to be gazed upon as an exotic other.

Nevertheless, the same period also fostered a spirit of critical inquiry that demanded you interrogate your own society like an outsider. It rejected the boundaries that undermined individual dignity and common humanity.

The education I received and work to pass on to students upholds these values, which are also the core principles of the US, a country established in the 18th century. Now I must ask: are these principles being compromised by a fearful nationalism that discourages outsiders with its angry rhetoric of borders and walls?

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