Jairus Justus

Jairus Justus

by | May 7, 2024 | AAPI, Stories


I’d say one significant piece of my cultural background is probably how I grew up. In an Indian family, we always treat everyone as family. So whether that was one of my parents friends, one of their friend’s children, whether that was actual relations. To me, we called everybody an uncle or an aunt or a cousin or something that was, brought them closer than just that friendship or that title would normally allow. And I’d say that impacts me now in how I treat my current friendships. So my friends to me are not just my friends, they’re family and to my kids they would be their uncles and aunts and cousins and stuff like that and I guess that would be a little confusing for them, but I figured that out and hopefully they will. I guess I’m still kind of figuring that out. I don’t know who all my relations are technically, but I’m getting there. And figuring out who is who is my actual uncles and aunts and who is just my parents friends, that we call that.

As far as challenges go, I’d say There’s been a wide variety. I would say I’m actually very privileged in this area.

I haven’t experienced what I would call outright racism in a direct format. For me, like, around 9/11, things got a little hard where people would, since then, for a little while, people would be more focused on what I look like, and would try and figure out if I was Arab or if I was Indian, and make assumptions in that regard. That was a little bit hard since then there’s been traffic incidents where people pull me over for no reason and just ask me if I really kind of belong there, if I should be in this neighborhood or not. But I would say the most common thing now luckily that hasn’t happened lately.

The most common thing now would be people coming up to me and honestly trying to relate and it tends to be a lot of white people, but they do it in a way that isn’t super helpful or enjoyable for me per se. So a lot of times they’ll come up to me and ask me where I’m from, which I’ll respond, I was born in Dubai, so I would say Dubai or America, I would answer one of those things, and then they’d continue and be like, but where are your parents from? And I’ll be like, well, they’re from India. And then they’ll go on to talk about their experience with India. And I’d be like me coming up to you, someone in the crowd here, and being like, Hey, where are you from? And you’re like, America. And I’m like, but where are your parents from? And you’re like, well, also America. And I’m like, well, how far back do I need to go to find out that you’re Greek? Because you look a little Greek, and I want to explain to you my visit to Greece and how awesome it was. And that’s not really enjoyable for you, it’s not really enjoyable for me. So, if you want to relate to someone about that cultural experience, I think it’s great to become their friend, get to know them better, and if that naturally comes about and they want to talk about that, that’s great, and you can share that with them, but don’t necessarily make that, like, the first thing that you want to say to them, is, “hey, you look this way, so I want to talk to you about my experience with it”, because honestly, that’s kind of selfish.

As far as how God has worked in my life, Honestly, like, as I was saying before, like, I feel really blessed in that I haven’t felt a ton of outright racism. And since becoming a Christian, I think the way God’s worked in my heart is when I do feel those times of frustration or feeling like I’m being discriminated against in some way, I’m just able to remember how Graciously is towards me and my heart and the sins that I’ve committed and Just allow that to flow through towards others and my response towards them when they’re asking questions that are a little you know on the line It’s like okay.

This is okay. We can give them all the grace for this



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